Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bongos

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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby rhythmrhyme » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:50 am

sweet rant Barry, I can identify!

when I was younger, roommates were the worst!! come home from work, the kit just doesn't look right... throne isn't where I left it, cymbal is a little off tilt. look a little closer, my sticks have new wear on them and there's some pock marks in my heads. solution, lock on the door!

Something about drums leads people to think they can just bash away on them. I think they're ignorant to how much they actually cost and how personal something becomes to a musician after they spend a couple thousand hours engaged with it.

I've never played pro, but have always played -- literally since I was 2 years old. Got my first kit when I was 10, met congas when I was 15 but didn't have a clue about the discipline of the instrument until my mid 30's when i spent a few thousand hours training incessantly on them. Like other posts, I found it very difficult to maintain the focus required to progress on the kit and congas at the same time, in a way that seemed meaningful to me anyway. There are only so many hours in a day... also, I'm not sure how much wear and tear a person's joints can really take once they get past 40...
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby p.a.dogs1 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:21 am

Thomas Altmann wrote: ... In closing, I like to quote Airto in the Modern Drummer magazine from August 1983:

"Even congas, I don't play that well. I know how to play them - I get the sound - but I never really got into the congas because Patato Valdez and Mongo Santameria are still alive [1983] and they are the real thing. In order for me to play the congas, I have to play just congas, because you use both of your hands. The way I ike to play percussion is to play two or three different sounds at the same time. I also lose the touch for the small instruments - the very sensitive things that I have to play. When you are a conga player, you are a conga player. You aren't kidding about it."

This quotation let me stay awake for more than four hours (it´s 3:25 in the morning now). At least it brought me to research about one of my favorite percussion players: Manolo Badrena, who is (in this way) not a conga player but a kit player. The first clip is from 1976 with Weather Report (Drummer: AlexAcuna):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHh5xNdmuek

The next clip is from 1997 with The Joe Zawinul Syndicate, when the group was on tour in Europe (Drummer: Paco Sery).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTOy-WuABQ

Directly after the 1997-tour the group followed an invitation to a Jazz festival in Stuttgart. But Paco Sery missed the plane and did not arrived in time. Fortunately David Haynes, the Drummer of Prince, was in the audience and filled in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24PIfsu-nmc

Six years later with a shaking singer, Sabine Kabongo (Drummer: Stephane Galland). Manolo with a Talking Drum (instead of drumset-sounds?).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sXRh9TfVFM

2012 with Ahmad Jamal (Drummer: Herlin Riley).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cytUz9KkK9M

Maybe it adds not too much to this topic - but I love this guy and I just wanted to tell this :D .
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Barryabko » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:02 am

Thanks for the links p.a.dogs1. There are some great tracks there.

I'm pretty sure that I saw Weather Report live. I just can't remember if it was at The Hollywood Bowl or maybe it was at The Roxy. Some things from that era are a little cloudy :? . Wait a minute, I do think it was at the Playboy Jazz Festival at The Hollywood Bowl.
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Barryabko » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:23 am

Thomas Altmann wrote: Singers really should stay away from our stuff unless they have been educated accordingly. There are other ways for singers to have some fun. If they have extra capacities, that's fine; but they have to co-operate with the rest of the percussion section then.

An especially nice variant is singers who snatch instruments from our table and scatter them over the stage, so when we need them at a specific point, they are no longer there!


At a recent gig the singer from one the sets stepped back from the mic during the lead section of a song and asked if she could use one of my tambourines. At least she asked, and even asked nicely! I would normally politely decline by saying "I'm sorry but I'm just not comfortable with anyone else using my equipment." That seems to work most of the time. In this case she was such an amazing singer and I was having such a fun time playing in her back-up band that in a moment of weakness I handed her a Pearl Ultra Grip brass which she actually played well and quite tastefully while I used a conga/bongo combination. The next song, however, only required tambourine and she was still playing the Pearl! I have many other tambourines but the song didn't need more than one. As the song went on she noticed I wasn't playing anything and to her great credit she came over and handed it back so I could play tambourine from then on. It just goes to show that there are people out there who do get it - even singers! :-)
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Barryabko » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:38 am

rhythmrhyme wrote:sweet rant Barry!

