FB: After the conservatory, did you do some gigging and traveling? Did you enrich your..? DF: Well I was lucky to do some gigging and touring while I was in school with Bob Moses once, and a few times with George and then afterwards, when I moved to New York, I played in the big band on and off when he had work in Europe. I moved to New York after NEC. And luckily, I wasn't even interested in moving to New York, I was kind of affraid. I though I'd just stay here in Boston and try to get a gig and... But there was a drummer, Ben Perowski, who got me on a gig in New York. One gig. And Billy Heart heard me on that gig, so I played with his band. Through him I connected with Santi Debriano. And then through him I connected with Jack Walrath. And just went from one thing to another. And it was hard, you know, I did break down once and call my dad to pump him for money. But otherwise, you know, I took on every crappy gig that I could and just went for it. FB: The guys you mentioned as performance leaders and players always struck me as having exceptionally big ears. I mean, Walrath got it, he probably had it before he started working with Mingus. DF: Those records Changes I and II, my favorite. FB: Yeah, and then Billy, man, he's like the arch drummer. He was doing free jazz gigs in the early seventie's like in chance, where he was bringing guys from all walks of life. You know Dewy Redman, Oliver Lake, putting all these cats in one game and making it happen. DF: Billy is like the most underated living jazz drummer. Period. Period. And then these things he drops. "Oh yeah I played with Hendrix. Yeah we were in so-and-so's band and Hendrix was in the background, but he did whatever he wanted to do. And he's a... Yeah Coltrane asked me to play, but I was scared, I wasn't ready." And he is on those Miles' records, Big Fun and On the Corner. FB: Mmhmm. I just saw the guy recently, and talk about humility, the guy bases himself before people because he is so respectful of everyone. And that's a great way to be, paticularly when you're at the top of your game and you know, you could be commanding respect, he goes the other way, he takes the eastern obeysence routine. He was praising us as jazz critics saying, "You guys are doing a great job." Wow. This is coming from Billy Heart. I mean he knew me, but he didn't really know me and a couple of other people that were standing around. It's a matter of lifestyle and spiritual level of attainment before you can get to that place. DF: Yeah, he certainly lived it. FB: Anyway, great experiences for you, you're carving out your career with all of these great people in New York, and you want to talk at all about what concepts you drew from say George Russel or Moses, teachers that kind of spurred you in new directions? DF: I can talk about a couple of people. Bob Moses helped me with a great rhythmic concept as in: in any musical phrase there's always a resolution point. And it's not neccesarily the downbeat. And if you can figure our what's the most important accent in a clave or in a groove or even in a melody, what are the kicks, you can almost play virtually anything you want as long as you hit those. And of course a drummer would say this, but he said the most important thing is rhythm. Well I said well yeah yeah you're a drummer, you would say that. And he said no, you can have the prettiest note, the most amazing chord in the world, and you put it in the wrong place it sounds terrible. You could have the weakest note, the ugliest chord in the world, you put it in the right place, it sounds killin'. So that's what, of the many things, I got from Bob Moses. From George Russel, of course his music and his lydian chromatic concept, the in going out going, how close can you play to a chord and how far can you get away, and the various degrees in between. Horizantal, vertical, I'm not going to go into this right now. But his lydian chromatic concept, those basic things, those are things I teach, I use, it's kind of the bible to me. FB: There were a couple of other people here are Berklee who kind of worship that training. I mean Mark Rossi is a perfect example. DF: Right, right. Um, I got a lot of my harmonic language from Billy Heart and Jack Walrath. I got alot of melodic ideas from Reyondalshen and Jackson. FB: There's so many musical drummers around, you know Victor Luis is another. DF: And Shannon. You know what I played with Shannon, that was kind of, you know, he had already hit his, when I was playing with him, I would say in decline, but still, he would pretty late in life, he learned how to play flute, and he would use that to play these really simple floating melodies. They had this ancient feeling. And when it came together it was amazing. The funk, that's from Jean Lake, Michelle Degiocello, and especially Bernie Warol, and playing with him. So although I have degress and I did alot of practicing and I learned so much here in Boston, there's also the school of New York, with specific "professors" if you will, that are as important, if not more important than what I got here in Boston.