November is traditionally the month when JazzTimes focuses on percussion, and that’s one reason why Brian Blade is on the front cover. Another reason: The last time he was on our cover, it was November 2000. Having been a fan of his drumming ever since I first saw him in Daniel Lanois’ band back in 1993, I find this 18-year gap—during which he’s played on close to 100 albums, many of them superb—close to unfathomable. Under the circumstances, it only seemed right to have him tackle a Bright Moments feature. Usually, we reserve these catalog-surveying pieces for older players, but given Blade’s track record over the past quarter-century, there was way more than enough to talk about.
Elsewhere in the issue, Geoffrey Himes contributes a perceptive story on the Nigerian skinsman Tony Allen, a panel of experts give the drum solo some due respect, and we check in with kitmasters like Adam Nussbaum, Eliot Zigmund, and Allison Miller. Acknowledging that there’s more to percussion than just drums, we also got four of jazz’s leading vibraphonists together for an in-depth chat.