Saturday, July 28, 2018

Jazz at Lincoln Center looking for a drummer

This is entertaining: Wynton Marsalis's Jazz at Lincoln Center has posted an ad seeking a new drummer. It's mostly realistic, though very high, standards for a jazz drummer working a top-level gig. Maybe it's 15% Marsalisian... I don't want to say BS, but many of the things he lists do not call for dramatically different playing styles, and the list of Latin styles seems slightly padded. Like I've never even heard of Corinho. But we can generally take the ad as a sort of doctrinal statement of what a jazz drummer is supposed to know, according to the JALC camp:

Open Position: Drummer
The Drummer of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra should have a personal, charismatic playing style and approach, and also must EMBRACE the role of the drums as engine of the rhythm section and as defacto conductor of the orchestra.

The drummer must be willing to study scores in order to color and punctuate arrangements like a percussion section as well as execute an unprecedented variety of rhythms/grooves in metronomic time with soulful feeling and gravitas.

Must understand and embrace JALC’s mission and be willing to serve as a representative of the organization.

Technical Requirements
Must be able to play different types of Blues shuffles and grooves at all tempos and handle the principal rhythms of all American vernacular music:

Country Western
American Popular Song
Must be able to improvise with an identifiable and uniquely personal approach in the vocabularies of all primary jazz movements:

New Orleans
Jazz Age: Hot & Sweet
Swing Era and Riff Style Swing
Post-Bop: Cool and Hard Bop
'60's Blue Note Style
All Eras of Ellingtonia
Avant Garde and Odd Meters
Afro-Latin Styles
Must understand the rhythm section concept introduced by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and Septet in the '80's and early '90's, and must know the style and tradition of the JLCO.

The drummer must have identifiable sound and conception of the drum set, consistent metronomic and grooving feel, velocity, dynamic control, mastery of different ways of accompanying and interacting with soloist and the ability to play in balance (intensity without volume).

Must exhibit knowledge of swinging at all tempos.

Must have great cymbal beat (referencing the following styles: Billy Higgins, Mel Lewis, Sam Woodyard).

Must exhibit knowledge in performance of small group Jazz ensemble styles:
Independence on the drum kit (Max Roach 4 limb exercise)
Masterful use of brushes and mallets.
Must exhibit mastery of basic grooves in Jazz:
New Orleans 2-groove
Hi-Hat Swing
Church 2-groove
Modern 2-groove
4/4 Swing
Must exhibit mastery in big band drumming styles:

Swing Style
West Coast
Must exhibit masterful knowledge and application in Afro-Latin music by playing and enhancing the following rhythms:

Soca (Martinique)
Bossa Nova

Must exhibit knowledge and the ability to incorporate 40 PAS rudiments.

Must be able to play tambourine (in a sanctified church vernacular and western classical style).

Must be able to improvise in the Jazz vocabulary of all major styles.

Must be able to follow a conductor, as well as to conduct an ensemble from the kit.

Must have excellent reading skills and the ability to decipher and interpret music styles and genres with verbal instruction and chord changes on sight.

Must be able and willing to lead and to participate in educational events while on tour and in New York City.

Must be open to and capable of learning new music and new ways of playing in a short period of time.

Repertoire Requirements
Must have the ability to perform knowledgeably in the styles of and in all periods of the following ensembles:

Fletcher Henderson
Duke Ellington (1920s until his death)
King Oliver
Don Redman
Benny Moten
Louis Armstrong's Hot 5's and 7's
Benny Goodman
Jean Goldkette
Count Basie
Woody Herman
Jimmie Lunceford
Billy Eckstine
Dizzy Gillespie
Miles Davis
John Coltrane
Dave Brubeck
Gerry Mulligan
Ornette Coleman
Tito Puente
Thelonious Monk
Charles Mingus
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis
Wynton Marsalis

Personal Requirements
Must be prepared for vigorous tour/performance scheduling, as the orchestra is annually required to tour locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Must be willing to be collaborative in the rhythm section.

Must be able to work quickly and handle the strain, pressures, and challenges of performing live and/or recording in a variety of high-pressure settings.

Must be confident and humble enough to accept criticism in working towards perpetual improvement.

Must understand, interpret, and contribute to the Artistic Director's developing vision of Orchestral Jazz.

Must know the tradition of the chair and be as consistent and keenly accurate as the standard that has been set for the past 27 years by Herlin Riley and Ali Jackson.

Additional Experience
Candidates with skills and experience in composing/arranging that will expand our capability and musical vision are preferred. Must be able to write a big band arrangement on two week's notice. Final decisions on submissions of such compositions/arrangements for scheduled programs are at the sole discretion of the Artistic Director.


Ted Warren said...

I just skimmed the actual application, but I think he wants 3 of the recorded examples to be on tambourine! What, no washboard?

Todd Bishop said...

I think he already knows who he wants and he's just fucking with us.