Bill is not only a talented drummer but also a published writer. His recent book A 52-Hertz Whale was just published this year and has been getting some great reviews.
We met with Bill and asked him to give us a bit of insight to all his talents including his passions about playing the Tama drums backed by his Zildjian cymbals. We also inquired about his recent endeavors in joining the band Book of Colors with Andre Paraguassu. The current members of Book of Colors are local artist around the Atlanta area, including : André Paraguassu – Vocals&Guitar. George Kotler/Wallace – Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, Baritone Guitar, 12 String Guitar & Regular Guitar. Eric Balint – Vibraphone, Marimba, Melodica, Bells, Percussion & Vocals. Bill Sommer – Drums. David Oliver – Keys & Vocals. Hilary Kelley – Vocals. Skyler Ross – Bass & Vocals.
In our interview with Bill Sommer we found out that he has been playing the drums for over 20 years. He deeply feels that the drums are the most authentic instrument, and believes that was the part that drew him to sitting behind the drum set with two sticks in his hands. As a kid, he loved to move. He started seeing that a wide range of drummers have so much free movement and each one causes everyone else to move by laying down a beat was what attracted him to the drums initially.
Bill told us within the interview that, “the Tama drums and Zildjian cymbals were dear to me when I was young because many of my favorite artists played them. As I’ve matured and refined my sound, I’ve found that they both provided the kinds of sounds I need for playing a variety of different musical styles.”
When Bill Sommer was young he started following Bill Stewart. William Harris “Bill” Stewart is an American jazz drummer. Stewart is a versatile player who has performed with a broad array of musicians, from Maceo Parker to John Scofield and Jim Hall. He is also an active composer, whose tunes, which might be categorized as “postmodern” jazz tunes, appear on his, and others’ records. Stewart grew up in Des Moines, Iowa listening to his parents’ jazz and rhythm and blues records without much exposure to live jazz in the then relatively isolated state of Iowa. The largely self-taught drummer began playing at the age of seven. While in high school, he played in a Top 40 cover band and the school orchestra, and went to a summer music camp at Stanford Jazz Workshop, where he met jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. After high school graduation, Stewart attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, playing in the jazz and marching bands as well as the orchestra. He then transferred to William Paterson University (then William Paterson College), where he played in ensembles directed by Rufus Reid, studied drums with Eliot Zigmund and Horacee Arnold and took composition lessons from Dave Samuels. The young drummer met future employer Joe Lovano while still in college (the two played duets in lieu of a drum lesson when Zigmund was away). Stewart also made his first recordings, with saxophonist Scott Kreitzer, and pianist Armen Donelian, while still in school, and with pianist Franck Amsallem. Bill Sommer stated clearly in our interview that Stewart has had a profound impact on his musical style, “because of his impeccable phrasing, cleverness, and musicality.” He also mentioned, “Dennis Chambers for funk stuff because of his deep pocket and ridiculous chops.”
Bill Sommer highlighted one of his favorite things when playing with his new band Book of Colors. He disclosed, “For me, it’s a thrilling privilege to be able to contribute a groove to a good song, When you’re in rehearsal trying different things out and suddenly everyone in the band looks at each other like, Yeah, that’s it!”, it’s the best feeling.”
Rob Brown with www.GearSource.com Musical Instruments knows a lot about a variety of drums so if you have any questions about Bill Sommerize Sommer or drums please feel free to contact him anytime at (866) 669-GEAR.