At PASIC Zildjian introduces new ex-heavy 22″ride based on K Zildjian Symphonic prototypes…thanks to interest fueled by my review on

K Zildjian Symphonic reviewed by T Bruce Wittet

October 19, 2012 Ottawa, Canada: As we speak, I’m loading the car for the 2-hour drive to the Montreal Drum Fest and reflecting on the news that my review continues to generate interest. In fact, last week I received two emails requesting I sell off my own protos, which resemble my early 1960s “Jon Christensen ride” (and Jon’s, too; he’s borrowed mine). Not until monkeys fly…but, I teased the inquirers…maybe the Zildjian booth at PASIC will have surprises in store.

I reviewed the hand cymbal proto pair. Both are punishing in weight, thick at the edges, lathed weirdly, and mottled, just like the century-old cymbals they replicate. I have played those cymbals, too, incidentally. Paul did a fabulous job—a difficult job, too, making a heavy, tight-surfaced ride feel gentle to the touch. So I get credit, as do you, readers of this website, for the new K heavy ride. But there is a twist to the story and one that gives clout and even more reason-to-live for the new ride to be unveiled at PASIC.

Orchestral K hand cymbal prototypes reviewed by T Bruce Wittet

original K Symphonic Traditional Heavy reviewed as rides in these pages

Several months ago, session ace Dave Mattacks visited Paul. Under his arm was a fascinatingly heavy Turkish K I’d played at DM’s house on several occasions. To me, it was the archetypical heavy K in the spirit of Jon Christensen. The heritage, however, most more rock than ECM jazz: the ride was once played by Jim Gordon, who passed it on to Jim Capaldi before it ended up in Mattacks’ hands. I talked to DM and to Paul Francis and my feeling is that DM’s visit to Zildjian put the new K heavy over the top—put it on the fast track for PASIC.

Why bother with an extra-heavy K ride? The thrill is the thin thread

I hear you. But I disagree about all this business about extra-thin rides that wobble at the edges. To me, they’re fine for hobbyists but add up to squat when played by the likes of Tony Williams (and I’ve played a set of his American Ks in addition to 7 of his Turkish K rides including the legendary Nefertiti Ride). Tony sought stability in a ride—in addition to all those trashy lows and seemingly dissonant overtones.

To combine these traits in an extra-heavy ride is no mean feat. The heavier you get, the more the ping shines. In its wake, however, are mundane, “linear” tones that speak of clatter more than creativity.

Paul Francis, however, was fortunate. When he created the new K Zildjian Symphonic heavies, he kept two century-old Turkish K orchestral hand cymbals that defied the rules. While the benchmark K weight peaks at “medium”, these were martial in their heaviness.

What is “heavy”?

Good question. Given they are Zildjian cymbals, basically hand smelted and lathed, then rotary hammered via a computer program that replicated the diverse peen sizes, clusters of blows, and surface tension of the century-old benchmarks, they will vary within a half-pound, give or take.

When I spoke to Paul yesterday, he told me that the one he was touching up, hammering by hand, weighed in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces—maybe 3,800-plus grams.

Zildjian new "Symphonic Trad Heavy Ride" 22"

Sneak peak at new "K Symphonic Ride" 8lb 12oz

The photos tell a story, first of my review prototypes, then of the new ride to be shown at PASIC. Grab a Kleenex; you’ll be drooling.