Mickey Roker : 1ère Partie / 2ème Partie / 3ème Partie

Mickey Roker chez Dizzy

À partir de 1971, Mickey Roker devient le batteur de Dizzy Gillespie avec lequel il jouera pendant 9 ans.

AAJ: Dizzy Gillespie is considered one of the greatest geniuses of jazz music. He innovated bebop with the help of a few friends like Charlie Parker. Having worked with him, what’s your appraisal of his special qualities, his magic?

MR: He knew both music and rhythm—can’t beat that. There are a lot of fine musicians who don’t know rhythm. They know melody and harmony but they don’t know rhythm. If you do something tricky on them, they’re lost. But you can tell from the way that he played that he was very rhythmic.
AAJ: Which groups did you do with Dizzy?

MR: Big bands, small groups, symphony orchestras. For nine years, we went all over the world together. All over Africa, South America, to Europe several times a year, and all over the U.S.A.


Dizzy Gillespie’s Big 4 – Bebop (Dizzy’s Fingers)


Dizzy Gillespie’s Big 4 ‎- Dizzy Gillespie’s Big 4 (Pablo Records ‎- 2310 719, 1975)
A1 Tanga – Written by Dizzy Gillespie – 8:06
A2 Hurry Home – Written By – Meyer/Emmerich/Bernier – 6:20
A3 Russian Lullaby – Written by I. Berlin – 6:46
B1 Be Bop (Dizzy’s Fingers) – Written by Dizzy Gillespie – 4:26
B2 Birks Works – Written by Dizzy Gillespie – 8:48
B3 September Song – Written By – Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson – 2:45
B4 Jitterbug Waltz – Written by Fats Waller – 6:49
Double Bass – Ray Brown
Drums – Mickey Roker
Guitar – Joe Pass
Liner Notes – Benny Green
Photography By – Phil Stern
Producer – Norman Granz
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie
Recorded September 19, 1974, Los Angeles, California





La voix de Mickey Roker ! c’est lui qui chante à la fin du morceau !

Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, inc. – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen


Benny Carter & Dizzy Gillespie ‎- Carter, Gillespie, Inc.
Pablo Records ‎- 2310 781, 1976
A1 Sweet And Lovely –
A2 Broadway –
A3 The Courtship –
B1 Constantinople –
B2 Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen –
B3 Night In Tunisia –
Bass – Al McKibbon
Drums, Vocals – Mickey Roker
Engineer – Grover Helsley
Guitar – Joe Pass
Piano – Tommy Flanagan
Producer – Norman Granz
Saxophone [Alto] – Benny Carter
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie







Mickey Roker à propos de la mélodie, du rhytme, des contrastes, de Dizzy Gillespie

« Yeah, because you see, opposites attract. If you play a rhythm instrument you should know melody, and if you play a melodic instrument, you should know rhythm. That’s what made Dizzy Gillespie so bad [good]—he knew rhythm. Lee Morgan understood rhythm. Music consists of rhythm, melody and harmony as one thing together. »




AAJ: Have you ever composed?

MR: I wrote one song, a calypso song. It’s recorded on one of Lee Morgan’s albums. I like to sing. I know melodies and have good memory for them.
Mickey Rocker, interview par Victor L. Schermer, All About Jazz

Lee Morgan ‎- Claw-Til-Da (composition Mickey Roker)

024_Lee Morgan_Sonic Boom

Lee Morgan ‎- Sonic Boom
Blue Note ‎- 7243 5 90414 2 1, 1969
1 Sneaky Pete 5:44
2 The Mercenary 7:08
3 Sonic Boom 6:15
4 Fathead 5:25
5 I’ll Never Be The Same 7:13
6 Mumbo Jumbo 5:25
7 Free Flow 4:48
8 Stormy Weather 5:41
9 Mr. Johnson 6:06
10 The Stroker 5:44
11 Uncle Rough 5:31
12 Claw-Til-Da 3:03 – written by Mickey Roker
13 Untitled Boogaloo 5:35
Recorded At – Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Bass – Ron Carter (tracks: 1 to 6), Walter Booker (tracks: 7 to 13)
Drums – Billy Higgins (tracks: 1 to 6), Mickey Roker (tracks: 7 to 13)
Engineer [Recording] – Rudy Van Gelder
Photography By [Cover, Liner] – Francis Wolff
Piano – Cedar Walton (tracks: 1 to 6), Harold Mabern (tracks: 7 to 13)
Producer – Alfred Lion (tracks: 1 to 6), Francis Wolff (tracks: 7 to 13)
Reissue Producer – Michael Cuscuna
Saxophone – David Newman (tracks: 1 to 6)
Tenor Saxophone – George Coleman (tracks: 7 to 13)
Trombone – Julian Priester (tracks: 7 to 13)
Trumpet – Lee Morgan
Recorded on April 14 and 28, 1967 (#1-6) and September 12 and October 10, 1969 (#7-13) at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey




Billy Hart, à propos de Mickey Roker, et de toutes sortes d’autres choses.

