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Something I’ve seen/heard more times than I can count: Young drummers who rattle off a list of the names of the masters (Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin, Tony Williams, Philly Joe, etc.) when asked who their favorite drummers are as a way to virtue signal to others that they “know the history”. 


Do you really know anything that any of those people played? And beyond that, do you understand anything about the spirit that the masters embodied? Not just the notes, do you understand what they’re DOING? What they championed? What they fought for? What they lived by? 


The ancestors did not live and give us a new world for their names to become synonymous with performative hipness and for their musical contributions to be distilled down to the most understandable licks that they played. 


You should study the greatest drummers because YOU love them, not because you think you’re supposed to love them.


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