Allman Brothers Band: Jamming With The Trio

allman brothers

It’s time to bust out your checkbook, because whether you know it or not, you’re indebted to the Allman Brothers Band. Hailed as revolutionaries when they first arrived on the music scene in 1969, their countrified blend of blues, jazz and, of course, rock has been a crucial influence on multiple generations of musicians.

Originally pioneers of live jamming on stage, today the Allman Brothers are the masters. Every year they hold court over a sold-out series of concerts at New York City’s storied Beacon Theater, and a visit to their 2003 run shows that it’s as successful as ever, as they play to an impassioned audience of old devotees, young recruits and everyone in between. The vocals are smoky, the guitars ring true, and with two legendary drummers and a gifted percussionist, the grooves never let go. Song-bending and chop-challenging improvisation comes in wave after wave, and the crowd urges the band on like a group of Olympic athletes.

butch trucks

Trucks’s Traps

Drums: DW Birch Lacquer
1. 22" x 18" Bass Drum
2. 14" x 5 1/2" Snare
3. 13" x 10" Tom
4. 12" x 9" Tom
5. 16" x 13" Floor Tom
6. 18" x 14" Floor Tom
7. 26" Timpani
8. 29" Timpani

Cymbals: Zildjian
A. 15" New Beat Hi-Hats
B. 18" A Medium Thin Crash
C. 17" K Medium Thin Crash
D. A Medium Ride

>Butch Trucks also uses Zildjian Butch Trucks model sticks, Remo heads, Tama Rhythm Watch, DW 9000 Series hardware, Axis bass pedal.

The Allman Brothers are a lot of things to a lot of people, and when it comes to rhythm, it turns out this band is everything a drummer could ever ask for, starting with their groundbreaking self-titled debut record in 1969, to the classic albums Idlewild South, At Fillmore East, Eat a Peach, and all the way through to their 2003 release, Hittin’ the Note. For the founding members Jaimoe Johanny Johanson (or just plain Jaimoe) and Butch Trucks, along with their percussive partner of 12 years, Marc Quiñones, being in the Allman Brothers is about being three parts of one very distinctive whole of a drumming personality.

To shed more light on the rhythmic engine that makes the Allman Brothers go, the group’s three drummers agreed to sit down together one sunny afternoon before another packed evening at the Beacon. “You’ve got my straight, white ass,” Trucks explains, “playing as straight as I can play. Then we’ve got Mr. Salsa [Quiñones] playing as crooked and loud as he can play, and he gets so damned crooked I have no idea where he’s coming from. And then we have Mr. Jazz Man [Jaimoe] trying to make sure he hits nothing on a downbeat. You put it all together and it comes out to a white/Latin/black personality that does what it does, which is pretty damn powerful – and I can say that without fear of contradiction.”

Actually, Trucks can say almost anything without fear of contradiction. Walking with the confidence that comes with being a rock legend for 34 years and counting, he projects a strong, boisterous presence that’s the perfect complement to his solid blues-rock drumming style. In contrast, Jaimoe, his partner of three-plus decades, speaks in the low tones of a southern gentleman and a life-long student (and now professor) of jazz. Quiñones? Not surprisingly, his upbeat manner puts him right in the middle, exactly where you’d expect a conga expert who bridges rock with jazz to be.

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