What’s it about?
The book is an exploration of the creativity involved in the way drummers make things work, make things matter, and make sense of both. It draws on interviews with nine top drummers and Bruford’s own experience to improve understanding in collaborative popular music performance. What do expert drummers do? Why do they do it? Is there anything creative about it? If so, how might that creativity inform their practice and that of others in related artistic spheres? Applying ideas from cultural psychology to findings from original research into the creative behaviors of a specific subset of popular music instrumentalists, the author demonstrates the ways in which expert drummers experience creativity in performance and offers fresh insights into in-the-moment interactional processes in music.
“If you’re an instrumentalist” recommends Bill, “give it to the nearest drummer, so he or she knows what drummers are for. If you’re a drummer give it to the other people in your band, so they know what drummers are for. And get a copy for yourself, so you know what drummers are for!”
What do they think?
“I would urge anyone coming to this book from knowing Bill’s music to trust in him as an author as they did in him as a player; there are so many ideas and perspectives articulated in this book that it takes us well beyond what it means to be a drummer, important as that is.”
—Marc Doffman, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford.
“… an intelligent, thought-provoking treatise on the notion of creativity in Western popular music. Over the course of a number of interviews and case studies involving expert drummers, Bill Bruford examines how such practitioners approach and understand creativity. In the process, he crafts a relational processual model for understanding creativity and the creative process for real-time interactive performing arts (theatre, dance, music). The result is a fascinating and rewarding read that will surely affect players and listeners alike as they think about the concept of finding ‘creative meaning in making it work and making it matter.’”
—Rob Bowman, Grammy Award Winning Professor of Music
“After forty years of creating professional music, pretty much all of it to his taste (passing rare), Bill Bruford has laid down the torches — and tried to capture their flame in words. Begin by running your eyes down the list of Bill’s collaborators. The expert performers and teachers will attract any reader with more than a passing affection for music. Simply put, it is a lights-out masterpiece of useful insight and passionate, reflective wisdom.”
—Neil Peart, drummer Rush