We recently caught up with world drum extraordinaire, Yonrico Scott. Scott will be performing tonight with The New Stew a short walk from the White House tonight at The Hamilton (Tickets & Event Info).
When Devon Allman was approached with the concept of Royal Southern Brotherhood he thought it’d be a bad idea “like putting 5 quarterbacks in one room.” Sometimes “supergroups” don’t really meet expectations as they can be poorly rehearsed or lack that depth of chemistry even with great players. In your opinion what does it take to create a supergroup of musicians who can interact and communicate well with each other?
I can’t speak for Devon. But I have been in a lot of the situations where you have a lot of talented musicians. The rule that I keep and I have kept through my over 50 years of playing as a musician is that you always call the good cat with a A game and listen and be a team player. I personally never had a problem with being told or asked. I have to be surrounded by good players and good music to make my spirit feel the way you should. And jam.
How do you handle playing in different situations? You’ve played with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Whitney Houston, Outkast, Widespread Panic, and Derek Trucks among many others. These names run a large musical spectrum. What’s the key to adapting to each situation while also making sure you can add something to the mix that is a signature Yonrico style?
I am a very lucky man to have play in so many different musical situations. But that’s what I do.
Like planning [a] Broadway different reading interpretation, [in] playing jazz, you know interpretation history playing blues funk. They all are different but the common factor is that Yonrico Scott is playing it, I gotta put my own Kool-Aid in the mix. It always was fun for me to make it my own. I am living testimony that there are serious benefits to being a aged musician.
Make it your own.
The New Stew has some great session players from the Atlanta area (such as David Yoke). What is the best part about having a great balance of studio and live work in your life?
[It’s] the balance of life to be able to play in the studio create new new music magic. To play live music, which is where it all starts, is what it’s all about. Lately I’ve been very blessed to play with the Royal Southern brotherhood good we do our album year. I’ve also record it was Samantha Fish, Mike Zito, Devon Allman, Diane Durrette, and a HUGE host of others– I love the play those Big Drums.
Many musicians are intrigued by music from other cultures (Jimmy Herring says this in a video interview from a few years ago). You’ve traveled to over 27 countries. What music from other cultures has open your mind creatively?
[I’ve] be very blessed to also have been traveling a lot in the last few years. We have gone over 35 countries with RSB. I’ve slated a term called World Blues. Because that’s what we play music from around the world. But I am fond of the African Q & Indian classical rhythm. I love it all it all has a thang. I play World Big Drums.
What advice would you give music fans of any genre? As fans how can we ensure the longevity of quality musicianship? Are we too close minded in our musical selections these days even with the age of the internet?
Yeah, the Internet has made it easy to be into one of two things or a lot of things. It depends on the person and how they were raised. About the life and longevity of musicians. You must study it all, I mean all !!!
I laugh at the young brother who comes to me and said, “Hi Yonrico, I’m a rock drummer.”
I say, “No you are a drummer. A REAL CAT CAN PLAY IT ALL . It’s just music, art,
a sign of the time.”
I also laugh at the drummer or player who know no Music theory. I write, play piano and try to be able to communicate at a musical level– why? because this is my LIFE WORK !!!
You’ve worked on all sorts of recordings over the years, sometimes in a producer/arrangement capacity, including rearranging “Georgia State of Mind” for Ray Charles. What are the most fulfilling and tough moments you’ve had in a “director” capacity?
Yes over years a lot of recordings. A lot of collaborations, like the ones with the Derek Trucks band.
The recordings were great Thru the earlier years were all produced by other people. I was just blessed to be a part of those recordings. As of late I’ve been producing five solo CDs and a few underground CD’s. Now I’m in Royal Southern brotherhood and New Stew & My Band.