TULLIO DE PISCOPO - SUONANDO LA BATTERIA MODERNA LP:
On sale from 20th July 2015.
This release is individually 1000 hand-numbered limited edition. The first 300 copies are pressed on RED vinyls (AR004).
The heaviest and most sought-after DRUMS BREAKS LIBRARY LP, a true "cult" among DJ and producers.
A brief history of the Drums (from the original inner sleeve of 1974):
Jazz Drums as we know them today are a complex group of percussive instruments that reveal the inventive genius of the first jazz-band players of New Orleans, on Mississipi show-boats and, later, in Chicago. In their actual form (which is the same as was used in the first New Orleans groups) they are the combination of all the percussive units used by the Southern blacks into one single instrument.
Let us examine the drums in their single parts:
The BASS DRUM is a percussive instrument without definite pitch, normally beaten by a stick that has a large, felt-covered knob on one end, while the other end is attached to a pedal controlled by the right foot. It is the same instrument used in brass bands parades; when it is worn around the neck it can also be played with regular drumsticks if a drum roll is required. Also a descendant of the traditional New Orleans brass bands are the CHARLESTONS, two superimposed metal plates which are also played by pedal.
DRUMSTICKS or BRUSHES are used to play one or two CYMBALS, large, slightly cupped brass disks which, when struck together loudly, produce a crashing, dramatic effect. DRUMSTICKS are also used to play SNARE DRUM, which is of military origin, and the TOM TOM, which is of African descent. The TOM TOM can also be played by beating the drum-head with the fingers and heel of the hand to accompany dancing. Other supplementary instruments such as the CASTANETS, COW-BELLS are also played with drumsticks.
In early jazz formations and in all New Orleans jazz, drums were used to rhythmically sustain the group; in other words, to furnish the beat. Particularly with the BASS DRUM playing the strong beats, the CHARLESTONS would follow on the weak beats and the other parts would more or less "fill in" depending on the player's ability by playing syncopation and off-beats. Rarely were the drums used as a solo instrument in New Orleans or traditional jazz bands; at the most, the drums would perform during a break, that is, a brief solo that filled in a pause left by the other melodic instruments between two stanzas or refrains. In jazz history the most important representatives of this "archaic" jazz style are considered to be Warren "Baby" Dodds (brother of the famous clarinet player Johnny Dodds) and Zutty Singleton; both can be heard on the historical recordings of the "Hot Five" and the "Hot Seven" where they played under Louis Armstrong.
During the "Swing" era the drums were somewhat modified and perfected (it was during the '30s that they assumed their standard and present form), thus requiring players to develop a more refined, sophisticated playing technique. In fact, during the "Swing" era the small groups that had made up the backbone of New Orleans and Chicago jazz moved momentarily into the background and attention was focused on the first big, commercial dance bands, then to small, experimental groups that consisted of trios and quartets. But while the New Orleans drummer had been accustomed to playing with musicians he knew personally and with them performed music with which he was completely familiar (and to whom he could therefore easily provide rhythmic support), during the '30s the drummer found himself in the new situation of having to work with a large number of musicians who played written music that had been selected for commercial reasons and was part of complicated orchestral arrangements. In addition, because of continuous changes in orchestral personnel, he seldom had time to familiarize himself with his fellow musicians. He was forced, by necessity, to adapt himself to the needs of the group on short notice, and it was not unusual for the band leader to expect an exceptionally long break during which the drummer had to demonstrate his particular virtuosity. Naturally the technical superiority of this generation of musicians thrived in small groups in which the drums and the melodic instruments were prominent. An example of two such outstanding drummers of the "Swing" era are Chick Webb and Gene Krupa.
Around and immediately following World War II there took place, gradually and not as suddenly as one is led to believe, a so-called "revolution". This initiated the "modern jazz" trend, to which the preceding jazz style was superimposed and called "traditional" jazz. While it would be impossible to analyze here all the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and timbric innovations created by modern jazz musicians, two considerations can be made about the drums. The first is that in modern jazz there is no longer any distinction between "melodic" and "accompanying" instruments, thus leveling to equal importance all instruments of the group, all with solo possibilities (just think of what a classic accompanying instrument, like the guitar, becomes in the hands of Charlie Christian!). The second is that while in traditional jazz the beat, i.e. the basic rhythmic scansion of a piece, offers the possibility of rhythm. However in modern jazz the beat is implicit and despite its prominence throughout an entire piece, whether solo or in a group, no instrument has the specific job of sustaining the others.
It is clear therefore that the drums have been given equal value to the other instruments, they are freed from the obligation they once had to rhythmically sustain an orchestra or group and in modern jazz find enormous expressive possibilities. The musician most responsible for giving the drums their prominence in this era was Kenny Clarke, and among his many followers were Shelley Manne and Max Roach, of completely different style but both with supreme technical skills.
The drums and pop music:
The introduction of drums in European pop music occurred at the same time as the transformation of dance bands and was conditioned by the popularity of jazz. In the first dance orchestras that offered American dance music in Europe (the fox-trot, one-step, and later the Charleston), the drummer often gave his name to entire group, which was called a "jazz band".
The pop music drummer, in general, was not just a pale image of his jazz colleagues. If he performed any virtuoso passages they were certainly not the result of an expressive need, but rather, well-calculated effects created by an arranger for purely commercial reasons. The drums in pop music were also liberated from their secondary role, however, in another change similar to that brought on by the modern jazz revolution. It was with rock 'n' roll and the experiments of the new American groups that followed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones that re-evaluated the possibilities of the drums in new forms of instrumental "sounds". They also added to the wealth of technical capacity and the actual physical make-up of the instruments from both Afro- Cuban origin (bongos) and classical music (tympani), as well as oriental instruments like the gong, Chinese bells, Korean blocks, etc…
No one better than Tullio De Piscopo could in this moment outline as cleany the rhythms of today in just as many clear, precise, and sensible renditions. He is a drummer in the complete sense of the word, not only in technique but in experience. De Piscopo knew how to be in the "Big band", in a trio or a quartet, how to accompany a jazz soloist, and how to be in a pop group. In the examples recorded on this record, Tullio wanted to play for young who want to pass on the world of today's music and that naturally have the technical and essential basics to grip (hold?) the drum sticks. Carefully following him we can have also some surprise and learn something that we never imagine to do so quickly. Let's do it!