Saturday, July 06, 2024

Transcription: Dannie Richmond - Straight, No Chaser

For my man Michael Griener in Berlin, some more Dannie Richmond, this time with Bennie Wallace, playing Straight No Chaser, by Thelonious Monk of course. From the 1981 album Bennie Wallace Plays Monk, on the Enja label. I transcribed the section where he plays duo with Wallace.

His playing here is very similar to some things we talk about on the site— you can see here what I meant calling him a modern player, in a way that clearly evolved on the gig, a la Roy Haynes or Mel Lewis, rather than in the practice room. 

It's a good natural example of the right hand lead thing, or “non-independent” playing— driven by the cymbal and bass drum, in broken, syncopated rhythms, with the snare drum filling in. Contrast that with a real grounded bebop kind of playing, with a steady cymbal and hihat rhythm, independent left hand, with bass drum feathering and making punctuations.   

Generally he'll lean into beats 2 and 4, often ending measures and phrases on the & of 4, rarely landing strongly on the 1. A lot of it is phrased in syncopated three beat ideas, usually contained within two measure phrases. 

The transcription begins at 2:35 in the track, and they play five 12-bar choruses before the band comes back in. The tempo is quarter note = 238—  a number deserving of some kind of special status, because I see it a lot. Seems to be about the bottom fast tempo. A good first number to have in mind when learning to play faster tempos.  

I notated three cymbals here, but it hardly matters. There is probably more snare drum activity than I was able to hear— he plays it very softly at times. It's also hard to hear the hihat for much of it, and I gave up on including it part way in. Where I did write it, it seems significant to the way he's phrasing that passage. 

I may do some further analysis of this— there are clearly some emergent rubadub type patterns in there, and some kind of Reed system to be gleaned from it.   

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1 comment:

Michael Griener said...

Todd, thank you for this; I love this record.
Bennie Wallaca is also really underrated.
This was recorded right around the time I saw him play.
So of course you can use the photo.
I just listened to Mingus' Right Now: Live at the Jazz Workshop on the way home after the gig last night, and Dannie's playing on it is just so amazing. It doesn't get any more modern and musical for me.
You can really tell that he actually learned the instrument on the gig because he was a sax player before he joined Mingus and Mingus actually trained him on what he wanted in a drummer.
And he has a great technique, just try to play these super fast 12/8 things like he does all the time.
By the way, the pianist on that record is Jane Getz, who was just a underage teenage girl at the time, playing with the big dogs without much rehearsal.
I can't believe how good she is, catching all of Mingus' ideas.
You really have to read her biography "Running with the big dogs" to get a sense of how tough life was for jazz musicians in the sixties.
Great read!
Again, never enough praise for Dannie Richmond!