Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ella Fitzgerald's Birthday

I had to post something for such an important musicial date, because like most performers of her stature, it's hard to pick one recording. I do, however have a soft spot for the "songbook" series, arranged by the great Nelson Riddle. It's most likely Alvin Stoller on drums. So, here's "All the Things You Are".

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The drummers of InstaHAM

Hello all,
I think it's time for another rant, don't you? ( Wait, don't answer that.)
Anyone who knows me or has followed the blog knows I have a rather complicated relationship with social media. This is especially true of Instagram. Yes, I know it's a lot of preening teens, bodybuilders, and the like.

But, you know what's the worst, by far?????

The drum videos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The drum-related Instagram stuff seems to generally fall into 5 categories, they are.....

1. Chops Galore.....
This actually also contains two subheadings, velocity of hands, and velocity of feet. Sometimes they have both, but in any case the point is to show how fast one can play without and musical context or any real reason to be playing this way except that,'s fast!

2. I'm so cute!
A type of video where a young, good looking person ( of either sex. Believe me, I've seen some shirtless beefcake drummers on there! ) usually plays along to a track ( often categorized as a "drum cover" )  with super-exaggerated arm movements and a big smile. In essence,  it's long on show-biz, short on content.

3. The showcase play-along......
Arguably a subset of #2,  this features someone playing along to a piece of complicated music that exists only to show-off fancy drumming within it. You won't find any singable melodies, interesting chord changes, or thoughtful lyrics here, because the track is accompanying the drums, rather than the other way around.

4. Stick tricks, pads aplenty, and drum corps gone mad.....
In these type of videos, no one ever plays on a drum, but rather gives us the incredibly inspiring sound of wood striking plastic or rubber. It's really more the idea of being a majorette, but with sticks rather than a baton. Leaving the feet out helps the participants avoid any semblance of even trying to keep time, and again, show-biz reigns supreme!

5. Look everyone! I'm playing a Rock Beat on my drums in a really bizarre place!
What's way better than playing a beat everyone's heard a thousand times? Playing a beat everyone's heard a thousand times in a swimming pool, a snowy backyard, or in front of your favourite barbecue restaurant beside a major highway!!! I'm sure when space travel becomes even slightly more common, it'll be one small step for mankind, but one giant leap for stupid Instagram videos......

Okay, I guess I've been a grumpy old man enough for today, so I'm going to share two underrated drummers I've been checking out lately.  One is the great Bill Dowdy, who played on many recordings but is best known for his work with The 3 Sounds....

The other great drummer I'm listening to is Ben Dixon, particularly with organist Big John Patton. Enjoy!

Ahhhhh. That's much better. To be fair, there are some drummers I do follow on social media. Mark Guiliana, for example. But generally, it's vintage pics of my hometown and cute Boston Terrier videos!
Until next time......