Cymbals

For most of my life, I have been fascinated by cymbals, particularly the older "K Zildjian" cymbals made in Turkey until the factory went out of business in the mid-1970s. On pretty much all of the great jazz recordings by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc., you can hear these cymbals being played by the likes of Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, etc. They are hand made works of art, and no two are alike. A good one is like a Stradivarius, and they are becoming rare.

Arguably the greatest cymbal-maker in modern times was the legendary Roberto Spizzichino. He, more than anyone else, succeeded in recreating the "old K" cymbals, making them one-at-a-time in his small workshop in Pescia Italy. I had the incredible honor of meeting Roberto and spending a couple of days with him on two occasions - in 1994 and 1996. In addition to his being one of the great artisans of the world, he was also one of the kindest men I've ever met. I was amazed that he so generously spent many hours sharing his passion for cymbals with such a very ordinary drummer as myself. Sadly, Roberto died in November 2011 after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was making cymbals right up to the end.

Here is a wonderful documentary video of Roberto making cymbals.

And here are a few pictures I took of Roberto during my "pilgrimage" to meet him, as well as his cymbals, the galvanized steel drums he also made, his quartet, and the wonderful hills of Pescia where he lived:

Thank you Roberto for your cymbals, your kindness, and for making the musical world a better place. We will miss you.

click here to return to Scott's homepage