I think there is at least one time in every musician’s life when they are completed fixated on one player or another. You study their style, set up your gear like them, and try your best to mimic their grooves, solos and fills. Sometimes, you can even obsess over them. (Sidenote: A letter to Neil Peart when I was about 15 years old actually did get a reply from the man himself! This was way before email of course).
For me, one player in particular, before Neil Peart, was Mr. Mitch Mitchell. Back in the day, my brother turned me on to Jimi Hendrix, and my first band covered Hendrix tunes. Looking back, I can’t name another drummer who could perfectly weave loose, bouncing jazz chops with the fire, attitude and groove of a rock drummer.
He was one of the funkiest drummers of his time. That is the main reason why I thought it would be great to feature a drum mix of his studio take of “If 6 Was 9”. As you listen you can actually hear the genius at work, with his unorthodox rhythms and fills. It’s all there:[audio:If6Was9.mp3|loop=yes]
He was one of the masters at creating a circular feel. You can hear it every time the band kicks in. He was even moving feels from triplets to straight 16th notes(at about 2:15). You’ll hear a bit of Tony Williams thrown in there too. Check out around the 3 minute mark. He just had something that no one else did.
Hope you enjoy this candid listen inside the genius of Mitch Mitchell.