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THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
standing among whom have been Denzil Best and Bill Clark.
At the other end of the spectrum is the newest trend represented by a drummer known as Philly Joe Jones, who has rapidly gained popularity among the musicians of the hard bop school. Jones' rhythms are so complex, and are so forcibly expressed, that certain conservative musicians and listeners have compared him unfavorably with a machine gun; nevertheless, it is beyond question that this represents one of the several directions in which modern percussion is moving. There is a reaction against this concept among many drummers who were brought up in the dance band tradition. "The modernists, who were not trained as dance drummers," said Gene Krupa, "do almost anything that comes to mind and they get away with it because the people who follow it have stopped dancing; or never learned how. These young drummers, and there are some outstanding ones among them, try to do too much. They try to play everything in an eight-bar break. If I beat out my wildest solo and the people couldn't dance to it, I'd be really shocked; for I learned years ago that you just can't break time."1
The importance of the contrast between today's percussionist and the jazz drummer of Original Dixieland days lies in the prodigious advance in musicianship, not only from a technical aspect, but in terms of general knowledge and sensitivity. The typical percussion artist today may be a man who not only reads music, but has had experience as a composer and arranger, has been to music schools as student, as teacher, or both. Instead of drawing a line between the strict four-four-beat requirements of the simplest jazz and the more complex demands of other forms, he has studied polyrhythms, has a far more keenly developed sense of time, and is capable of driving an entire sixteen-piece orchestra with consummate ease and complete control. Admittedly the drummer today is over-publicized, over-featured and over-praised in proportion to the role he should play as a member of an ensemble; but there can be no doubt about his overall ability. As Tony Spargo succinctly remarked recently: "Drumming styles have improved a hell of a lot, that's a cinch. But,** he added, "of course they've got a hell of a lot more stuff to work onl"