DRUMMERS NEED LOVE TOO
It always seemed to me that drummers were having all the fun and so had to be hidden.
Behind or to the side of the band we can usually find the drummer. They will be sitting down next to the stand up bass. They can be seen occasionally when the band steps aside, signifying a drum solo is coming, usually to wake up the audience. Drummers deserve some recognition for being really good musicians. In the last couple of months Detroit drummers Jeff Canady, RJ Spangler, Gayelynn McKinney and Sean Dobbins will have gotten some love at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café . They are gifted musicians, arrangers and band leaders, and as band leaders they will have to stand up and accept our appreciation.
“MARCH TO THE BEAT OF YOUR OWN DRUMMER”
Henry David Thoreau
“I ACTUALLY WANTED TO BE A DRUMMER, BUT I DIDN’T HAVE ANY DRUMS.” Stevie Ray Vaughan
My father needed a quiet space to concentrate on his work. He was a commercial illustrator and was under pressure to meet deadlines. This need for silence was in conflict with his son who really liked making noise, My heroes were big band drummers, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.
In an act of kindness I was given a pair of sticks and a rubber covered drum pad. It made as much noise as hitting my pillow. The sticks didn’t bounce like they do when you pound on a drum head. The sticks made a lot more noise when I used the furniture as a drum surface. That was the end of my career as a drummer.
When I had a basement of my own I bought a used drum set. I played the drums but my left hand never knew what my right hand was thinking. My son Bill figured it out. He is a really good drummer, and he continues to get better and better. I still have the drum set and retreat to the basement from time to time for some drum therapy. I will happily remain hidden.
“I’ve wanted to be a drummer since I was about five years old. I used to play on a bath salt container with wires on the bottom, and on a round coffee tin with a loose wire fixed to it to give a snare drum effect. Plus there were always my Mum’s pots and pans. When I was ten, my Mum bought me a snare drum. My Dad bought me my first full drum kit when I was 15. It was almost prehistoric. Most of it was rust.” Billy Cobhan
“A good groove releases adrenaline in your body. You feel uplifted, you feel centered, you feel calm, you feel powerful. You feel that energy. That’s what good drumming is all about”. Mickey Hart
“I think that any young drummer starting out today should get himself a great teacher and learn all there is to know about the instrument that he wants to play.” Buddy Rich
HERE IS A GREAT TEACHER, AMONG OTHER THINGS: SEAN DOBBINS
SEAN DOBBINS HUSBAND, FATHER, TEACHER, BANDLEADER AND DRUMMER
Sean Dobbin’s public face is behind his drum kit. Sean is unquestionably a first call drummer when he isn’t leading his own band. He is a powerful figure who visually seems always to just barely restrain himself from beating his drum set into submission. That is not who he is. Sean exemplifies what a jazz player and a great drummer should be. Jazz artists like Sean in the past were portrayed as talented souls hanging out in smoky jazz joints until the sun comes up. Well, times have changed.
When the sun comes up, you would often find Sean involved with getting his three kids organized for school. He and his wife have shared the responsibility of bringing up three bright kids. His oldest daughter is in Sean’s words, “a brainiac”. She took courses at Eastern Michigan University while still in high school. His youngest daughter is a serious soccer player and pianist.. His son began his days with a lesson from his dad on his drum set. Remember his son’s name, Matthew Dobbins. He is already a great drummer and is a good basketball player.
I have watched Sean Dobbins teach a class. He knows how to keep young minds focused and his lessons interesting. He continues to spread his knowledge of and his passion for jazz throughout the community .
Sean sees need and responds. This is Detroit, and this is what many musicians do.
Sean is on the faculty at the University Of Michigan, Oakland University and Wayne State University. He is also MSU’s Community Music School Director
Sean Dobbins is working with young students in two youth programs. He is Executive Director of the South East Music Academy and Director of Michigan State’s youth jazz program in Detroit.
Sean’s concern about the musicians coming out of our schools has led him to initiate a series of events that he calls THE RISING STARS SERIES. This program will allow the young talent that is coming out of Detroit to be able to perform at multiple venues around the city.
BAND LEADER/ ARRANGER
Sean has for some time led three of Detroit’s most authentic jazz groups. All the bands have been formed out of his deep regard for jazz history. Sean follows his calling to keep jazz alive by honoring Detroit’s rich heritage.
The Modern Jazz Messengers
The Modern Jazz Messengers have been a mainstay in Detroit’s jazz world for over ten years. Like the band’s inspiration Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dobbins is big on rotating the members and keeping the band’s front line youthful and hard swinging. The Modern Jazz Messengers songbook is heavy on hard-bop and post-bop staples. Art Blakey, the original Sean Dobbins, who led the original Messengers would be proud to see where Sean has taken the music.
Sean Dobbins Organ Quartet
The Sean Dobbins Organ Quartet is a
homage to an instrument that came out of the churches when the Hammond Corp. made organs portable. It became jazz’s most used keyboard instrument after the piano.
The Sean Dobbins Trio
This week he will bring the Sean Dobbins Trio to the Dirty Dog. He will be joined by Corey Kendirck on piano and Bob Bickly on Bass.
“The drummer is the key—the heartbeat of jazz”
“Jazz is a heartbeat—its heartbeat is yours. You will tell me about its perspectives when you get ready.”
You have to have a heart before you can have a heartbeat. Sean Dobbins has a big heart and a big beat. Sean is the whole package.
THE SEAN DOBBINS TRIO WILL BE AT THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ APRIL 25 – APRIL 28