The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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128                           THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
"Taking my cue from what I heard, I next went to work on the tom-toms trying to get them in tune and knowing when to use 'em. I punched holes in them with an icepick, as Zutty told me, until they were just pitched right. Another trick I got from Baby Dodds was how to keep the bass and the snare drum in tune and how to get cymbals that rang in tune and were pitched in certain keys. Then came the cowbell and the woodblock. You see, most white musicians of that day thought drums were something you used to beat the hell out of. The monotonous pattern made you feel Weary after listening to it for a while. Few of them realized that drums have a broad range of tonal variations so they can be played to fit into a harmonic pattern as well as a rhythmic one/'1
Krupa, a master technician, was as flexible as Wettling and as dynamic as Tough. His beat was steady and relentless, his knowledge of the history and nature of percussion constantly increasing through an unquenchable thirst for information. Though Krupa made his most important contribution as a memĀ­ber of the metronomic rhythm section in the Benny Goodman 1935 band, it was his lengthy solo on the Goodman performance of Sing, Sing, Sing, recorded in 1937, that led directly to the acceptance of the jazz drummer as a much-used solo voice in the orchestra.
Several other drummers came to the forefront during the 1930s, mainly for their contributions to the rhythm section rather than for their exhibitionistic potentialities. Chick Webb, almost a fixture at the Savoy Ballroom during the middle 1930s, had a superb control of bass drum, snare and cymbals and was Krupa s perennial idol. Big Sid Catlett, playing in the bands of Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman, developed a beat of rock-like steadiness, perhaps less obtrusively than any of his contemporaries, as did Cozy Cole, who showed himself as adaptĀ­able to the big band work he did with Benny Carter and Willie Bryant, as to the small combo requirements of the Stuff Smith Quintet, with which he earned first prominence along 52nd Street in 1936. Catlett and Cole were essentially functional drummers, men who knew that their primary task was that of integrating their rhythmic contribution into the work of the entire group. (Lionel Hampton, a master of the whole percussion family, had