The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

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

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The Drums
main accents correspond with the accent of this two-measure artery heard on the claves.
Many percussion instruments of Latin origin have enriched the tonal palette of modern music, which today may employ a pair of bongos (two small hand drums, brought to the desired pitch by heating, played with the fingers); the larger, fuller-toned conga drum, also struck with hands and fingers; the maracas, a pair of gourdlike rattles containing dried seeds that supply a continuous eight-eighth-notes rhythm in each measure; the rim-bales, a pair of bottomless drums, usually tuned a fourth or fifth apart, mounted on a stand and played with a flat-end dowel stick; and the guiro, a grooved cowhorn scraped with a thin stick. Though there is a narrowing gap between Latin music and jazz, it is generally true that these instruments and the rhythms they employ still are more in jazz than of it; their status is that of an auxiliary influence not yet an essential part of the main body.
The present-day jazz scene is rich in percussion talents. After the death of Chano Pozo, the complex bongo and conga drum rhythms he had brought from Cuba came to life in the agile fingers of Candido Camero. The name bands have produced a steady procession of astonishingly brilliant and technically equipped new drummers. Chico Hamilton, one of those rare drummer-leaders capable of exercising discretion in the limita­tion of his own role, has risen to prominence as leader of his own West Coast jazz group. The Basie band in the past decade, challenged by its own Jo Jones precedent, has offered excellently integrated percussion work by Shadow Wilson, by the superb Gus Johnson and more recently by the gifted but somewhat flashy Sonny Payne. The most .promising new stars on the West Coast have been Larry Bunker and Larry Marable; in the East, Osie Johnson has shown himself the most adaptable and the most recorded, while Roy Haynes, serving in Sarah Vaughan's accom­panying rhythm section, has remained one of the most tasteful and intelligent of the modern school. The use of the drummer strictly for rhythmic background, limited almost entirely to the brushes rather than sticks, has been exemplified in the role of the various percussionists in the George Shearing Quintet, out-