Classic sounds: Art Blakey

Art Blakey’s attitude about cymbal sounds, as he is quoted in Hugo Pinksterboer’s The Cymbal Book, was basically “I don’t have time for that, give me a cymbal and I’ll play it.” Many of those older players would seemingly just go to the Brooklyn Gretsch warehouse and grab what they needed out of the bins without giving it a lot of thought. But there is a special cymbal sound of Blakey’s that is worth talking about, heard on a couple of famous Jazz Messengers albums, mainly The Big Beat. There he plays a 20″ K. Zildjian ride cymbal, seemingly in the 1750-1850 gram range, with a big, long, throaty, slightly exotic crash sound:

 

And here on Indestructible— he may be riding on a smaller cymbal, but the crashes during this opening are on that same 20:

 

It’s actually quite similar to a cymbal we have in stock right now, the 1766 gram 20″ Holy Grail Ride “Tyrell.” Play those videos in different together— it’s very interesting. Blakey’s cymbal is a little lower pitched.

 

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