I recently stumbled upon some old notes about my thoughts on drumming. And in this particular one, I was writing some notes on the ideal ride cymbal for Jazz.
Today, I think I am very close to owning my ideal Jazz ride with the 21″ Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Ride Cymbal. It has the definition and ping sound I’d been looking for, and the dryness and textures and overtones needed to give that ride cymbal it’s character and personality.
I also have a 20″ Zildjian Custom K Dark Ride that has a very defined ping, and with basically no overtones and wash. It’s great for a very dry sound and for a definite ping sound.
Opposite of this is a 21″ Zildjian Constantinople Ride Cymbal, which has a LOT of wash so it has less ping and sustained tones.
Between these three ride cymbals, I feel I get all the sounds I need for a wide variety of Jazz situations.
The most important cymbal i jazz performance definitely is the ride cymbal. From studying other drummers perform I noticed a significant enhancement in the overall sound of the group when the cymbal was prominent and defined, yet blended well with the other instruments.
Where the ride cymbal was lighter and defined, that cymbal became lost in the group’s sound and the cymbal did not divide the beats to the advantage of the group.
So far, from testing various cymbals at local stores, I noticed that two ride cymbals stood out, the 20″ Zildjian Custom K and the Zildjian 20″ Ping [Ride].
The Zildjian Custom K, the one Dave Weckl uses, has a very large bell, which is excellent for doing bell work for funk and latin grooves. It has dark overtones and at the same time has a nice solid ping sound. When you crash it the overtones really come through. This cymbal is basically a very loud cymbal and there is no doubt that this cymbal will cut through the band. The only negative is that it’s too loud a cymbal for light jazz work.
The Zildjian Ping would be a good basic ride cymbal that would fulfill the needs for light Jazz work as well as the Custom K, but the ping sound would be better suited for straight-ahead and bebop grooves.
Overall, considering the type of kit that I have, the Custom K would be more suitable, since my main emphasis would be a nice tight ping sound with all the dark overtones, and the oversized bell for the latin and funk grooves.