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Number of posts : 137
Registration date : 2006-09-11

PostSubject: Your Perspective   Thu 14 Sep 2006 - 17:16

Mr. Coleman,

I have always felt that Smitty Smith provided you with the greatest amount of flexibility to traverse the widest range of music that you had created to the point of his departure. Do you believe that if his interest held true to your new direction that he could have played in a manner to which would have met your satisfaction on through to your most current set of music?

I ask this question because I believe that Smitty is the single most gifted drummer that I’ve ever heard. “Turbulence” and “Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” would be two of my examples to demonstrate my point, not to mention the incredible percussive phrasing in “One Bright Morning”. His ability to understand the emotion and quality of the compilation is phenomenal.

Please forgive me if this is an unfair question to ask. I realize there were reasons far beyond my knowledge as to explain the staff change.

Thank you, Sir.


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Number of posts : 20
Registration date : 2006-09-28

PostSubject: Re: Your Perspective   Thu 28 Sep 2006 - 2:00

What's up Scott,

Of course you know that Smitty is an incredible musician. I don't quite see things the way you see it, for me each person brings something unique to the table. The drummer that I am mostly working with now is Tyshawn Sorey and he has many of the same kind of talent that Smitty possesses. But their styles are very different, Tyshawn is much more experimental in his temperament. But Tywhan and Smitty share the same kinds of abilities. I have never given any music or concept to either of them that they could not play immediately.

Also have you heard Smitty's own recordings? I ask this because so much of what you hear a musician play is also due to that musician's response to the musical concept and musical situation. I asked Smitty to do some things when we played together in my group (or in Dave Holland's) that he normally did not get to display in other situations.

In Tyshawn's case he normally plays already in very adventurous groups, so he was there in that space already before I met him.

They both provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of the range of music that they can deal with. This does not mean they had it all, no one does. Other drummers like Gene Lake, Sean Rickman, Dafnis Prieto and Marcus Gilmore each brought something unique to the music. Marcus and Dafnis also are very complete musicians and very good with rhythmic concepts. Gene and Sean have more of a popular music base but they also are very flexible.

As far as the music itself, I also see this differently. I don't focus on individual songs, CDs, concerts etc. For me I look at the enitre path that I or another musician is on. The music is a symbolic langugage for me, something more than 'entertainment', so I am trying at any given moment, within my curretn abilities, musical vocabulary and the scope of my vision, to tell a story with the music. I am not looking at it like this is better than that. And I am always looking to expand my vocabulary and expand what I am trying to say.

I'm not sure if I answered the question, but let me know if I've been unclear.
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Number of posts : 137
Registration date : 2006-09-11

PostSubject: Re: Your Perspective   Thu 28 Sep 2006 - 22:35

Much thanks to Dimitri for setting up this site so that folks like me could actually entertain dialog with the likes of folks such as you. Incredible, really. It is most honorable to for you engage in dialog with us; thank you!

I’m quite interested in Tyshawn now that you’ve given him a good comparison with Smitty. I’ll have to talk to the “financial committee” (my wife) and pick up your latest music.

“Also have you heard Smitty's own recordings?”

Yes, there were a few years when all I did was hunt down his music and bought all that I could. Out of all the music that I had bought of his, I felt that I heard his best music with Kevin Eubanks, Lonnie Liston Smith’s tribute music to Hendrix and especially the work with Cornelius Claudio Kreusch and the Dave Holland music. Of course, my thoughts of these being his “better works” is subjective, as that work appealed to my ears while it may not to others.

“I ask this because so much of what you hear a musician play is also due to that musician's response to the musical concept and musical situation.”

Exactly, and this is what I believe separates you from most music groups today. You’re quote above is essentially what I tell people about your music as I introduce their ears to your “music”. I also tell people that you create ideas, images and experiences in the form of pitch, or vibration, that you have masterfully been able to write music in such a way that allows the others around to you fully explore and meet face to face their full potential.

As I listen to Smitty’s other work, I don’t hear the same sense of playing from him, as if his best years were when playing with the Five Elements groups. In fact, I hear more confidence in his playing during his stint with Five Elements than I do with the other groups, though his work with Kreusch comes close, I suppose.

“As far as the music itself, I also see this differently. I don't focus on individual songs, CDs, concerts etc.”

I think I understand what you are saying, and I would agree. However, I was suggesting that there are specific moments, or compilations within our music set that allow us to demonstrate the depth of our abilities. I have recordings that demonstrate my ability to sit back and fill the drum pocket, and I also have other recordings that show that I am able to react and respond according to what others are playing. These would be unplanned moments where all musicians operate as a single unit, guided by nothing other than feeling and emotion itself. To this day, I still ask myself how I was able to play such an unplanned rhythm or drum part, as I’d have a hard time playing the very same thing to this day.

Steve, thank you so much for your amazing efforts and your willingness to express what you are doing. Listening to your music for the last ten to fifteen years has forever changed how I view what the world calls music.



BTW: Yes, you answered the question. Awesome.
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