Dreams of drummers, in the beginning was the beat

It is under the patronage of John Henry Bonham, known as Bonzo, legendary drummer of the group Led Zepplin and his fiery riffs in Moby-Dick, the most famous piece of the group that we are going to place our program dedicated to the drums. After the trumpet, the organ, the bassoon or the clarinet, let’s tackle one of the most modest but oh so central instruments in modern music, the drums. This instrument is practiced by figures of musicians and musicians who are most often discreet or even modest, although we owe them certain major developments in 20th century music, all genres combined. Formalized at the beginning of the century somewhere in New Orleans, the modern drum set is obviously the recipient of a thousand-year-old percussive tradition.

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, undated image
John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, undated image

-Jeffrey Mayer

The immense Art Blackey

Art Backey and his jazz men, the messengers of jazz is an eminently political group that will establish the place of the drummer as an essential musician, like the one who plays the rhythm. Will be launched musical movements that will change everything in jazz and rhythm, bi-bop then hard bop. From the original matrix of drums: bass drum, snare drum and cymbals, entire generations of drummers will write history by adding instruments, modifying the system itself, but also and above all by modifying the role of this instrument. in the composition of music. Art Backley is essential in this process. When he approaches the drums it is with the spirit of a soloist. He is influenced by African percussions which have no difficulty in occupying the first place. He founded his group in 1919 in Pittsburgh and remained its leader. Art Blackey leads his ensemble in such a way as to support the breath of the phrases and revive the chorus. He is one of the pioneers of bi-bop, this often very fast tempo style based on dynamic phrases and very rich harmonic grids. Backley will influence jazz drummers as much as jazzmen as he contributes, in 30 years of career, to launch immense musicians like Wayne Shorter or Kieth Jarret.


Percussionist Art Blakey in his apartment in New York, 1979
Percussionist Art Blakey in his apartment in New York, 1979


Musical references and archives:

  • Led Zeppelin, Moby-Dick
  • Jack DeJohnette and Foday Mosa Suso, OceanWave (2007)
  • Archive: The drummer George Paczynski made a demonstration, in the program “batterie à fleurs de peau”, drums and rhythm, France Culture, 1992
  • Art Blackey, No problem
  • Archive: Tony Allen on Art Blackeyin the show Some territories of jazz”France Culture, 2015
  • Tony Allen for Fela Kuti and Africa 70, dog eat dog
  • Archive : André Ceccarelli on the chabada in an interview for MrMusicalitis on Youtube.
  • Elvin Jones for John Coltrane, Favorite Things
  • Charlie Watts for The Rolling Stones, Paint it Black
  • Archive : Cindy Blackman on the Berklee College of Music show on Youtube
  • Cindy Blackman, Santana drum solo (live in mexico) 2014
  • Karen Carpenter (drums & vocals) at The Carpenters, All I can do
  • Phil Selway for Radiohead, PyramidSong
  • Terry Bozio for Frank Zappa, The black page drumsolo

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Dreams of drummers, in the beginning was the beat

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