Something about drums leads people to think they can just bash away on them. I think they're ignorant to how much they actually cost and how personal something becomes to a musician after they spend a couple thousand hours engaged with it...


Thanks, rhythmrhyme.

Yeah, I'm not sure what it is that makes people have that feeling of entitlement and a less than respectful attitude towards drums and percussion and by extension, towards their owners. Maybe it's because we seem to abuse the instruments as we use them by beating on them with our hands and whacking at them with sticks. Subconsciously, that may make them seem invaluable or less valuable than musical instruments that are lovingly held in the arms like guitars or soothingly massaged like keyboards. It may also give the false impression that drums and percussion instruments are virtually indestructible.
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Thomas Altmann » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:05 pm

@p.a.dogs1:

Hi Oliver,

somehow strange to communicate with you in English (not German), but that's the deal, period.

Manolo Badrena, in my opinion, is the perfect example for a wonderful all-around percussionist in Airto's sense. Should he also be a stout specialized conguero, it doesn't really show in these clips. Should he be a capable set drummer as well, it doesn't show here, either. I don't know Manolo personally, but my impression is that he plays congas, too - as opposed to being a conga player, although he sure listened to a couple of important Cuban recordings, like Los Papines. What Airto tried to say (and I agree) is that there are percussionists who incorporate congas, and then there are congueros, which requires a very special craft.

Alex Acuña is the one who could do both drum set and congas, although his sound on congas is rather sweet and soft, comparable to Changuito's in this respect. Changuito is another guy who can play it all. Sheila Escovedo plays good congas and drum set as well. Then there is Don Alias. But none of these ladies and gentlemen is really hitting hard on the conga drums. That's just one way of doing it. A smart way, if you want to keep using your hands and fingers for finer work!

That's what I have come to do since I decided to focus more on the drum set, following the demands of the market, so to say. I had a couple of studio gigs that involved my conga playing, but for the studio my sound was still good enough; it just came back from the moment I played the first stroke along with the music. But there were times when I was a real conga player in the first place, and I can tell that's a different ballgame! My whole body balance adapted to this specialization.

Thomas

P.S. I wonder whether Manolo played the entire concert with Ahmad Jamal. I know Ahmad's work from around 1960 pretty well, and the trio with Vernell Fournier and Israel Crosby still is one of my favorite groups. But this band was all about SPACE, and I'm not sure whether an additional percussionist would serve the music well for this purpose. Of course, the Poinciana groove is epic; it's one of the very few really special, customized jazz grooves apart from "ding, ding-a-ding", and it has New Orleans roots (Vernell as well as Herlin both hail from "NOLA").
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby CongaTick » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:18 pm

Can't tell you how many stupid women take a slap at one of my congas when I'm at a bar gig and they are on their way to or from the bathroom. I've become adept at gauging the potential skin-slappers and grabbing their wrist as they go for a casual slap,an action that has resulted in some nasty looks and nastier words...so I've gone out of the way to set up on the opposite side of the kit--as far away from the path to the bathroom as I can. And yes, Thomas, the vast majority of drummers I've worked with are "bashers". Incredible how few musicians practice the use of those two flappy things on either side of their heads. My daily practice focus has always been about LISTENING, LISTENING, and LISTENING and knowing when to LAY OUT.
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Barryabko » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:40 pm

CongaTick wrote:Incredible how few musicians practice the use of those two flappy things on either side of their heads. My daily practice focus has always been about LISTENING, LISTENING, and LISTENING and knowing when to LAY OUT.


CongaTick, you are correct. The most important aspect of serving the song is listening.

Listening to the drummer and/or other percussionists who are playing in order to complement what they are doing without stepping on their playing or worse, conflicting with it.

Listening to yourself so you play for the song: Choosing the proper percussion instrument(s), playing rhythmic patterns which are appropriate, laying out as needed (like you said) plus adjusting your volume and intensity to create the drama of "tension and release" which all help to propel the song and give it depth and greater dynamics.

Listening to the singer and the other (non-percussionist) musicians.

LISTENING TO THE SONG!! I find that when I'm playing my best (hand percussion or drums) the song itself is telling me what it wants. It's almost as if I'm floating above the song as it's flowing through me. I'm also not thinking about what I'm playing - it's like an altered state. If I do start to come out of that zone or think too much about what I'm playing the "spell is broken" and that's when I start to make mistakes.

