Why this topic?
In the last years of my musical life as a drummer, I felt the need to expand my comping style, so that I could get more creative whiIe keeping time for other musicians and contribute more to the music. In 2018 I came across Will Vinson's album 'Live at Smalls'1 and I was captivated by Marcus Gilmore's2 comping on 'Stablemates'. It sounded so innovative and unusual to my ears, that I decided to investigate it, hoping that exploring something unknown to me would sparkle new ideas in my playing. During this process, I questioned myself if there were other examples of drummers who played in a similar style and therefore I decided to start a research based on this 'unconventional' style of comping.
Marcus' comping on stablemates has two basic characteristics: It is non-repetitive3 and not cymbal-oriented4.
The combination of these two characteristics makes it unique and unconventional compared to the 80-year-old jazz tradition5 of cymbal-based playing.
Are there drummers, before Marcus Gilmore, whose comping styles are non-repetitive & not-cymbal-oriented in the history of jazz? How can I study them and search for my own style of comping?
How I carried out my research
-I explored the discography6 of jazz from the 1920s until today and found recordings that connect with my topic.
-I selected 5 recordings, transcribed, and analyzed them.
-I had discussions about my research topic with my teachers and other musicians.
-I read articles, books and practiced drum-methods related to time, coordination and comping.
-I experimented in the practice room by myself.
-I created my own exercises to solve problems.
-I tried to apply things I learnt while playing with other musicians.