Jazz Drum Heaven This Weekend at Drom
This weekend, March 23 and 24 at Drom (85 Ave. A),there’s a jazz drum summit to end all jazz drum summits. An all-weekend pass can be obtained as cheaply as $20 or even $15 with student ID at the door. With as many generations of A- list drummers – the legendary Jimmy Cobb, Tain Watts, Billy Hart, EJ Strickland and others – leading their respective bands, early arrival is highly advised. Music begins each night at 7 PM. Revive Music’s Meghan Stabile put together the bill; Revive’s Eric Sandler took some time to share his insight on how exciting this is going to be:
Lucid Culture’s Correspondent: First, congratulations on getting all of these artists together on the same bill. That was definitely not easy since they’re all so busy. How long did it take you to pull this together?
Eric Sandler: The Generations of the BEAT Festival is definitely an idea that has been on our minds for quite a while from a conceptual standpoint. As far as putting it together, it’s always fun from a scheduling standpoint, but throughout the years our team has become pretty great at making our live events happen to their greatest potential. All of these drummers immediately realized the historical significance behind the event, so convincing them was not a struggle at all!
LCC: You have several generations of drummer bandleaders represented, from Jimmy Cobb, to Tain, to the Cookers’ Billy Hart, to the up-and-coming EJ Strickland. Obviously you did your homework. Are you a drummer as well? What’s your agenda with this?
ES: It’s not so much doing our homework as being a part of the scene. Revive Music Group has become a staple in the live music scene both through our live events and our online journal, The Revivalist. Our agenda is really just to expose as many people as possible to the best music that is out there. It is absolutely incredible to have artists like Jimmy Cobb and Billy Hart still performing. As musicians and fans ourselves, this is not something anyone should miss. Moreover, with the Generations of the BEAT Festival we are bringing together different generations of artists, an integral aspect of progressing the music and fostering innovation.
LCC: Drummer-led bands are usually especially good, in my experience. Do you agree? Why do you think that is?
ES: Drummers have a very unique perspective, compared to everyone else in the band. They tend to think in shapes, colors, forms, and rhythms in addition to harmonies and melodies. In short, they are generally more focused on making the music feel good than anything else. A great drummer can really make a band. Conversely, a bad drummer can really ruin one too. It is very interesting that drummers tend to make incredible bandleaders as well as producers. I have to think it has something to do with how they hear music.
LCC: I’ve got a much easier explanation: everybody needs a good drummer! Drummers always have the deepest address books – because the good ones play with so many other great artists. Now – do you have a list of the supporting musicians? I know that up-and-coming bassist Michael Feinberg - who recently put out an intriguing Elvin Jones tribute album – is playing with Billy Hart, one of the few guys I would trust to do justice to Elvin…
ES: Michael Feinberg’s tribute to Elvin Jones with Billy Hart will most certainly be one of the most exciting parts of the BEAT Festival. Funny enough, when we interviewed Michael about the festival, he told us that he was a little nervous to perform for so many amazing drummers both onstage and in the audience. I think being a bass player in a drummer’s festival is a tough role to fill, but Michael and the other bass players are surely up to the task — otherwise they wouldn’t be performing at the festival. You can check out more info on the bands that will be performing on The Revivalist. In addition to putting together these live events, we also strive to educate audiences about the music. For the Generations of the BEAT Festival we also launched an online Drummer’s Issue to feature the artists in interviews and analytical profiles.
LCC: No Roy Haynes on the bill, I see. Too busy? Did you ask?
ES: We have something very special planned for Roy Haynes on the horizon. For now that’s all I’m going to say.
LCC: Are these two concerts basically repertory material, or are they focused on original compositions from the artists involved?
ES: A mix of both actually. A lot of the drummers are bringing original compositions to perform with their groups, but there will also be many tribute pieces within the sets as a nod to the drummers who influenced the performers. Keep your ears perked for a lot of surprises.
LCC: Are there any $15 two-day passes left? If so, how and where can you get one?
ES: $15 festival passes are available all weekend for any students who can present a valid student ID at the door. Presale tickets are also available.
LCC: This is an exciting bill. Is there going to be room on the floor for people who want to get up and dance?
ES: There’s always room to dance!
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