It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new technology, particularly if it is a brand new technology which has just been announced or released. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype and forget what is really important: how does it actually perform?
The really interesting part is that there are two different ways of performing. And it’s important to understand which one you want to use.
Pardon the pun, but it’s called “max roach driva man.” (I want to make sure I say this without any words being altered so that anyone who reads the translation can laugh at me; I don’t want them thinking I am making fun of anybody.)
The Best Drummers of All Time
This is the first topic in a series on the best drummers of all time. Since it’s the first, let me add a few words about why this is important and how to do it.
There’s a lot of stuff out there about drummers (and every other musician) and how to rate them and this is just one of those posts. There are probably millions of people who have written about drummers and how to rate them and there are certainly more who will do so in the future, but for now, I’m going to focus on myself:
1) I love drummers.
2) I am a drummer.
3) I enjoy talking about drummers.
4) I want to talk about drummers in depth because they are serious subjects that interest me. They are not just interesting because they make cool music, they also make cool people, they have great lives outside music, they lead interesting lives, etc., etc., etc., etc.
5) My friends who aren’t musicians either aren’t interested or don’t know enough to understand them (you can find these kinds of people online). So please keep an eye out for stuff that doesn’t fit my interests that you think is particularly awesome or useful or whatever but – as always – be thoughtful about what you write!
What Makes a Good Drummer?
Max Roach, Drummer for the Grateful Dead and one of the most influential figures in rock music, once said: “My drumming is my religion. I’m very good at it. I have something to say and I have a certain way with words.”
Sound and rhythm are at the heart of what makes music so powerful and memorable, but there is a lot more to it than that. The human nervous system responds to rhythm cues in four ways: auditory, somatic, olfactory and gustatory (gustatory means taste). These four sensations are triggered by different frequencies or pitches and are combined in different combinations at different times, so they trigger different reactions in our brain.
These reactions form patterns called rhythms which can be used to set musical parameters or as musical templates for improvisation.
Famous Jazz Drummers
Writing this post was a lot harder than I expected and I should have stuck to my guns. But please, just because it’s all too hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.
It is often said that the best way to get a musician to do something he or she hates is to pay him or her a lot of money. It’s true. But what if you could actually convince the musician that you were actually interested in the music? What if you paid the musician enough money to make him or her think they were going to be able to sell their music for billions? If you think this is actually possible, then we have a problem.
There are many great drummers out there who are utterly dedicated musicians, full of rhythm and life, but who just don’t want to be famous for it (you know what I mean). They would rather make art for their own enjoyment than for the sake of being famous. This idea is not new: Ludwig van Beethoven famously said he wouldn’t become a famous composer; George Harrison used drugs so his friends would take pictures with him (which made them think he was famous) and so on.
But musicians can also be very talented at marketing themselves too…and some can sell their music like no one else can. The late Max Roach is one example: out of all the great drummers out there, he was probably the most marketable … even though his albums are virtually impossible (to listen to) on any modern device…
Roach was born in 1951 in Kenya and came from an incredibly musical family: his father played piano, his mother played jazz organ and his grandfather played saxophone. His grandfather had even been heavily involved in black music in the musical circles where they lived before they moved from Nairobi to Los Angeles, where he ended up playing with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie before moving onto Lou Donaldson’s big band Orchestra One . He made sure Max got a good grounding in these traditions too – but Max learned about them through his father instead of through school books as most kids did at that time: “My dad told me about Charlie Parker playing ‘You’re A Sweet Thing’ and ‘I Can’t Get Started’ when I was 4[…] He told me about how Gillespie played those big band arrangements from tempo down into slow tempos […] My dad gave me some books on the history of jazz
As a developer, you are not likely to be the only person using a particular software product. But you will probably be one of a small minority that is using it to do something very specific. You are that minority that will be using it for its unique purpose and it will be the only thing you do with it.
I’m sure there is some utility in making your product something else besides what you want to use it for, but if your product is aimed at other developers or businesses than you, there is no true benefit in doing so.
As much as this may seem like a negative statement, I think we’re being overly critical of ourselves as developers when we focus on our own use cases. A developer needs to consider all of the benefits and consequences of their choices in their decision-making process, not just how they feel like they’d like them to work out (and then waste time trying to convince themselves they actually want them).