by: Clive Davis
Dizzy Gillespie All Stars at Ronnie Scott’s, London W1
"With Gisbert performing with such flair, and with the pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist John Lee and drummer Vincent Ector forming an immaculate rhythm section, the group generated the dynamism of a miniature big band."
by: Bill Milkowski
Drum Beat from the July/August 2006
VINCE ECTOR Renewal Of The Spirit
A reliably swinging sideman whose bandstand experience includes stints with Charles Earland, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr. and Shirley Scott, Ector covers a variety of drumming styles on his second outing as a leader. With a dynamic frontline of underrated tenor saxophonist Jay Collins and trumpeter Eddie Allen alongside pianist John di Martino and bassist Leon Lee Dorsey, Ector steers a diverse course that runs the gamut from ballads to blues to bossa nova and hard bop. Special guest Bobby Watson lends his big-toned alto sax to two cuts here in Ector's Latin-flavored title track and a propulsive, freewheeling sax-drum encounter, "The Call."
While the drummer is clearly in the comfort zone when swinging, ably demonstrated on his Messengers-flavored "Melly's Blues" and his invigorating shuffle-swing number "Moving On," he stretches into some different territory on a sensitive reading of Jobim's pensive ballad Luiza” as well as on interpretations of Herbie Hancock's ethereal Butterfly” and Wayne Shorter's metrically shifting Night Dreamer." The Philly native showcases some of his most melodic playing on a brisk clave-fueled rendition of My Foolish Heart," then closes out his sophomore session with a spirited solo drum showcase, "For Our Fathers."
by: David A. Orthmann
VINCE ECTOR Renewal Of The Spirit
During the course of Renewal Of The Spirit (Mambo Maniacs Records), Vince Ector's second recording as a leader, he forges a coherent, highly individualistic style of drumming from a number of disparate elements. One of the pleasures of listening to Ector on the disc's eleven tracks is discovering all of the things he brings to the music while working inside of the parameters of conventional jazz, funk, and Latin rhythms. His diverse sticking patterns, changes in dynamics, and contrasting timbres are pulled together by a fine sense of structure and organization. He also occasionally employs congas and various percussion instruments in novel ways, ranging from a few beats to several measures. Most importantly, Ector does all of these things in support of the music and never sets himself apart from the rest of the band.
Taken at a brisk tempo, "Rooftop," the disc's swinging opening track, is a good introduction to Ector's modus operandi. On the head of tenor saxophonist Jay Collins' composition, he's quite assertive. The snare, tom-toms, and bass drum produce a hard, unyielding, metallic sound. At the onset of Collins' solo, Ector does an about face, and the dry ping of the ride cymbal becomes the most prominent part of his drum kit. Throughout Collins' three choruses and two by pianist John diMartino, he's an accompanist rather than an interactive force. Without ever really calling any attention to his drumming, Ector introduces something new and different on nearly every chorus. Aside from some unobtrusive snare and bass drum comping, he varies the emphasis of the ride cymbal, plays a riff-like pattern on the bass drum in conjunction with a series of light cymbal crashes, works some bracing snare drum accents around diMartino's jabbing chords and, for several bars, strikes a neat balance between the cymbal, hi-hat on beats two and four, and the solid click of a rim knock on beat four.
A piano, bass, and drums trio interprets Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Luiza" as a pensive ballad in ¾ time. Playing mostly simple quarter and eighth note rhythms at a low volume, Ector is expressive in a patient way, creating a firm yet restrained pulse, and providing color by using sticks, brushes and mallets. His execution is flawless. Beginning with light strokes to a cymbal on the first beat of every measure, each of which sounds a little different, he slowly builds as the sections of the song unfold. In the early stages, Ector's strokes are often more felt than heard, and at times his volume is so low that it's difficult to tell whether he's using sticks or brushes. In support of diMartino's interpretation of the melody and solo he frequently employs rim knocks on all three beats. Ector also keeps adding little touches that make a difference—like lightly scraping a brush across the drum head; using the hi-hat pedal to make a smart snap or a light swoosh; or tapping the bass drum in a familiar pattern during bassist Leon Lee Dorsey's bowed solo.
Ector's invigorating shuffle beat is the heart and soul of a performance of his composition "Moving On." During an eight measure introduction consisting of a repeated two-bar vamp played by diMartino and Dorsey, he sets the pace by emphasizing a few elements: Resounding cymbal crashes placed on downbeats; a crackling, repetitious shuffle pattern applied to the snare; and a similar pattern on the bass drum played at a lower volume so that it sounds like an echo of the snare. Both disciplined and outgoing, his drums and cymbals really make the band jump. Throughout the twice repeated fourteen bar head, while Dan Faulk plays the melody, Ector continues with the snare pattern, puts more emphasis on the ride cymbal, and adds stout fills to the snare and toms that briefly offset the shuffle's rigid design. He strays even further during the second chorus of Faulk's solo. Sensing that the tenor saxophonist is about to reach a climax, Ector obsessively hammers eighth note triplets with both sticks, then makes irregular, sputtering hits to the bass drum and cymbal. The effect is electrifying, temporarily ratcheting up the band's energy level before Ector resumes the shuffle.