It's a tricky knife's edge - your brain is, of course, directing your playing but it can also get in your way if it's not well connected to your ears and your heart.

Of course, everything I've been saying so far is just my personal opinion. Others may have different viewpoints.

I have been told many times that I listen very well to what others are playing - some people have said I have "Big Ears". I take that as a great compliment. Some of that is a natural ability but I've also worked to hone it over the years, making it the most central aspect of my playing by being very conscious of its importance.

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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:23 pm

Referring to Barry's post, this shows the amount and quality of mind-body involvement, of "total awareness" that any musician goes into when entering the creative process. The average person just doesn't have any idea of this; people think it's all about fun. And it is, or it can be, rather. Personally, I tend to speak of joy rather than of fun. Even musicians in big band sections or classical orchestras have to follow the chart, watch the conductor, master the instrument, listen to the section - especially the section leaders, and adapt to their intonation, the timbre, the articulation, dynamics and rhythmic interpretation, while ear-controlling the ensemble, everything at the same time: You can't do that unless you open up and relax and let your intuition do as much as possible. Making music can be for fun, but it can also become a "path".

In improvised music, musicians must be able to react on the spot. While much emphasis has rightfully been placed on listening, it is also crucial to be able to switch from the receptive to the productive/active mode. On congas, the drummer is well equipped to keep time and rectify tempo problems in the ensemble, much as a kit drummer has. The conga player can even help the kit drummer (or timbalero) to keep the time, because these guys have still many other things to care about. (On the other hand, I once tried to hold back a drummer's pushing-forward with a shaker, which didn't really work out.)

(Barry:) Listening to the drummer and/or other percussionists who are playing in order to complement what they are doing without stepping on their playing or worse, conflicting with it.


A typical mistake of conga drummers who are coming from the timbales or the drum set is to play fill-ins in the same spots they used to play at the kit, which is before the double bar line. This territory traditionally belongs to kit drummers and timbaleros; so if the conguero covers the same spot, it would inevitably clash and sound ridiculous. It's a funky effect to have the conga player fill in some of these spots, but this must be organized in some way. I must admit I know what I'm talking about.

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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby RitmoBoricua » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:16 pm

Excellent thread. I think the following video demonstrate some of your points and how these four masters
do their thing without getting in each other's way. It seems the piano is the main voice and the rest are just
there to accompany for the most part, and then they get their own spot to shine and everybody happy.
Many times videos illustrate things better than thousand words. Beautiful piece by these four masters.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=82 ... nref=story
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby p.a.dogs1 » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:56 am

Thomas Altmann wrote:somehow strange to communicate with you in English (not German), but that's the deal, period.

Sometimes it is horrible for me, but sometimes the English language leads me to rather inventive thoughts.

Thomas Altmann wrote:What Airto tried to say (and I agree) is that there are percussionists who incorporate congas, and then there are congueros, which requires a very special craft. [...] I can tell that's a different ballgame! My whole body balance adapted to this specialization.

I think I have an idea what you mean. There are players who beat the congas in order to produce sounds. And there is a different kind of player (conguero ?) who makes you feel him as a person (or even as if he is connected/anchored to something more truthful). In a TV documentation was said something similar regarding guitarists: Eric Clapton is a guitar player, Jimi Hendrix was something rather different.

In dependence to this I must think about a nice conversation with René Styber (who passed away meanwhile), a friend of Rainer Polak. Rainer is an ethnologist, who achieved to be accepted as member of professional jenbe-ensembles in Bamako, which is the capital city of Mali. I remember that Rene tried to make me understand, what sound-differences in drumming represent in cultural contexts where meanings of words depend on their spoken tone pitches. He told me that Rainer analyzed lots of records to find out about this. Therefore I bought Rainers book (translated from German: Celebration-Music as Job, Drumming As Profession - Jenbe-Player In A West-African Major City), but did not find this inside. The book is more about cultural developments and how to deliver a cultural anchored drumming-service (marriages etc.) in view of a younger generation, who drifts apart from traditions.

This is contradictory to what C.K. Ladzekpo (master drummer of the Anlo Ewe) wrote in his so-called Foundation Course in African Dance-Drumming:
In Anlo-Ewe cultural understanding, the technique of cross rhythm is a highly developed systematic interplay of varying rhythmic motions simulating the dynamics of contrasting moments or emotional stress phenomena likely to occur in actual human existence.

