On Friday, May 08, 2009, Jazz elder Clive Zanda paid a visit to Satchmo’s on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. The Clive Zanda Trio for this gig was Peter Shim, self-described on-call drummer sitting in for Richard Joseph, who was on duty with Élan Parlé, and bassist Russel Durity.
Peter submitted the following first-person account to the Woodshed:
It was a blast drumming for Clive at Satchmo’s.
Peter swears by Zildjian 6″ & 10″ Splashes, 14′ & 16″ Fast Crashes and the 20″ K Custom Dark Dry Ride
He opened with a 12 bar blues improv, which morphed into a ‘straight-ahead’ jazz swing and back again.
The thing I love about Zanda is that he never plays a song ‘verbatim’ so to speak. A ‘Zanderization’ occurs…he goes left, I follow…add to the stream…now I’m asking for it…Zanda Time.
Zanda will take a song through a myriad of rhythmic expressions, be it Kaiso, Afro-Latin, Blues-shuffle, Samba and so on. The reward for me is creating a ‘feel’ with the elements given to me by the other musicians. A cohesiveness occurs, an aural power manifests and everyone gets pulled into its vortex – adding, changing, creating. This is definitely where I love being.
The core of my drumming is based on rock, Blues, Jazz, Electric Jazz, Latin, Samba, World Beat [which comprises of a plethora of different expressions], kaiso/soca…and growing. Creating a rhythmic pallet for Clive and Russel Durity (bass), is always rewarding. The experience is always happiness and celebration.
Each meeting becomes a joyful mess, organized naturally – a sometimes strange utopia of direct democracy in motion. The musical concoction is always pervasive, rewarding the audience to the bone.
The patrons were a small group, but everyone sat or stood close to the band bathing in the experience, and at the end of each song responded delightfully with applause and shouts of praise.
I sometimes go to Satchmo’s on a Friday night to get a play. Clive lets me have 3 or 4 songs. For me it’s a kind of blessing. The work is sparse in T’dad., not many Jazz Clubs, and don’t have a group to call my own…as yet. So t’was a really good Friday night at Satchmo’s with Clive and Russel…was no big, big crowd…but they were ours.
I recall in the 90′s, I was offered opportunities to sit in with senior local Jazz musicians at a basement club at the Queen’s Park Hotel [which has since been demolished]. The club was graced by the presence of Clive Zanda, Mervin DeGannes, Ralph Davies and many more. There I was indoctrinated on the ways of Classic Jazz; a tough road for a pop and samba drummer.
Later on I would spend a year at the Hilton Hotel’s ‘La Boucan’ restaurant with Jazz balladeer and pianist Felix Roach and later on local soft-jazz group ‘Nite Life’. In between all that I took in the likes of Chic Corea, Yellow Jackets, to call a few. Mainly though, I was listening to the modern interpretation by the ‘now’ drummers at their approach to the Classic Jazz songs as well as the new creations.
The hybridization which has taken place in the jazz genre is what has drawn me in so completely…It’s like ‘let’s see what next we can create’. I was so infused in the music Friday night that when the gig was over I asked “really? are we done? It seemed like minutes not hours. Being in that moment…time does not exist when you’re having fun like that.
Drummer on call…
Zanda changed company on Tuesday, May 12 for an assault on a repertoire of Jazz Standards, Folk music and Calypso at The Corner Bar on Ariapita Avenue. He was not the leader of that band though; Sean Thomas was.
Drummer Thomas of St. Jazz Inc. Ltd. invited Zanda to be the guest of honour for ‘A Spiritual Journey Through Jazz‘ with a trio outing at The Corner from 10:00 pm to midnight Tuesday 12. Douglas Reddon was the one thumping the ‘Low’ (I just wanted to talk like our French friends do for a moment).
This trio match-up makes sense, if you ask me. Zanda needs all the help he can get promoting the recently reissued Dat kinda Thing that has compositions in there like the Kaiso-Jazz standard Fancy Sailor and Fever.
Peter Shim, Trinidad’s premier “starving on call drummer” hung out again with compatriot Clive Zanda at Satchmo’s on June 05. Peter packed his “choice cast bronze cymbals” for the gig and came away with the following impression:
As usual, Clive was his creative self…
I see him steering over the grand. He’s playing a flurry of notes and chords.