Extrait de l’Interview de Ethan Iverson, sur son excellent blog, interview que vous pouvez cousulter en intégralité ici


Billy Hart : “When I moved to New York, Walter Booker, who I had known from Washington, got me gigs, and pretty soon Pete LaRoca and Higgins (who both knew Booker) were getting me gigs. The most popular drummer seemed to be Mickey Roker: he was the Lewis Nash of his day. But, yeah, Sonny Rollins called me for the Vanguard.”

BH: Right…well, you say that now, and that’s easy to say. Back then, with an egotistical glint in my eye, I might have felt that way myself. But I think that if Roker had been available for that Hancock gig, I never would have gotten that gig myself, I can tell you that much!


See, Roker’s first name is Granville. What does that sound like? Maxwell Roach. Wynton Kelly. Theodore Rollins. Those are English names, from the Caribbean element. They have an island heritage, American too of course, but those British names are from the islands, from the Caribbean. For me, as a drummer, I feel that they are closer to the source rhythmically. What always happens is these cats bring back some sort of rhythmic truth just when it is getting too harmonic. That’s why New Orleans is important, because it is the closest port to the islands. That is where Jelly Roll Morton got the rhythms. When you think about Rollins, he’s from there, and he plays these rhythms. Coltrane doesn’t play those rhythms, but Theodore does. [Sings some of “St. Thomas.”] Rollins imposed so much of that in post-bop that it has become a part of the tradition. Next time you listen to Sonny again, notice how much of those island rhythms he plays.

Also, Thelonious is an island name. I mean, it’s not Greek, is it? [Laughter.] « Bemsha Swing. » It’s rhythm.

Rhythm is at least equal to hamony in the scheme of human evolution. It’s just that the European concept (since it was so devoid of rhythm) related harmony to emotion so clearly that it used to seem like the only way to do it. At this point, we know differently: obviously rhythm can give you that same emotional value.

EI: I think my profound attraction to jazz is that is the precise intersection of both values.

BH: Right. That’s what jazz is.

EI: On my instrument, it could not be more literal. When you listen to Jelly Roll Morton or James P. Johnson, you are listening to the collision of 2,000 years of heritage from two different continents.

BH: James P., he was rough, man. A bad cat. Anyway, this keeps the rhythm honest, especially anytime we want to have some kind of a “designer” rhythm. [laughter.]

And when you are looking at Roker, that is what you are not looking at: the island element. The cascara rhythm. Roker had the cascara in his ride cymbal beat, just like Higgins and Haynes. And drummers who have the cascara beat in their cymbal will always be very popular.

2006, part 3. « I so believe in tradition that I believe there is a logical solution for even the most ‘out’ music: that there is always something to find to make the avant-garde presentable. »

EI: Billy Higgins.

BH: Well, obviously Higgins has that island element, too, but I haven’t really been able to trace where he comes from. Every time I asked him, over and over again, he gave the same response:

“How many times do I have to tell you, Billy? I studied with Ed Blackwell.”

A year later I would have heard some other record with Higgins. I’d see him and say:

“C’mon, Higgins. Where did you get that?”

“I practiced with Ed Blackwell.”

It’s really deep what that is…and Higgins has that from Blackwell the way Elvin got it from Haynes. Elvin and Higgins both have some correct shit that doesn’t come from where they come from. Higgins called it “The Lift,” but basically it’s a use of upbeats. An upbeat is not the “and of one” or the “and of two,” it’s a part of a triplet. It just sounds like an upbeat, since it’s so close. Elvin often played the last two of the triplet, and Higgins just the last. Where it gets deep is how Higgins ride cymbal is like the cascara — almost an even eighth-note — and his left hand is playing the triplet. Elvin has something similar, except for him it’s harder to define. And when you go back to see how Art Blakey or Philly Joe did it, you realize that this element is crucial to what we call swing. And some cats, like Roker or whoever have this so naturally. And they talk about it that way, too: “Man, how are you going to explain that? That is some natural shit. You can’t explain that academically. »

EI: There certainly isn’t the right language in place to talk about it.

BH: Well, their way of looking at it was that it was impossible! It was so “from osmosis,” so “culturally ingrained.”

EI: These days a hip-hop producer puts it on his computer screen and controls it very precisely, of course.

BH: What do you mean?

EI: Well, to maximize a groove, they make sure that the different parts of the drums are in just the right place of disunity or de-synchronization, just like between the hands of Elvin or Higgins — or yourself!

BH: Of course they would do that, huh?

EI: I recall that you once told me that you thought the backbeat was a commercial simplification of the clavé.

BH: What! Did I tell you that? Do I really mean that? [Pause.] Let me put that another way: I hear the second-line, which is clavé, in all jazz. The backbeat seems pretty simple compared to something as vast as God!

The clavé (and all the great Latin rhythms associated with the clavé) is always four and six at the same time, or rather, triplet and binary at the same time.

EI: Just like you were saying about Elvin and Higgins just now.

BH: Exactly! I told Higgins that I had seen it: “Goddamn, Higgins! You and Elvin are playing the same thing!”

Higgins said: “You gotta remember, I was with Coltrane first. Elvin took my place.”

EI: That’s right! There’s not much recorded, but there is a great photo of both Elvin and Higgins playing with Coltrane at the same time

Mickey Roker, Interview par Ethan Iverson, octobre 2011


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Mickey Roker : 1ère Partie / 2ème Partie / 3ème Partie