As a preventive prescription for extreme uneasiness of mind or self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with impending or anticipated problems, these simulated stress phenomena or cross-rhythmic figures are embodied in the art of dance-drumming as mind-nurturing exercises to modify the expression of the inherent potential of the human thought in meeting the challenges of life. The premise is that by rightly instituting the mind in coping with these simulated emotional stress phenomena, intrepidity is achieved.

Intrepidness, or resolute fearlessness, in Anlo-Ewe view, is an extraordinary strength of mind. It raises the mind above the troubles, disorders and emotions which the anticipation or sight of great perils is calculated to excite. It is by this strength that ordinary people become heroes, by maintaining themselves in a tranquil state of mind and preserving the free use of their reason under most surprising and terrible circumstances.

... and:
In the cultural understanding, the technique of polyrhythm simply asserts the highly unpredictable occurrences of obstacles in human life. They occur without a warning. It reinforces the need for the development of a strong and productive purpose built on a foundation of adequate preparation for life.

These real-life meanings of cross rhythmic techniques were repeatedly driven home to me as I grew up gradually in a traditional Anlo-Ewe community. In this community, dance drumming is an integral part of the life of everyone from the moment of birth. A training in dance drumming is an essential part of the larger comprehensive preparation of every child for a productive and fulfilled participation in adult life. In this community, artistic elements are not abstract phenomena. They assume real-life characters. A main beat scheme represents a strong purpose in life and a secondary beat scheme represents an obstacle. Tension created by the customary ordering of these characters conveys a number of ideas simultaneously.

As a child going through this normal routines of Anlo-Ewe upbringing, my lack of subtleties in performing new sophisticated rhythmic contrasts were frequently criticized as lack of a strong sense of purpose capable of regulating the dynamics of contrasting obstacles in life. Blocking off a beat scheme to ease the hostility between opposing beat schemes of unfamiliar rhythmic contrast was often severely punished as my avoidance of the real challenges of life. A rare guidance in the proper management of opposing beat schemes of a rhythmic contrast was usually in form of a large dose of philosophy such as: to solve a problem, you must convert obstacles into stepping stones.

During these formative years, organized community rehearsals were my greatest relief. On such rare occasions, the interactive totality of a dance drumming would be re-synthesized from scratch in a more relaxed practice environment. These rehearsals were customarily aimed at encouraging the development of a greater understanding of the structural components, their interrelationships and most importantly, their performance. For us the younger generation, these practice sessions were essential head start in our assimilation into the cultural tradition of the community.

Spirited aural demonstration, earnest imitation and assimilation were the norm of this exchange of idiom. An experienced elder would lead the community by extracting major component parts from the whole, aurally demonstrating how they sounded and fit together, and when appropriate, he would explain the meanings or ideas that they were intended to convey. The community would follow in earnest assimilation until a discernable confidence in their ability to perform was achieved.

During my professional career as a master drummer and scholar of African dance drumming with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble and the University of Ghana's Institute of African Studies, I have had the privilege of participating in several elaborate research and study residencies in many cultures across the sub-sahara. In these residencies of intense participation in dance drumming very much different from my own ethnic origin, I have had the rare opportunity of comparing my Anlo-Ewe experiences as remarkably similar with the shared concepts of these other sub-saharan cultures. The surface structures or sound-products among all these ethnic groups were indeed very diverse but the undercurrent principles demonstrated profound homogeneity.

The concept of perceiving artistic elements as real-life characters is the most visible characteristic of this sub-saharan cultural homogeneity. This attitude is also the premise for idiomatic discourse or verbal interchange of ideas. It is the single most important factor that integrates the dance drumming as well as its component elements with the everyday world as a functional coherent phenomenon.

What do I want to line with these quotations? Maybe that there is another level of communication, based on a shared feeling for the necessity of music/culture or whatever (beyond any tastfulness). Drumming as an educational basement for social togetherness. So, what makes me excited while being present at a musical performance?

When I am in a concert, I always try to find out about the relationships between the musicians. Do they enjoy being together? Are they curious about what will happen? Are they ready for their best concert ever - or do they just deliver a service? What are the preconditions for feelings of togetherness in our societies - provoked by music?

