• Sam Ulano Interviewed by Rob Crocker: My Life as a Jazz Drummer and Teacher

    May 2, 2008. Posted by Rob Crocker.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

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    My first blog entry for WBGO had to be, I thought, something special. Sam Ulano was just that. The name Sam Ulano has been floating around the Jazz Drum World for decades. He was a good friend to Max Roach and Buddy Rich (in this interview he talks about Max coming to perform drum clinics at Sam's studio in the Bronx, and people's misconception of Buddy). Sam, aside from being a good drummer, always had the rep' of being the Great Teacher - actually, teaching the trick of reading drum music. His students included Barry Altschul, Marvin ‘Smitty' Smith, Dion Parsons - and his first student was Art Taylor (back in the ‘40s). At the age of 87, his mind is still sharp and he continues to teach and write books.

    At the start of the interview, he is a bit off mic because he's busy putting his drumsticks in order (so he can illustrate his technique). He also starts with some drum history that I, and maybe you, never think about (from 1812-1920). This leads into his philosophy about what going wrong in drumming today. The music featured in the interview are from his recordings in the ‘50s and ‘60s, including the record that got him appearances on nationwide television and radio. In the interview, we talk about all this and much more and conclude with The Hit. - Rob Crocker

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