As we come to the end of the first month of the year, rock’s rhythm section has already taken two great hits.
Jaki Liebezeit 1938 – 2017
My first exposure to the music of Can was in 1970 when I heard their debut LP on an import records radio programme. The DJ felt strongly about the album and even featured the side-long track Yoo Doo Right. I was immediately a fan of the incredible sound that this band could make.
After a stint as a jazz drummer with the Manfred Schoof Quintet, Jaki Liebezeit went on to become one of the four core members of Can. The other members were Hoger Czukay (bass), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Michael Karoli (guitar). Czukay and Schmidt had both studied with avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Karoli was a rock guitarist. This made from an eclectic mix of musical influences.
When Liebezeit locked with Czukay’s bass groove, the duo would go on to create an unstoppable force. With this power behind them, Schmidt and Karoli could dive-bomb around the rhythm to create a unique sound.
Jaki would say that his style was an attempt to be “monotonous.” That was far from the case. It was a hypnotic rhythm which was both simple and elegant in its approach.
From the driving beat of Mother Sky (Soundtracks) to the subtleties of Bel Air (Future Days), he could paint a stunning background with which the other members could overlay a foreground of unique and brilliant sounds.
Jaki Liebeziet would go on to play with many other musicians like Brian Eno and also with his own Phantom Band.
He sadly passed away on January 22 due to complications of pneumonia.
Butch Trucks 1947 – 2017
Butch Trucks was one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. From the start, the band was feature two drummers.
Trucks was the steady backbeat of the rhythm section. He was paired with Jaimoe (Jai Johanny Johanson) who added an array of complimentary percussion that would flesh out the backdrop for the band.
Live recordings like the Allman’s classic Live at Fillmore and tracks from the subsequent Eat a Peach showcased the amazing synchronicity between the two players. It would be difficult to imagine the sound of the Allmans without the two of them locked together with a single driving purpose.
Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24.