In the clips with Manolo Badrena I perceive that Joe Zawinul is very important as a kind of master of ceremony (MC). He is electrifying by being turned very intensively to every member of the band. It is his extreme curiousity for the acute moment´s possibilities. And this is why everybody is full of respect for and pemanently focused to him.

Thomas Altmann wrote:I wonder whether Manolo played the entire concert with Ahmad Jamal. I know Ahmad's work from around 1960 pretty well, and the trio with Vernell Fournier and Israel Crosby still is one of my favorite groups. But this band was all about SPACE, and I'm not sure whether an additional percussionist would serve the music well for this purpose.

I think I sense what you mean. But Manolo seems to be a permanent member of the Ahmed Jamal Quartet. However you might be right, when you feel that Manolo is a little bit dispensable.

Here is an example for an improvised session. Nene was asked by the drummer and the bassplayer to join them for a little session. They know each other because they have their exercise rooms in the same building in Hannover - Achim Seifert and Julian Kuelpmann play together in a jazz quartett. I think this is a very typical constellation: the percussionist is added. I like it very much, but when I watch the clip I have the imagination, that Nene is a little bit outside.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_T-_eyiDgY

I hope it was not too much diffusivity :roll:

Regards
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby CongaTick » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:30 am

Oliver, it becomes extremely obvious at the end of the jam where Nene's solo is expressive of: "Now let me show you what I cab do!" which really is his exclamation point to what you so clearly observed about his entire inclusion in the session: that despite his extreme proficiency, it DID feel like he was an add-on element which didn't quite fuse with the other two. Excellent post!
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Thomas Altmann » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:25 pm

@p.a.dogs1:

I think I have an idea what you mean. There are players who beat the congas in order to produce sounds. And there is a different kind of player (conguero ?) who makes you feel him as a person (or even as if he is connected/anchored to something more truthful).


Not exactly; allround percussionists are often very thoughtful about what they play on the congas, rhythmically and dynamically. It's definitely not only about bashing away on them, or simply producing the conga sound for a certain passage in the music. I wonder whether I should even try to explain the difference here, because I might enter dangerous territory. Plus, in some cases it may be difficult to draw a clear line between conga-playing percussionists and congueros. I better do not make an issue of it. I experienced the difference physically, that's all.

In a TV documentation was said something similar regarding guitarists: Eric Clapton is a guitar player, Jimi Hendrix was something rather different.


That sounds like BS to me. Both of them are/have been ingenious guitarists. One of them had the audacity to redefine the instrument completely and regardless of the average idea about what a guitar should sound - and was successful in the end! This puts him in a different class of humans, but it does not take away from the other guy's genius. It's always risky to compare artists on that level. Actually it is forbidden.

I don't think that Ladzekpo's observations are contradictory to Rainer's and Rene's; they just add to it. I got the same idea as Ladzekpo from polyrhythmic drumming, I virtually experienced it. I'm glad somebody put it down in words.

Are they ready for their best concert ever - or do they just deliver a service?


Anyone actively performing live music knows that setting out for "the best concert ever" is equal to summoning failure. As most African and African-derived music is functional music, rendering a social service is the norm; so there's nothing negative about it. The public performance of improvising music together has more aspects than these two, and outgrow the sole purpose of entertainment. A real jazz concert, for instance, can be likened to a drama, an enactment of creation through communicating souls/powers, and almost border to the ceremonial: It can be a celebration of life, of elevation, of elegance. It can also be just another noisy party. In any case, the unpretentiously playful spirit plays a central role.

What are the preconditions for feelings of togetherness in our societies - provoked by music?


I have given up the hope that music can provoke a sense of togetherness in any Western or European society. I'm not even sure whether this should be desirable. Our modern societies are pluralistic, multi-cultural constructions that consist of an infinite number of separate and overlapping communities. One of these communities, or "tribes", if you will, is the modern Swing Dance movement. I play for these Lindy Hoppers monthly, and here is where I can get a glimpse of communal togetherness in our times.

