13:25 • 18.09.18
By Lara Pellegrinelli for The New York Times
“You can have all the swirling harmony in the world,” the drummer Brian Blade said, “but only the cymbals can put you over the top of that mountain you’re trying to climb. The tension is the beauty of it, like riding a wave until you need it to crest.”
Mr Blade, who is best known for playing with the country music singer Emmylou Harris and the jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, said he thinks of his cymbals as an extension of himself, though he also gives credit for his distinctive sound to the instruments he plays: Zildjians. He has endorsed the brand for 20 years, just one in a long, diverse roster of musicians to do so.
Zildjian was incorporated in the United States in 1929. But the company’s relationship with drummers, and drumming itself, dates back much further: 400 years to be precise, to 1618, when a secret casting process resulted in the creation of a new bronze alloy for the court of Sultan Osman II, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire.
“My father always said that the name is bigger than any one person in the family,” said Craigie Zildjian, the company’s chief executive officer (the first woman to have the job), a member of the family’s 14th generation of cymbal makers. “In other words, you have this little piece of 400 years. Don’t screw it up.”