This recording project was a long time coming. I’ve known Michael Gotz since about 1982. During a session for the 2021 Federal Way Symphony Duke Ellington recordings that took place during Covid at the Vashon Center for the Performing Arts I realized I wanted to just hire Michael and do a recording. Not a gig for someone else or some other organization. We had tried to do this before but for some reason things felt different during this period. Slightly urgent and necessary to fulfill a need. After I spoke to Michael and he agreed, he sent some Portland bass player names and Perry was the one. No question. On the phone with Perry Thoorsell he recommended Sacha at Dead Aunt Thelma’s in the Sellwood district of Portland.
Done, game over. One afternoon and tunes I love to play with the piano player I love to play with and a new friend on bass. Not trying to do anything other than that.
So, this is the first live show of three this week.
For drummers we know the fulcrum as an important fundamental concept of our technique. The balance point in our hand where the stick pivots and we allow the stick to bounce and rebound. It is a point we learn to control in many ways and can be produced in a variety of locations using the thumb and first finger, second finger and even different joints in the fingers. This is not so much a technical look at the fulcrum as it is an exploration into the roll this point plays in our music.
The fulcrum is crucial to understanding grip. The different grips we use, matched, traditional, variations that include German, French, Hinger, Moeller technique all create fulcrum, or point where the stick balances and has leverage at different points in our hands and fingers.
While it is the tip, shoulder or butt of the stick or mallet that contacts the instrument being struck, it is the relationship our hand and fingers have with the stick that cause the resulting action to be felt.
I’d like to offer another thought to ponder. The fulcrum is the point of contact with our instrument and the sounds we create. It’s our embouchure. Like a trumpet player buzzing the lips and feeling the mouthpiece or a sax player and the relationship to the gap and reed. This is where we feel the connection between ourselves and the instrument we are striking. We hold in our hand a stick or mallet and we feel. We know the moment of contact. We have a realization between our intention and that which happened at point of contact. A synchronicity if you will. We are at one with music; both the strike and that which we strike. We form a union.
The vibration is felt in our fingers and the resulting sound of impact is heard. The fulcrum is a point of magic. It is where we pinch, strain, relax, flow, roll, buzz, diddle. It is the point where our soul is physically connected to the act. Thanks for reading.