In his Jazz Profiles blog, Steven M. Cerra’s stock-in-trade is thorough examinations of the careers of important jazz musicians. His current project is Victor Feldman, the late, astonishingly talented drummer, pianist and vibraharpist. Steve just posted the third of three parts about Feldman. In the first installment, he tells of going to The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California, in the late 1950s when Feldman was playing piano and vibes with the all-star group led by Howard Rumsey.
As an aspiring Jazz drummer, it was late on one of the sparsely attended week nights that I summoned the courage to go up to Stan Levey, always an imposing figure, to ask him a question about some aspect of the mechanics of playing the instrument.
The band members usually congregated along the back wall of the club between sets. When I approached Stan and asked my question he replied: ” you don’t wanna talk to me about that sh**; I’m self-taught. The guy you want to talk to is sitting over there [nodding toward Victor sitting alone at an adjoining table]. He even knows the names of all the drum rudiments!”
At the time, I had no idea that Victor played drums. I soon found out as he thoroughly answered my question as well as demonstrating the answer. Shortly thereafter, Victor Feldman agreed to offer me lessons.
Victor Feldman, ca 1957
Cerra details Feldman’s career up to and beyond his celebrated and regrettably brief time as Miles Davis’s pianist. To read all three segments, click here. I suggest scrolling down to part one and working back up. Along the way, you’ll find a Cerra appreciation of pianist Dado Moroni, also worth your time.
john johansen says
Thanks for the great link! I was unaware of Jazz Profiles, looks like a excellent site.
John Birchard says
Thanks for calling readers’attention to the Cerra series on Victor Feldman. I’ve been a Feldman fan ever since first hearing the Shelly Manne Blackhawk recordings – “Poinciana”in particular. Reading the series prompted me to order “The Arrival of…” and I now eagerly await its delivery.
Feldman’s great talent helped bury forever (I believe) the notion that non-Americans couldn’t swing.