The first official drum lesson I ever got was from a great jazz drummer in Memphis named, Richard Cesani. Really cool guy from New York, the Bronx, actually…amazing player, too and we’ve remained friends for all these years since. Wonderful teacher, very funny. He taught me a lot. Anyhow, I was maybe 11 or 12 at the time and my dad took me to see him at his lesson studio over on Poplar Avenue. It all seemed strange to me, going somewhere else besides our garage to get a drum lesson, when I’d already been studying with my dad for several years, playing along to records just fine…I figured I had it all going on, as cocky as I was back then but I’m sure it was also exciting to be getting real lessons from an old-school jazz cat, which I’m sure was costing Dad some hard-earned bread. But I know he wanted me to learn from the best, so…
What a guy.
We get to this place, kind of an old office building, it’s dimly lit inside and when I walk into his studio, all he has sitting there is a bass drum, a snare and a big ‘ol ride cymbal. Wow! I honestly cannot remember if there were any hi-hats on the kit or not but I’m thinking there wasn’t. It was kinda funny looking to me cause I’d never seen a setup without any toms before and I remember looking up at him and asking where the rest of the drums were and Richard’s response is forever etched into my brain… “It all starts here. If you can’t make it happen with just two drums then you won’t sound any better when you’ve got more!”
Words to live by.
Hope everyone is doing well.