Picking Pockets

Working in a band that plays a lot of originals with a near equal number of covers from a wide variety of genres is an interesting situation. I spend a lot of time trying to mimic or at least closely emulate other drummers while at the same time trying to maintain my identity by making parts that are uniquely mine. This requires doing reality checks early and often, since my “personal expression” must always take a back seat to serving the song.

One of my role models is Brian Blade, who does both of these things superlatively, and seemingly almost telepathically. I have heard him play live several times over a period of a decade, and he is always creative and fresh in his approach and yet, never, ever steps on the song, but rather enhances it.

Billy Ward, another of my favorites, is of the same quality and bent. Having played in many “pop” music settings, movie sound tracks and the like, Billy puts himself at the service of the music, whether it is Joan Osborne, B.B. King or his own jazz/fusion trio. Billy is ever the creative spirit, but always, always playing for the song. I try to listen to these two role models every chance I get.

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