Blues for Tony: Allan Holdsworth, featuring Chad Wackerman

The brilliant guitarist Allan Holdsworth, accompanied by the equally brilliant pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Jimmy Haslip – and featuring the compositional creativity of drummer Chad Wackerman. His drumming (for me) displays such maturity and awareness of sonics and timbre, without resorting to drumming gymnastics and unnecessary technical heroics. His drum kit and cymbal sounds are captured here with great clarity. I have said this for many years: someday when I grow up, I want to play like Chad Wackerman.

Steve Gadd, © 1970

Here’s some absolute vintage footage of Steve Gadd during his stint in the US Army Band. The groove is unmistakable, the pocket deep, and the drum break near the end of the clip – well, just classic Gadd.

Cliff Almond interviews master bassist Anthony Jackson

Originally recorded in 2007, this audio interview with the brilliant electric bassist Anthony Jackson (a personal favorite of mine) is revealing and illuminating in a candid and thoughtful manner. He also details his preferences when playing with a drummer for the first time. Jackson later recalls his tenure with Buddy Rich, as well as playing with Tony Williams and Steve Gadd.

Horace Silver Quintet and Elvin Jones Trio, from 1968.

Nearly an hour-long concert video pairing up the Horace Silver Quintet (rarely heard with this personnel) with Elvin Jones’ Trio, from 1968. There is a blazing version of Silver’s “Nutville” featuring the inspired and under-appreciated Bennie Maupin (ts) and Bill Hardman (tp) – but the real find is the young “Bill Cobham,” in his early twenties, displaying some ferocious chops on an Italian-made ‘Hollywood’ drum kit, replete with a tunable floor tom. Drummers will no doubt be interested by his ‘right-handed’ setup, and reversed traditional-grip sticking.

The closing portion of the concert video features Elvin Jones with Joe Farrell (ts, fl) and Jimmy Garrison (bs). Elvin is, as usual, simply brilliant.

Happy Birthday, Elvin Jones!

“The first time I hung out with Elvin was at Logan Airport in Boston. He had a layover and I had a layover so we had lunch and talked. I was working with Wynton [Marsalis] at the time and maybe he knew that, but it really didn’t matter what level I was on. Just the fact that I was trying to play was good enough for him. He would stare at me for a while without saying anything, which was kind of mysterious, but then at some point he said, ’It appears that you have a propensity for dealing with an abstract conception,’ and it came out of nowhere. And I was like, ’What do you mean? About music or about life?’ And he said, ’Aren’t they both the same thing?’” — Jeff “Tain” Watts (from “13 Drummers Remember Elvin Jones”: DRUM! Magazine, August/September 2004, by Bill Milkowski)