Saturday, April 15, 2017

Very occasional quote of the day: Ndugu on musicality

“I think a drummer's success and notability are based on sensitivity as a musician—not as a drummer. I don't even approach myself as a drummer. I'm an orchestrator. The drums are just the instrument I use to orchestrate—paint the picture.

It is very important that you don't lull the people to sleep with one volume or one style. I think the great drummers are the ones who can give you peaks and valleys in their performance. That's very important. Dynamically we're playing an instrument that naturally can be played loud and hard, but the beauty of the instrument is when it's played soft. Just as you can get your point across loud, you can get it across more so soft because you can draw more attention, number one. Number two, dynamics and accentuations are part of music, period. For drummers to think that they can't do that means that they're not total musicians.

It's very important for drummers to vary not only their speed concept, but their volume concept, because those things are synonymous. If you play everything fast— your fill-ins, your beats, a lot of intricate things— you don't give the people time to breathe. If you play everything loud you don't give their ears rest from the volume, so you slowly numb people to what you're doing, which is unfair. So I think that's half of being a drummer. We're not at a point where anybody's playing anything so drastically different. It's just that the style they're using is different. That's all.”

—Ndugu Leon Chancler, Modern Drummer interview, November, 1983

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