The little 8" snare drum and 10" tom tom sounded excellent. You're not going to get huge rock sounds out of these drums, but they certainly deliver a respectable, clean tone and are very well built. While an 8" snare drum may seem something of a novelty, Yamaha treats it with all seriousness. The throw-off, lugs, hoops and snares are all constructed with the same care as on their larger models and the 7-ply birch/mahogany shell gives plenty of cut and attack. The same holds true with the tom tom. Both drums attach very securely to the main drum via the YESS mounts and an L-shaped arm. Unfortunately, the same L arm mounts for the snare and tom leave the heads at a perfect horizontal position and don't allow for any tilting of the drums. This was somewhat awkward and I longed for a little more leeway. On the cymbal arm I mounted a cowbell, a trashy old China Boy and a pair of hi-hat cymbals on top. I varied the setting of the arm and ended up using the cowbell directly over the back of the drum, making it easy to ride the cymbals and play accents and rhythms on the cowbell.
The percussion board is finished in the same sparkling lacquer as the drums. It hangs off the side of the main drum, attached by clips to two tension rods. There is a foam cushion on the inside of the board that serves to protect it from hitting the main shell. However, when I hit the board harder, the clips sometimes rattled against the tension rods. This could be remedied by using rubber gaskets where the clips meet the rods.
By my second gig, I felt much more comfortable with the kit. The music was a varied mix of styles, centered around the eclectic playing of the guitarist-vocalist who leads the band. The pub where we played has a ridiculously small area for the musicians, and everybody appreciated the fact that the drum's space requirements tended more to the upward than the outward. I really enjoyed both the sound and feel of the kit. I like a good rimshot as much as the next drummer, and I was surprised to find I was able to pull quite a few different sounds out of the snare and cocktail drum. The kit seemed the perfect solution for the evening. By the end of the gig my schoolboy crush had turned into full-blown infatuation.
Yamaha has done an impressive job of putting together a practical, fun, great-sounding system. I could see using these drums not only for gigs where space is at a minimum, but also for intimate "unplugged" performances, and even just playing around the house. While cocktail drums may not be for everybody, given the right musical situation they're a wonderful substitute for a full kit. The Yamaha Club Jordan Cocktail Drum System is a great update of a drum whose time passed much too quickly. The drums are not only beautiful, but very retro-hip. They hearken back to that carefree time when a night out meant a couple of martinis sipped to the lilting beat of the bossa nova.
Well, you know how the rest of the story goes; boy meets drum, boy falls in love with drum, drum leaves boy. But don't shed too many tears for me, friends. I'll be okay. Especially when the next review drum comes knocking on my door.
Model: Yamaha Club Jordan Cocktail Drum System.
Shells: 7mm, 7-ply birch/mahogany shells and percussion board; cocktail drum is 15" x 24", snare drum is 8" x 5", tom tom is 10" x 5".
Lugs: Yamaha “Tour Style” lugs on main drum, “Compact” one-piece lugs on snare and tom.
Finish: Silver Sparkle or Pink Sparkle Lacquer. Interior is a hand-rubbed “Natural Vintage” finish.
Hardware: Reverse-type foot pedal with special leg attachments, triple-flange steel rims, special inner strainer on main drum and Yamaha P-Type strainer on small snare.
Extras: YESS Mounts on snare and tom tom, urethane foam inner mute on bottom head, cymbal/cowbell arm, special Club Jordan Logo Badge on all drums.
List Price: $1,795