Why do I play these cymbals?
I love cymbals! I am very proud to play and ensorse Zildjian for more than a decade by now because they make wonderfull cymbals, they care and it is a great honor to be part of such an historical family business that has been around since 1623!
Thank you Zildjian: Tina Clark, Bob Wiczling, John DeChristopher, Craigie Zildjian and last not least Thomas Franke here in Germany!
No dough that I am a straight „K-Zildjian“ guy being influenced by those great jazz drummers that have a rather dry sound. This dry sound should not be too dry and harsh for Jazz but should also cut through in Rock and Pop music. Of course, since I am a Pat Metheny fan, I like Flat Rides a lot – sometimes with rivets for brush playing and I am using actually two Constantinoples: one mainly for theatre work (a 20“ High Light Ride with a little tape for more control) and another one for a Jazz gig (20“ Med. Thin Low Ride). Both work fine in a studio situation!
For my taste, the cymbals have to have a warm tone and should not have this nerve breaking „ping-sound“ that you can sometimes find on not quality cymbals. I highly take care oft he choice of sticks that I use, because they really influence the sound. Sometimes, I change sticks depending on the musical situation, style or gig.
Lately I have been playing a wonderful 21“ Dry Special Ride with rivets that sound phantastic on recordings but also live in combination with the 20“ Constantinople mentioned above. If you are tasty and careful, you can use the 20“ Constantinople as a crash, to safe an extra bigger crash in your set up. However, I always have my 15“ K-Fast crash for accents that need a higher frequency range. For Rock- and Pop music, I am using the 22“ K-Hi Definition Ride which is big and forceful enough to carry a louder band – but I am still paying tribute to one of my heroes Tony Williams, who could indeed rock!
For some time I am „proudly playing“ a special 21″ Constantinople Renaissance Prototyp – ride cymbal. A real beautiful, special and very inspirational cymbal with a slite China character. It seem, as if you can hear the fire it was going through! Very vivid and sort of playing by itself. Meanwhile it turned out to be my main ride for my Jazz-/Latin Setup.
Back in the days of my studies at the Percussion Institute of Technology (P.I.T.) in L.A., my teacher Steve Hoghton hooked me up with Crashes in odd sizes that I am still playing today: a 15“ K Custom Fast Crash and a 17“ K-Custom Hybrid Crash which sounds a little more brilliant and metal-like than the usual 17“-Custom Fast Crash. My sound philosophy of crashes is, that they – next to their tonal relationship – have to sound brilliant, they have to react fast and have to underline an accent just right. They should not blast away or have that boomy sound but should have a pleasant sound. Additionally they should have a great rebound, be flexible to blend in many styles and should give a good feeling when you play them. I personally do not like thick cymbals because they are not sensitive enough form my personal way of playing and the sound is often too demanding.
I am playing two pairs of hi hats depending on the gig or situation: again the K´s: a 13“ Custom Special Dry Head, which is not too loud and very precise. I always take them to theatre gigs (for example „Cabaret“) or dinner jobs – but they also work for funk and fusion. The second pair also belongs to my all time favorites: a pair of 14“ K-hi hats brilliant finish; those hats sound full and rich and depending on the stroke or technique, very funky and fat (juste like the strokes with the upper part oft he stick such as Carter Beauford does). They work perfect for Pop and Rock and sound great in recording situations.
Splashes and Effect cymbals
Last not least: all the toys that make so much fun – splashes and or effects. I use three splashes that I have chosen on my first visit at Zildjian back in Sunningdale before the office went to London (yes: those splashes can last long). Even though these splashes have two different models (A-Custom and Hybrid), they work perfectly together – if at all I am using all three of them at a gig. The 6“ A-Custom is quite fast, short and of corse works in New Orleans music or music from the 20´s. The 8“-A Custom sounds fuller and has a little more of a tone and the 9“ Hybrid (Watch out: odd size!), can be used as a mini crash and it all makes sense in a melody format with all three of them.
Because of Billy Cobham – another great inspiration of mine -, I have always liked big Swishes or Chinas that can be also used with rivets in big band with saxophones (Mel Lewis, Jeff Hamilton, Peter Erskine). I love the warm, carrying sound of a gong or tamtam (for example with Mallets on the cymbal) or the flighing sound of a 20“/22“ China used as a right at Mahavishnu Orchestra and alike. So I am really happy with the 20“ Oriental Trash! To get a little salt and pepper – or rather chili – I could not get my hands off a 12“ Oriental Trash, which does have the right warmth in sound to not annoy the listener and myself.
Equally oriental is a 16“ A-Custom EFX, which – due to some holes – reacts quite fast and can even be played with hands. A tone of my last visits to Zildjian they presented a another goody which I put on a recording right away: 18“ Spiral Trap! Not only that ot looks very spacy but it also sounds very extraordinaire (be carefull – it explodes!) and is in the real sense an effect cymbal!
Obviously I am not carrying all these cymbals on every gig! Most of the times, I simply take a Ride, a Crash and a pair of hi hats. That works perfect. But I have to confess that sometimes I do take two rides on a small gig to make it more pleasant and interesting for everybody.