Yesterday was the first Double drummer Quartet gig of the year. We had me on drums, Andrew Fedorovitch on alto sax, Max Williams on tenor sax (who are normal offenders) but this time Shane Spellman, who normally plays trumpet, played drums. We all know he was a killer black metal drummer when he was younger, and I was definitely up for having him play drums because that band is all about being open to more abstract approaches – mainly by having players play their second instrument.
It was a pretty fun gig. Feda cut sick and reminded us all that he’s not just some ‘shit-at-jazz’ alto player – he’s a ‘blow-your-fucking-brains-out’ good avant-garde improviser. Shane really stepped up as well and was able to push it to that high intensity where everything is way out of control and we all just blow our tops. I loved going hard on the drums. It’s been so long. It was so loud and angular.
Seeing the trio Roil (Mike Mikowsky, Chris Abrahams and James Waples) after the gig made me kind of question the brutality of the double drummer quartet. The players in that trio are really careful with their sound. Perhaps the double drummer quartet could learn something from that. Well, I guess it’s not like we don’t play ballads. But it seems to me that there is an appeal in playing with a dirty sound. Jazz seems to have become ‘classicalised’ in a way with such a big emphasis on ‘good’ sound. Piano players playing on Steinways and drummers useing flat rides ect. Sometimes I’d rather hear something a little more ‘wrong’ or out of tune or with so called ‘harsh tone’. In fact Shanghai is the master at playing with shit tone, but that’s what I love about his playing so much. Jazz music isn’t classical music. Avant garde music isn’t jazz music. What sounds good is totally a matter of opinion.
In a few weeks we have a gig with Alex Masso. It’s me on drums, Feda on Alto and Shanghai back on trumpet. It’s going to be an interesting experience to play with someone as good as Masso. It’s an indoor gig (we usually always play outdoor gigs) so that may put limits on how loud it can get. I don’t know how it’s going to sound, but I do know it’s going to sound the way we want it to sound. It may not sound ‘clean’ and it may not even groove, but we do that intentionally. The sounds we make are sounds we like, though it may seem a little strange to some that anyone would like these sounds.