Monday, May 22, 2017

Joey Baron & Robyn Schulkowsky

We are wrapping up a long weekend up here in Canada, so kick back, relax and enjoy these two clips of Joey Baron and Robyn Schulkowsky, engaged in a true "percussion discussion":

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Conor's Corner: Applying Rumba to the Drumset

This is the first post of what will hopefully be a series of guest blog posts brought to us by my friend and very fine Irish jazz drummer/educator, Conor Guilfoyle. Conor has been sharing wonderful lessons and excellent practical drumming information via YouTube and his website for some time now and I'm thrilled that he will be able to share his great explanations here as well:

"Applying Rumba to the Drumset" - Conor Guilfoyle

Cuban Rumba with its heavy African influences has a vast and rich tradition. It was developed in the cities of urban Cuba at the end of the 19th Century, where it still thrives today, before moving to the USA and then the rest of the world. While there have been some changes in instrumentation and phrasing, its ability to develop while still keeping the original structures in place has kept it relevant today.

In my lesson I'm looking at just one form of the Rumba, the mid-tempo style called "Guaguanco", and to be honest it's just a toe in the water of this vast musical ocean. I also purposely avoid using any percussion extras such as the claves or cowbells but rather use the standard drum kit to recreate the sounds. A rumba ensemble consists of three conga players, a stick percussionist, and singers as well as dancers. We cannot possibly hope to recreate that sound, so instead I focus on the interaction between the clave and the standard conga pattern. If you wanted to take it a step further you replace the clave pattern with the "Cascara", which is a common stick pattern used in many styles of Cuban music including Rumba.

You'll find this pattern and other common Cuban rhythms that I have applied to the standard kit at this link here:

The key of course is to listen to the music. Below is a list of some of the great exponents of this style. Just put their names into YouTube and it will yield a treasure throve of great music. Be careful though, you might never come back!


Recommended Listening:

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
Los Papines
Pancho Quinto
Tata Guines
Mongo Santamaria
Potato Valdes
Joaquin Pozo

Monday, May 15, 2017

Joe LaBarbera Up Close

Today's blog post features a nice side profile view of the great Joe LaBarbera in action, featuring baritone saxophone Master Gary Smulyan with the ever swinging John Clayton on bass:

This next one is brief and obviously a commercial for Gretsch Drum's current stock of snare drums BUT it's also a great excuse to check out Joe's exceptionally fluid and loose snare drum technique:

I think it all looks good and sounds good to me!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bone2Pick: Dennis Mackrel Interview

Thanks to Calgary's Andre Wickenheiser who passed along this interview with the great Dennis Mackrel, from trombonist Michael Davis' on-going series web series Bone2Pick:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Memphis Nussbaum

Thanks to the kind people over at the Memphis Drum Shop and Zildjian Cymbals, here's Adam Nussbaum with a few short but very important drums lessons to take note of:

If you dig further on their YouTube channel you'll also find many, many clips of Adam demonstrating an assortment of Zildjian's latest cymbal offerings and they all sound great!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Spring is in full swing over here and thanks for checking back (it's actually snowing outside my studio window as I write this!) Anyways, here's a bunch of different things on the go and worth checking out this week:

- An older article but here's Canadian journalist Paul Wells on Montreal-now-New Orleans-based drummer John Fraboni's attempt to invite Elvin Jones over to his house for dinner!

- Another older but very good piece on Tony Williams from Jazz Profiles:

- We know Joe Lovano as one of the world's great Jazz saxophonists, but he's also a great drummer too and shows a great reverence for the great drummers. Here is an interview with Lovano from Greenleaf Music:

- The Drummer Resource Podcast is always a great source for interviews with different drummers, covering a variety of styles. In this episode Nick Ruffini speaks with Berklee professor and Alan Dawson disciple John Ramsay:

Billy Drummond is also interviewed at the Drummer's Resource Podcast over here:

And thanks to saxophonist Jeff McGregor, Drummond is also interviewed via the ongoing SmallsLIVE Workshop Podcast:

- The Drummer's Journal is a wonderful on-line magazine. I'm always really impressed by not only the content but also the layout and artistic choices that go into the presentation. Check it out here:

Definitely check out recent features with Steve Gadd and Peter Erskine.

- Han Bennink is featured over at NPR Music in a lovely segment entitled "The Jazz Drummer Who Makes Music Out of Everything":

- Jesse Simpson is quickly making a name for himself as a fine cymbal smith. Check out this little feature:

- Quincy Davis offers another "Q-Tip" lesson, offering some suggestions on how to develop your single stroke rolls:

Also, a huge congratulations to Quincy is due as he recently accepted the position as drum professor at the University of North Texas!

- A great lesson with David Garibaldi, breaking down the King Kong Beat:

- A little drum n' bass with Toronto bassist Mike Downes and Larnell Lewis:

- Another segment featuring Antonio Sanchez from the upcoming documentary "The Art of Listening":

- Now here's some fun music....The WDR Big Band featuring two projects with drummer's Al Foster and Billy Hart!

- What am I listening to these days?

Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera "Silent Voices" - Adam Nussbaum (drums)

Antonio Sanchez "Three by Three" - Antonio Sanchez (drums)

Joe Lovano "Tones, Shapes and Colours" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Gene Krupa & Louie Bellson "The Mighty Two" - Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson (drums)

Hugh Fraser Quintet "Pas de Problems" - Blaine Wikjord (drums)

Hugh Fraser Quinet "Looking Up" - Buff Allen (drums)

Nate Waters Quartet "Contra Contrafact" - Bobby Wiens (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to the great Jack DeJohnette:

"Listen really well, inspire the other musicians, be a team player, and know when to provide the fire, the intensity and the dynamics to the group. Be prepared to play what you don't know..."

- Jack DeJohnette