For the last few months (since I started a new job that I love), I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz. For the first time in a long time, I work in an office where I can listen to whatever music I want at (more or less) any volume I want. It’s been fun. For about a week, I only listened to Daryl Hall and John Oates early-to-mid 80s songs. I’m a child of the 80s; what can I say?

But, I have been also listening to a lot of jazz, mostly bebop and cool jazz, mostly from the 50s and 60s. It’s my favorite era of jazz, though I do appreciate other subgenres and more contemporary jazz (for example, I love Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth project).

As a musician, I’ve always appreciated the technical sophistication of jazz, but I’ve never really learned to play it with any sort of facility. Most of that is because I don’t read music well, other than percussion music (since my years of band in school were all as a percussionist), and I have a pretty rudimentary grasp of music theory (again, the percussionist). My guitar and bass playing is by ear (and tab, etc.) and other than a few scales, I don’t know much.

But, listening to so much jazz lately has re-awakened in me the desire to play it, and specifically, to play jazz drums. I’ve been saving up for a drum kit, and I’ve got a practice pad and some sticks, and I’ve been working on my rudiments and stick control in preparation. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained those rudiments are (flam-a-diddle-diddle, anyone?).

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a kit and really learn to be a jazz drummer, but I’ve been enjoying working on the rudiments. It’s nice to have something concrete to work on and practice. I’ve missed practicing something physical until I get it right.