Name: Pauls Pokratnieks
Main subject: Jazz Drums
Research Coach: Yvonne Smeets
Title of Research: “Art of drumming within jazz piano trio”
How can I through historical and stylistic understanding of jazz drummers in significant piano trios during jazz history, improve my skill as an interactive trio member?
What are the differences and similarities in drummers playing within significant jazz piano trios during the history of jazz? What are the characteristics of these great jazz piano trios? How can understanding of these differences, similarities and characteristics help me to react appropriately in different musical situations and combinations?
Summary of Results:
As I remember myself jazz piano trio was always my favorite band format in jazz music. I like the simplicity of it and in the same time the magic how great players could get it to sound like an orchestra. Especially in this band format we can see how great musicians are as listeners and supportive players, there is a much bigger role and responsibility for everyone to make the music interesting and happening than in bigger settings. Individual levels are equally important because every one of the musicians can choose directions where the music will go. Music is really about collective improvisation and truly listening to each other. This “platform” is great to explore dynamics, interaction and to become as a one – a great rhythm section.
After listening to all these albums and analyzing what the drummer chooses to play I understood that it’s not just the drummer’s personality that counts, but big impact to drummers decisions are what the other two band members are doing and suggesting in music. One needs always listen to each other and go one way musically. One’s job within jazz trio setting is to make other musicians sound good and make their job easier and more comfortable. This setting is really fragile and it can work only if each member of trio is working towards the same goal. In different jazz styles the basic fundament of drummer is the same – to keep music going with nice feel and energy.
During my presentation I will show and explain how I applied specific exercises/concepts in my playing and I will perform with my own jazz piano trio to show different ways, approaches to play within this setting in different styles, with knowledge gained from this research.
Pauls Pokratnieks is jazz and other improvised music style drummer and composer.
Up until the age of 18 he actively performed in various local and international orchestras as a classical percussion player and took first prizes in competitions. At the age of 16 Pauls began to play a drum set and first developed an interest in jazz music. At the age of 18 he enrolled in the Riga Dome Choir School (RDCS) in the Jazz department, and there started to deeply study drums, jazz theory, harmony, bass, composition and other subjects. After graduating RDCS in 2009 Pauls decided to continue his music studies in Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands. Now he is doing Master studies in Royal Conservatory in The Hague and working as freelance musician and teacher.