Monday, November 24, 2014

Erskine on Whiplash!

If you don't know your subject well enough
to convey the real emotion of it, there's always this. 
This is fun— they've interviewed Peter Erskine in re: the new smash sensation amazingly great jazz drumming education movie which is sweeping the nation, Whiplash:

Have you ever encountered an educator like JK Simmons's band director character before?

I've played under the baton of stern and demanding conductors, as well as the critical ears of some pretty tough bandleaders. I've always experienced equal amounts of praise and criticism from the toughest of them.

That's been my experience as well, more or less— the toughness is often balanced with something else, not necessarily praise. This comment from Erskine is very significant:

I'm disappointed that any viewer of the film will not see the joy of music-making that's almost always a part of large-ensemble rehearsals and performances. Musicians make music because they LOVE music. None of that is really apparent in the film, in my opinion.

He has some similar complaints to the ones I made about the movies early promo stuff:

What did you think of Teller's performance as a drummer?

It's a movie, and the actor did a good job. The drummer(s) who did the pre-record did a very fine job. Teller is a good actor. He's a so-so drummer: his hands are a mess in terms of technique, holding the sticks, etc., and no true fan of Buddy Rich would ever set up his or her drums in the manner that Teller's character does in the film. A 10" tom? Highly-angled? With a crash cymbal at that angle? Nope, doesn't wash. Besides, that "winning" drum solo performance at the end of the film is a very passé sort of thing. If the film takes place "now," any drummer playing like that at a competitive jazz festival --especially one in New York City -- would get a cymbal thrown at their feet by the ghost of Papa Jo Jones, or I'd do it for him. Now I know how professional photographers must feel when they see an actor portraying a scene like a photo shoot where the photographer never bothers to focus any of the shots he or she is taking.

Do go read the entire interview. H/T to Mike Prigodich for the link.

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