Now please understand, I can’t read nor interpret music; I can’t technically tell chordal or tonal expression; I learned everything I know by ear. But I understand everything. This ability has somehow enabled me to express myself musically on drums – in any musical environment.
So, as I was saying, Clive is searching, feeling. Russell Durity [bass] begins to feel the direction Clive is going in. This thing grows into a 4/4 Jazz swing, but a lot looser, if you know what I mean.
I’m not holding a typical ride and hi-hat pattern. I’m just using spaces in between 7/8 interspersed with 6/8 measures.
Clive loves to take chances. This is greatly spurred on by his participants. With greater understanding of the direction, there’s reciprocation and things only get higher…and a piece has just been written.
Zanda created three improvs that way.
After some renditions of old Calypso standards, bossas/sambas and a break, the master begins to feel another vibe. That rhythm is basically a 12/8 Afro type rhythm. Russell and I enter the fold in 1/4 then 1/2 measures until the piece is in full tilt.
During the performance, I’m able to place 3/4, 6/8, 7/8 and basic 4/4 measures thus creating intricate musical landscapes. We visited many musical cultures that way. It started out in a basic African sensibility. Then I introduced a back beat in the measure, pushed it forward, pulled it short, changed it around and then held the timing.
It’s very hard to talk drums being that the measures are just numbers, but it’s the sub-divisions that really add to the feel of the pattern. Playing with the palette of music that surrounded my senses, I was given an immeasurable amount of freedom to express my musicality on the drum kit…as a drummer. It’s what I thrive on.
On the pieces Clive instigated, a few of the close listeners asked, “What’s the name of the number?” to which Clive replied, “Made Up.” Nothing more was asked of any new piece knowing right off what the answer would be. I asked him about that later and he said they were “Extempo” – one and two, I suppose.
Clive Zanda sometimes creates his music pieces on those nights and that was the one night a recorder was not present. It was epic though. I guess one had to be there to experience it.
This was the best fun I have ever had. Satchmo’s was Fantastic.
Well Minchie, since the Zanda experience - he’d stopped playing for a while; Russel Durity, the bassist said he had some health thing he’s attending to - no calls. Marlon Jones from San Fernando [South] had contacted me for assistance in doing a CD with some music he’d written so we got together, Marlon (he plays bass), Christian Dopson [guitar] and I did some rehearsals at ‘Alice Yard’ for some months.
Then we went to Roger Israel’s studio to put down tracks. He then included another guitarist, Roger DeFreitas, and a bassist, Marcus Rojas, because Marlon wants to concentrate on singing and Marcus is a way better bassist. Great…or so I thought.
We then had serious internal upheavals. There were accusations of incompetence and musical class; it was quite something.
Marlon and I tried to calm things down to no avail. The “three musketeers” belittled each other with personal messages on Facebook after doing the same in the band room.
I’m going to be 60 years in September. I’ve been doing this since I was 14. I thought I was in the twilight zone. I never had to experience this personally…EVER. I only heard about this kind of thing from other people. So I looked at Marlon and said I don’t need this. I won’t be part of an association with that kind of vibe.
I was one month going when Marlon called begging to continue the project. He assured me that all the bad feelings had been sorted out…riiiiight! [I thought]. Two rehearsals later, it ended.
Anyway, Marlon and I are in studio creating. He still invites the others to participate, but with mixed results.
The songs we had already done [8 or so] have not, however, taken precedence. Stuff Marlon had thought of in the past has come the forefront. So…with no great bassist and guitars, I’m now the go-to guy. You see, I covered those instruments in my early years.
I’m born of Beatles, Hendrix, Clapton, Led Zep, James Taylor, Crosby Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell and so on. I’m in the process of exercising those old muscles…painful but pleasantly interesting.
Please note that the first instrument I played in a band was drums. But I fooled around [convincingly] with guitar and bass. I was recruited by a few bands for those very skills. Here I am now.
Sometimes, someone approaches me and says “Hey! you might not remember me…but you are the reason I’m playin’ the guitar. I followed you guys where ever you played just to hear you. You had a great sound“. They are much older and some have kids, been married etc. That somehow makes it worth being around.
It’s too late to want to be a professional musician – just wasn’t in the cards. But when I hold a guitar or sticks, it’s everything to me. That’s why I’m here.
drummer on call…Peter swears by Zildjian 6″ & 10″ Splashes, 14′ & 16″ Fast Crashes and the 20″ K Custom Dark Dry Ride