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I thought it was time to wade into the “traditional vs matched” debate.
For how little “dog” I have “in this fight”, it’s astonishing how much the two sides get "dug in”.
I had teachers actively discourage me from learning traditional grip (the same as some now discourage learning leglock entries from reverse delariva guard;).
So what are the sides?
In my experience, it breaks down like this:
On one side, the “traditionalists”. You don’t hear them talking about it much, but they all play it.
(Many in the New York jam session scene are so “traditional-dominant”, their left hand is weak when they try to switch over to matched.)
Spend enough time around Smalls, The Needle, Lincoln Center, etc, and you’ll start to feel some “peer pressure”.
On the other, the much-more-vocal “evolutionists”. These are the folks who will tell you trad grip is a “waste of time”, or it’s “obsolete”.
Well, what do we find when we look at actual jazz drummers? Evidence of both approaches being successful:
Ari Hoenig, Eric Harland, and Bill Stewart on the “mostly matched” side…
…Brian Blade, Hutch, Kendrick Scott, Jochen Rueckert, Tane, and plenty others on the “mostly traditional” side.
But, as I’ll argue in the lesson, at the highest levels, you don’t find many trad players who can’t also play matched. (Think from among the above group.)
What’s more, the newest generation of players like Marcus Gilmore, Justin Brown, Justin Faulkner, etc seem to play both with about equal competence.
So - which way to go?
Check out the lesson.
And don’t forget to grab your transcription below: