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Fancy Joining The Ultimate Big Band?

UK-based drummer and educator Darren Williams has recently launched a cool new project featuring a selection of specially written music-minus-drums big-band tracks. 

Each track, composed and arranged by world-renowned bass player and composer Laurence Cottle, features a wealth of highly respected, in-demand UK session musicians playing a variety of styles synonymous with modern big-band styles. Each track is available without drums (with or without click) and accompanied by a full, downloadable .PDF drum chart. Darren has also recorded his interpretation of each track to give drummers a superb reference point when working on their own versions.  

Having been playing the drums since the age of 12, Darren has a wealth of experience when it comes to big-band drumming having held the drum chair for four years with the prestigious National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO). Following in such footsteps as Chris Dagley, Mike Smith, Ian Thomas and a whole host of other great drummers, Darren performed at venues and Jazz festivals across the UK and Europe, culminating in several weeks at the world-famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s.  

Darren studied under Bob Armstrong (who’s past pupils include Steve and Alan White, Andy Gangadeen, Ash Soan and a long list of other incredible drummers) as well as renowned teacher Dave Hassel. Darren now provides drum lessons from his own teaching practice in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. His drum teaching studio, The Music Den, plays an important role in his life and he takes great pleasure in passing on some of his knowledge and seeing his students’ progress, not only as players, but also by encouraging them to seek alternative careers in the music profession. Several of his past pupils have gone on to study and become music lawyers and sound engineers. 

Alongside drumming, Darren has always had a keen interest in music technology and has been using computers and recording equipment for the last ten years, mainly as a practice tool, however he’s now using these skills to provide high-quality drum and instrument tracks from his facility, The Den Studios, along with recording, mixing and mastering for any type of musical project. 

It’s at The Den Studios where Darren has brought this exciting play along project to life, having been professionally filmed in the studio performing each track alongside long-time friend and collaborator Laurence, recording each track’s bass tracks simultaneously with Darren’s live drums.  

About the project, Darren says…”The idea came about after a jam session with Laurence at my studio back in March 2019. We were chatting about what was available on the market for drummers to practice to and thought we could fill a gap in the market. Our vision was to produce high-quality backing tracks to help inspire drummers from all over the world who wanted to learn more about this amazing style of drumming under the banner of ‘The Ultimate Big Band’”

Darren continues…”So far, the response has been fantastic, with drummers from all corners of the globe subscribing to receive the free tracks. I’ve been amazed at the power of social media in reaching people I couldn’t have hoped to connect with before. It’s very early days but the hope is to build a community around Big Band music, with a view to creating an app and a book in the future. We’ve released three free tracks to date with two more in the pipeline which will be released by mid-July 2020.” 

For more information, or to download these fantastic tracks, head to: www.darrenwilliams.org/big-band