Now that’s what I call keeping time

Well, I’ve finished the last bit of fire related business for me here in Pendleton.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I moved to the UK, a lot of my old stuff that I didn’t need on a daily basis stayed in the old office, and most got cooked in the fire. A very few boxes of things- mostly CDs (or CD boxes) and LPs made it out, and I finally had time to day to pack up the usuable stuff to send home.

At the bottom of one box was a cheap digital clock I bought at a 2nd hand shop for $.75 in 1997 because a room I was rehearsing in that week didn’t have a clock and I didn’t want to keep the orchestra late (I can’t wear watches).

Anyway, I used to keep it in my briefcase for ages for similar situations, then retired it when I got to the GRSO in 1999. It floated around my flat for three years, getting used as a proper alarm in the guest room and so on, and occasionally getting taken on trips when I remembered it. When I moved in 2002, I was sure I’d tossed it- after all, it was just a cheap, ugly little piece of junk….

Anyway, at the bottom of a box of soot covered CDs this afternoon, there it was…. Still keeping perfect time- four years after I last looked at it. I now fear this clock and will never betray it again. All hail the clock! The clock is good! All hail the clock, the clock is good!!!!

I also found some tapes that I’d given up for lost- old recital things and the only known recording of Slanted Glance, my very first band. One of the members is now deceased, so it meant a great deal to find it, although I doubt I can listen to it now….

Travis has asked for my 10 must have recordings. That’s a tough one- I’m going to work on it for a couple of days. Meanwhile, here is my list of 10 favorite drummers of all time (in no particular order).

1-       The guy playing timpani on the Celibidache/Munich Phil film of Bruckner 8. He’s possessed!

2-       Mitch Mitchell (from the Jimi Hendrix Experience). Definitely the most underated rock drummer in history. 

3-       Tony Williams. His playing on Four and More (and he was only 17) changed my life

4-       Elvin Jones. The ultimate modern jazz drummer.

5-       John Bonham. The best sound and feel in rock history 

6-       Max Roach. Perfection and poetry

7-       Clyde Stubblefield. The only person on this list I’ve worked with. Played guitar briefly in a jazz group in Madison with him. He is the funky drummer

8-       Evelyn Glennie. When I first heard of her, I thought it must be a crossover gimick- hot, barefoot, deaf percussionist? Well she is hot, but also one of the best performers on any instrument I know. 

9-       Chester Thompson (for his work with Zappa, not Genesis). The Helsinki Concert is the best post-rock drumming I’ve ever heard. My favorite of Zappa’s many great drummers because he had the virtuosity and the sophistication, but also a much funkier, more interesting feel and sound than any of the others. 

10-     Art Blakey. A force of nature. Albums like Free for all and Indestructable re-define “intense”  


All hail the clock!

c. 2007 Kenneth Woods

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

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