Dave Black – Versatility and Power

The world of drumming remembers Dave Black for his versatility and prowess behind the throne. January 23, 1928, Dave was born and died on December 4, 2006, after a long successful music career. To many fans, Dave was the most disciplined and smart drummer they all came to love. He always appeared on the stage dressed in a suit and ready to deliver a breathtaking performance.  

The drummer looked simple, but he had such a power in him that it would make any listener ask for more of his work. It was this energy talent that got him on the list of the best drummers in the world. David Black, or just Dave Black, was best-known for his relationship with Duke Ellington between ’53 and ’55. Before this, he played his cymbals on the works of many soloists. 

He was an in-house drummer at the Blue Note Club in Philadelphia as a backup for Charlie Parker and other artists. He always kept on improving his drumming, which he started at a very early age. Buddy Rich was the drummer’s main influence, even though they came from different musical backgrounds. On one side, the drumming genius Buddy was a self-taught drummer who started playing as a child. 

He never even learned to read music and yet stands as one of the top influencers in hard rock. And on the other hand, Dave attended formal training at the Mastbaum School of Music in Philadelphia. It was here that he learned to take music seriously and grow with every chance he got. Despite this difference, they were both excellent and admirable soloists. Even so, the model that Dave used did not push his ambition much as a bandleader.

Nevertheless, that did not stop him from creating good music that the world would hear and love. It was clear that his fans and audiences loved what he did. One of the most famous heckles directed to the drummer was “I want to hear “Caravan” with a drum solo. It was a direct call to Dave, who featured on this tune more than any other artist during his years with Ellington

Even though they shared a name with the drummer from his famous band, his skills stood out more. Dave always found a way to improve his music and make it more appealing to his audience. He gave power to his drummers, which in turn rang smoothly through every mix. 

Leaving Ellington may have had a negative effect on the drummer as he stepped backward in his style. He later went to work with Bob Scobey regularly. This also came to an end when the Dixieland leader died of a heart attack in 1963. From there, Dave continued to play drums and perform in different setups.  

Among his latest works is a backing up he did for pianists and singer Si Perkoff. Apart from drumming, Dave Black wrote arrangements that the bandleader recorded. A fellow drum guru Louie Bellson also recorded his work. Until his death in 2006, Dave had worked with a wide range of artists, helping them achieve their goals.

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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