Last week I was called a “purist” for playing music that I enjoyed at the expense of making money. Not to be too hasty, I looked up the meaning of “purist”. I found this on the Miriam-Webster site: “a person who has very strong ideas about what is correct or acceptable and who usually opposes changes to traditional methods and practices”.

Well, that’s not quite what I’m about… In my teaching practice, I cover everything from current music to music from a few decades ago, depending upon the student’s desires and needs. Along the way, we may wander into rudiments (like the 5 stroke roll that Chad Smith uses for a quick fill on the recording “Otherside”, for example…), or the derivation of different styles, many of which are linked by a feel (shuffle, swing, hip-hop) or connected to a location (Go-Go, second-line, samba, reggae, Motown, etc.).

By the way, after a painful rehearsal last week, I’m spending time studying the Basie band charts. I am digging deeply into how the drum fills are played as part of the ensemble (emphasis intended!) as opposed to small drum “solos”. Seems obvious, but it’s mostly about hearing the music as it should be played… Maybe I’m being a bit of a purist??

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