Name: Marios Spyrou
Main Subject: Jazz Drums
Research Supervisor: Jarmo Hoogendijk
Title of Research: The Philly Joe Jones Rudimental Soloing Style
How can classical exercises be incorporated into jazz improvisations and still sound spontaneous, creative and true to the jazz drumming idiom?
Summary of Results:
Before starting this research at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, I was not so aware as how to express myself and phrase on the drum set. By studying the history of the instrument, I have found out that all the great jazz drummers have adopted and incorporated the 26 American drum rudiments in their playing, which include several sticking patterns “borrowed” from the classical music and the Swiss Army drum corps. These rudiments are like scales for melodic – instrument players, who have to practice and know them very well in order to gain technique and express themselves on their instruments. The same applies to drummers using these 26 sticking patterns. While I was listening to the great jazz drummers, I discovered that a perfect example for this is Philly Joe Jones. You can clearly hear in his soloing that he is using these rudiments in his own unique way, making them sound swinging and therefore adopting them into the bebop drumming. I therefore decided to take Philly Joe as my main “model” for this research. I started transcribing his solos and analyzing his phrasing, making my own variations and phrases based on this rudimental approach. My final result is that I can know phrase on the drums and express myself freely whenever I have to take a solo, without copying or playing standard phrases from jazz drummers like I used to do in the past, while still sounding authentic and true to the jazz drumming style.
Marios Spyrou was born in Nicosia in 1990. He was inspired by from an early age by his father, who is also a jazz drummer. At the age of 19 he enrolled in University of Nicosia from where he graduated. There he met the great Cypriot saxophonist Charis Ioannou and started being interested in Jazz music. He attended the Bicommunal Jazz Program seminars in Cyprus led by the great New York Jazz virtuosos Ari Roland, Chris Byars and other well-known Jazz musicians. While attending these seminars, Marios was influenced by the jazz drummer Keith Balla who introduced him into the world of bebop style. In 2015 he moved to The Hague, where he is currently studying with the legendary jazz drummer Eric Ineke. On May 2015 he won the second price of the 1st Apollon Jazz competition in Greece with the Cypriot jazz band BopCy.