I'm sorry I don't have the patience to watch the YT-clip to the end. As much as I duly bow to the talents of these young men, I was bored from the first minute on until I couldn't stand it any longer after the drumset solo had started. There was no real togetherness. Moreover, they did not communicate anything relevant to me. There's a lot of stuff out there today that I deem meaningless, by the way. Now you may say, this was happening in the rehearsal room only; but then they published it!

Greetings,

Thomas
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby RitmoBoricua » Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:24 pm

Here we have two conga players , one timbales and drum set players all getting along
and not stepping on each other's toes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnmNNJ3nWDw

Whenever I played with a drum set player in rehearsals we discussed
how not to step on each other's { drum set, bongo, conga and timbales}
toes and we executed as discussed . I wonder what could force me to play
with a drum set or percussion player that is always stepping on my toes?
Good thing that I make my living and have a profession that does not have
anything to do with performing music.
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Re: Introduction - drum set player but new to Congas and Bon

Postby Barryabko » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:11 pm

Thomas Altmann wrote:Referring to Barry's post, this shows the amount and quality of mind-body involvement, of "total awareness" that any musician goes into when entering the creative process. The average person just doesn't have any idea of this; people think it's all about fun. And it is, or it can be, rather. Personally, I tend to speak of joy rather than of fun. Even musicians in big band sections or classical orchestras have to follow the chart, watch the conductor, master the instrument, listen to the section - especially the section leaders, and adapt to their intonation, the timbre, the articulation, dynamics and rhythmic interpretation, while ear-controlling the ensemble, everything at the same time: You can't do that unless you open up and relax and let your intuition do as much as possible. Making music can be for fun, but it can also become a "path".

In improvised music, musicians must be able to react on the spot. While much emphasis has rightfully been placed on listening, it is also crucial to be able to switch from the receptive to the productive/active mode. On congas, the drummer is well equipped to keep time and rectify tempo problems in the ensemble, much as a kit drummer has. The conga player can even help the kit drummer (or timbalero) to keep the time, because these guys have still many other things to care about. (On the other hand, I once tried to hold back a drummer's pushing-forward with a shaker, which didn't really work out.)


Thanks for your reply, Thomas,

You touch upon a very important aspect of "transcendence while playing" that I neglected to mention in my previous post - that of practice and preparation. Many drummers tend to "show off" their chops as they play by adding fills, etc. that the song doesn't really need IMHO. I'm not sure why this often occurs. Maybe they feel their reward for a lot practice is to demonstrate to everyone listening just how proficient they are. Maybe it's just ego. Playing for the song almost requires that the player's ego be left at the door so that the song can take center stage.

The significant amount of practice that musicians undertake gives them a wide palette of patterns and sonic choices while playing the song. If shutting off the intellectual side of the brain better helps to achieve transcendence there must still be a reservoir of technical ability available that can be accessed automatically. Classical musicians spend thousands of hours practicing. Many people talk about 10,000 hours of playing being required to "master" an instrument. This mastery is only used best when the beauty of the song can be expressed with the playing ability of the musician. Sometimes an orchestra sounds rather "stiff" when performing which can occur when at least some of the musicians are concentrating too much about playing the written music as "correctly" as possible. The written score is only a representation of the music. It is not the music itself which is metaphysical.

I may have a lot of practice and playing hours under my belt but I am very far from any sort of mastery. I do find, however, that when I'm in the altered state while playing I will often surprise myself by playing the instrument in a way that I did not practice and didn't even know I could do. As though the song is telling me what it wants and my brain/body is drawing from my reservoir of practice and experience to let me play a hybrid. Muscle memory also helps with this as the muscles themselves are already prepared to play what's required which removes that layer of intellectual processing.

Playing improvised music requires an even greater need to put the intellectual processing in the background. Each player must be listening carefully to the others and also feel the energy of the music flowing through. Again, the music should take precedence not technical playing ability. I find that improvised music is all too often a platform for the egos of the musicians. They are more concerned (at least sometimes) to show everyone just how awesome they are. I also don't care for most drum solos. I don't usually like listening to them and I don't like playing them. Yes, I can appreciate the technical abilities exhibited by a drummer or percussionist during a solo but they are rarely serving the song.

>I tend to speak of joy rather than of fun.

For me, I feel a sense of joy as I'm playing (I use that term all time). After the playing is over it translates into how much fun it was to play.

Barry
Last edited by Barryabko on Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Barryabko
 
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