On the evolutionary food chain of the music scene, drummers have to rank near the bottom, right between roadies and unruly fans. Drummers can be flaky, undependable, and prone to suddenly moving to, say, Los Angeles, destroying a band's chemistry and continuity. Sure, there have been timekeepers in jazz and rock who've provided a steady, solid foundation, even fronting groups to fine effect -- Max Roach, Jack DeJohnette, and Leon Parker among them. By and large, though, drummers are more likely to be the butt of derisive jokes than the centerpiece of dynamic musical outfits. That truism is especially apt in the Bay Area improv jazz scene, where musicians come together with all the fidelity and staying power of free-agent ballplayers, hanging around long enough for a gig and a couple of recording sessions before moving on to... More >>>