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Dave Kopperman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 27 December 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1907
Posted: 13 December 2019 at 1:42pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Are there any recordings of Mitchell playing trad jazz?  I'd be interested to hear that.
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Adam Schulman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 1355
Posted: 18 December 2019 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Dave -- I wish. I don't know of any. I'm not sure he ever played in a jazz group -- it's just as likely that he studied modern jazz (the John Coltrane Quartet especially) and decided to modify Elvin Jones' style for a rock context.

I love Mitchell's drum style, I can't think of any rock drummer who's clearly emulated him, I see it as a direction that rock drumming could've gone in but just didn't. Kind of like how no band has every really tried to emulate Talking Heads' REMAIN IN LIGHT, one of my favorite LPs ever. 
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Dave Kopperman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 27 December 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1907
Posted: 18 December 2019 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I love Remain in Light like few other albums, and for the better part of my teens and into my early thirties thought that it was a unique sound and texture completely unheralded.  But it turns out that all those weird, twisty, dark, funky grooves on there are 100% directly in the style of Fela Kuti and other Afrobeat artists from the early-mid 70's.  


Don't get me wrong: Remain in Light is still a genius record, but it turns out to be a genius act of synthesis on the part of Eno/Byrne and the Heads, not an act of genesis.
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Adam Schulman
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Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 1355
Posted: 19 December 2019 at 4:05pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I get that, Dave. I'm a Fela fan too. I didn't say REMAIN IN LIGHT was 100% unique. I just said that it was a direction that rock didn't take (unless one wants to count Afrobeat, in Africa -- Nigeria in particular -- as "rock," which one could do if one wants). 

I can't think of a single U.S. or UK band -- let's face it, that's where most rock bands come from -- that's seriously tried to emulate the 1980 or 1983 touring version of Talking Heads, which came as close to the REMAIN IN LIGHT sound as one can get on stage (without the use of computer programs). 

It requires too many musicians, I guess. 
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Dave Kopperman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 27 December 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1907
Posted: 06 January 2020 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

There's also the inverse issue, which is that it really takes a lot of effort, skill, and vision to arrange for a band that large (especially in a rock context, which is what we're talking about).  What ends up happening with larger rock bands - Arcade Fire comes to mind as a recent example - is that rather than give each player something unique to do, there's a lot of doubling of parts, which gives a heavier, denser sound but not a lot of rhythmic play, and also means that the live performances tend to be less exploratory.  Bands that favor interplayer dynamics - like Cream! -  by nature go the trio or quartet route.

One rare instance where they managed to expand the lineup and still keep an exciting live and nimble interaction going was Zappa's "Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life"


Edited by Dave Kopperman on 06 January 2020 at 1:26pm
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