Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frank Isola

The old Downbeat magazine is dated March 30, 1961. It is the 5th annual percussion issue. In it is an article by Don DeMicheal call THE EVOLUTION OF THE DRUM SOLO. There are many familiar names quoted in the article with an analysis of drum styles. But there is one drummer whose name was not familiar to me---Frank Isola.
I was curious and began to search him out. There is an old Stan Getz recording on Prestige called Stan Getz jazz classics. This record was a re-issue. It was originally called Early Stan and the recordings were done in 1953. The drumming duties were split between Shadow Wilson and Frank Isola. I was familiar with the great Shadow Wilson but Frank's drumming is a revelation. It was tasteful, swinging, elegant even.
In the aforementioned article, Mr. DeMicheal called Frank " a representative of the Cool School of drumming. " His recordings with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, and John Williams bear this out.
Frank was from the Detroit area. I don't believe he ever left Detroit. He played throughout the city during his career. Many drummers are not familiar with Frank's playing and it's a shame. He was a great player.

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