Sunday, September 23, 2018

Daily best music in the world: Ronald Shannon Jackson with Albert Ayler

Ronald Shannon Jackson playing with Albert Ayler on the Live at Slug's Saloon album, recorded in 1966. Jackson wasn't recorded a lot at this stage of his career, and it's really interesting to hear him do the same relentless rolling thing we heard him do on a giant Sonor set in the 80s. Clearly he's more technically able than some other avant-garde drummers of the period— people who may have been going for an emotional intensity that was beyond their capabilities. Jackson also has a stronger sense of pulse than most of them— it's like listening to a mediocre bass player with weak harmonic sense play this music (another common situation), and then listening to Gary Peacock play it. It's like oh, this guy is playing off a pulse. He's a real drummer.

Jackson plays with real power, and he's obviously a strong listener. It reminds me a lot of Jack Dejohnette playing avant-garde. There's just a different quality when a real technically and musically able drummer does this kind of thing. There's more energy and more evident creativity happening; more melodic awareness.

He is awesome playing with Cecil Taylor a dozen years later, too. Cecil can be kind of punishing to me; Jackson humanizes him.


Michael Griener said...

Thank you. Made me pull out his Modern Drummer feature from March 1984, probably the one that made you buy Paiste Rudes. He was a strong influence on me for a while and I regret that I never told him while he was still alive.

Todd Bishop said...

Such a great interview-- I excerpted it here, for anyone else interested.

I hadn't listened to this Slug's record before-- it's pretty remarkable, just for Jackson. I've listened to a lot of Ayler in the past, but kind of gave up on having any drumming interest in it, beyond Sunny's basic thing.