In this session, Daniel deconstructs the style of the legendary drummer Earl Palmer, showing just why Palmer is often called “the architect of rock’n’roll drumming.” Part One covers the years 1949-1957, and looks primarily at Earl’s groundbreaking years in New Orleans, where he blended street beats with a jazz influence to create iconic rock drum parts for the likes of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis and many others.
What’s covered in this session:
- Earl’s early life and influences growing up as a child performer in New Orleans in the 1920s and ’30s.
- Understanding the importance of the bass drum in New Orleans music.
- Understanding how the trials of growing up black in an intensely racist environment led to the development of Earl’s fiercely independent personality and drumming style.
- Analysis of 14 key songs that show how Earl pioneered many of the elements of rock’n’roll that we take for granted today, including: backbeats on 2&4, straight 8th grooves, complex bass drum figures, 16th note tom-tom fills, crashing on beat “one” at the end of a fill.
- Backbeat: Earl Palmer’s Story, by Earl Palmer and Tony Scherman (KILLER biography and a must-read!).
- The Roots of Rock Drumming (by Daniel Glass and Steve Smith) features an in depth interview with Earl.
- Earl Palmer Obituary in the Guardian.
- Earl Palmer: World’s Greatest Drummer – Amazing compilation CD.
- Charles Connor in “Don’t Knock the Rock,” with Little Richard.
- “Drum History Minute” audio segments on Daniel’s Website.