Ector plays only the cymbals for nearly the entire first chorus of diMartino's solo on the pianist's "Remembrance." His playing walks a fine line between support of diMartino and a semi-autonomous rhythmic line. He doesn't continuously ride one cymbal, yet there's genuine momentum and continuity in his playing. He stays at a fairly low dynamic level throughout, so his rhythms never really stand out. Just when you begin to perceive a specific pattern, Ector is on to something else. Occasionally he'll play a complete, recognizable phrase, but doesn't immediately repeat or build on it. Instead there's an element of familiarity in the way he offers pieces of a few patterns in different places at various times. Ector strikes the cymbals in many ways, including hitting two at the same time, or making 3 or 4 stroke combinations with two sticks. He also utilizes the hi-hat pedal to get a terse, chomping sound and a thickset crash. In a different way than "Moving On," it's a highly disciplined performance that never detracts from the evolution of diMartino's solo.
Aside from his timekeeping and accompaniment, Ector plays several solos on the record as well. Displaying excellent sticking technique and a logical progression of ideas, his twenty-four bar break on "Melly's Blues" is one long burst of agitated movement. Devoid of a steady ride cymbal or constant bass drum, he nonetheless moves the solo along in a continuous, linear fashion. His drums sound large and imposing, yet there's never any dead weight. The snare drum is the focal point, and the dense, persistent bunches of strokes are broken up by brief jabbing forays to the tom toms.
Unlike the highly disciplined shuffle that drives the band for most of the track, Ector's sixty-bar "Moving On" solo is skittish and wildly imaginative. For the most part he plays forceful brush strokes over diMartino's rock hard vamp. Sometimes he's tethered to the vamp; in other instances he flies in the face of it. Ector explores every nook and cranny of the phrase, approaching it from any number of angles. He jams dozens of rowdily flapping strokes into a few bars, or simply makes a few select hits. An anti-climactic ending consists of Ector steadily rubbing the brush across the drum head at a volume way below diMartino's piano.
Drum Beat by: Bill Milkowski
VINCE ECTOR Rhythm Master (Blues Leaf)
As a longtime sideman to the late Hammond B3 organ great Charles Earland, Philadelphia native Vince Ector knows a thing or two about shuffles, uptempo swingers and funk grooves. But he reveals far more sides of his musical makeup than that on his debut as a leader, Rhythm Master (Blues Leaf). While the opening shuffle-swing of "South Philly Groove" is to be expected of someone who spent so much time with the Mighty Burner, what surprises and delights here is Ector's marvelous brushwork-brisk and virtuosic on Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High," relaxed and alluring on "What's New." Elsewhere, the drummer-bandleader turns in a fresh 3/4 reading of "I've Got the World on a String," tackles a Puerto Rican bomba groove on pianist John DiMartino's "Iberian Echoes," then doubles on drums and djembe to work up a hypnotic 6/8 Congolese groove on the title track. And for sheer uptempo sizzle Ector scores big points with his rendition of Kenny Dorham's "Short Story," featuring some magnificent trumpet work by special guest Eddie Henderson.
by: David A. Orthmann
VINCE ECTOR Rhythm Master (Blues Leaf)
Energized by a core trio with bassist Dwayne Burno and pianist John di Martino, drummer Vince Ector's debut displays the loose, enjoyable feeling of a hard bop blowing session, yet the scope of the material and arrangements indicate a great deal of thought and preparation. Inventively utilizing a number of combinations of trombone, tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, trumpet, guitar, and percussion, the set includes American popular songs (eg. "I've Got The World On A String"), jazz standards (eg. "Short Story"), and a few originals. The relative brevity of individual tracks (only three of nine are over seven minutes) discourages any excess or self-indulgence, and all of the soloists make the most of their limited time in the spotlight.
Ector is an ingenious musician who demonstrates numerous ways of orchestrating the band's momentum. The opening cut, his composition "South Philly Groove," is a brisk shuffle that crackles with the drummer's energy and resourcefulness. Without breaking the continuity established by the static but swinging rhythmic pattern, he galvanizes the head by hammering eighth-note triplet fills to the tom-toms, and adds other brief asides. Ector lays back for the first couple of choruses of Bob Ferrel's solo, then jumps in during a pause and sends the band into orbit by mimicking the trombonist's phrases on the snare and cymbals.
On "Groovin High," Ector mobilizes the trio by moving from brushes to sticks and back to brushes, displaying a similar approach to both implements. As di Martino states Dizzy Gillespie's theme, the decisive snap of the bushes predominates; and muffled, run-on bass drum accents and the occasional soft sizzle of the crash cymbal round out the sound of the drum set. During the first chorus of the pianist's solo, Ector's strokes turn brusque, offering a hectic counterpoint to di Martino's bebop-oriented lines. For the second chorus, he switches to sticks, and this time the broad, constant hiss of a ride cymbal stands out, pushing the bass and piano in an unwavering, linear way. Back to the brushes for Burno's turn, he's both lower in volume and a bit smoother then before. Then, as a prologue to an extended drum solo, Ector exchanges eights with di Martino. His weighty, exaggerated hits to the bass drum make for explosive punctuation, shaking up phrases and making the brushes sound almost wispy in comparison.
These kinds of fireworks are nowhere to be found on the classic ballad "What's New." Delineating the pulse by gently pressing the hi-hat pedal on 2 and 4, Ector mostly concentrates on creating texture and color. The smooth sweep of his brushes make a fine match for the breathy tone of Craig Bailey's flute. When Bailey and trombonist Avi Liebovich take turns playing the melody, the drummer intermittently rakes a brush against the cymbal in unison with di Martino's chords. Moreover, he further enhances the music by using mallets in a variety of ways. Carefully executed rolls to the drums at the beginning of the track evoke the rumble of a rapidly approaching thunderstorm. He builds a crescendo on the cymbal that serves as a bridge between Bailey and Liebovich's portions of the melody. And, towards the end of Bailey's solo, Ector's clopping tom-tom strokes momentarily draw attention away from the music's reflective disposition.