Friday, November 29, 2019

The Singles Scene

Okay, the title is VERY ironic! I got married in June and have never been happier.

No, I'm talking about single strokes. The first rudiment. In my opinion, the most challenging rudiment. Lastly, in my playing it's the rudiment I'm most dissatisfied  with.
So.... were a little early here, but I think 2020 is going to be the year I focus somewhat on my single strokes. meaning, I'm going to practice them every day and  try and find new ways of applying them.
Couple of other things.
-I'm going to attempt to increase my relaxation as the tempos go up.
- I am going to completely forget about it when i go play with people.
- At the end of 2020, I'm going to take stock, and see what ( if any) progress I have made.

Here's any early set of exercises I'm doing. The first one is pretty commonplace, but I think the 2nd one is mine. It seems easy to look at but it's certainly challenging for me.

Okay, that's it. I'll keep adding exercises and let you know how it's going.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Absolutely Dreaming

Here's some video of Ted Quinlan's quartet recording the title track to our new recording " Absolutely Dreaming" with Brian Dickinson and Kieran Overs. It's always a little surreal to watch myself play, especially while recording, but hey, aside from the fact that I don't look like a matinee idol, I'm okay with it, and the recording turned out really well!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Good Advice from Scott K. Fish and Phil Gould

Check out Scott K. Fish's excellent blog! Especially his recent post on Karaoke Drumming. He nails it! I couldn't agree more! Also, a great twitter post from drummer Phil Gould (Level 42, etc. ).

"I hear all these great drummers, from all over the world, playing with such freedom & ideas. But you know what I’m not hearing? Unique sounds! Everyone seems to be going for the same tight snare, clear heads on the toms. How can you have a voice without having your own sound?"

We live in a world where  folks who go on the road less traveled are often ignored. Thanks to Mr. Fish and Mr. Gould for reminding me what's important!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Jimmy Cobb, Hi-hat 16ths and it's all Punk Rock

So, here's an interview with Jimmy Cobb that's part of the same series that the DeJohnette interview I posted recently was from. If they could manage to talk to Al Foster, Billy Cobham, and Billy Hart, I think they'd have all the surviving drummers that recorded with Miles Davis. (Just a suggestion.) Anyway, despite the fact that Kind of Blue is over emphasized, like it always is, there's a lot of good information here…….

Now on to the 16ths. I recently heard this tune by the late great Michael Jackson.

Now even though Bryan Loren is listed as playing "drums", I'm not sure how much live drumming is actually on this. It did though, get me thinking about 2 handed hi-hat grooves, although I'm not even sure that's what's going on here. Regardless, it reminded me that I'd like to be more fluid with this stuff, so I made up some exercises to work on it. In all examples, the sticking is alternating strokes starting with the right hand.

The notation is fairly standard except for the hatched note that's one leger line above the staff is the left side cymbal, and two leger lines is the right side one.As always, there are some extra wrinkles we can add to make it more challenging. We can do the following bass drum variations: 1) 4 quarter notes to the bar. 2) Dotted 8th-16th every quarter note ( pseudo samba feel ) , 3) ah of one and 3, + of 2 and 4 ( pseudo salsa feel ). Also try accenting the + of every beat with your right hand. This one seems to be particularly tricky in the examples where the RH isn't on the hi-hat for every +. True confessions, I've spent about 2 hours on this so far and haven't gotten beyond beginning example 6. But I view that as a positive. Why? Well, I'm working a lot harder to make sure the examples feel good and I can groove on them for awhile without stopping. One always knows how long to spend on something when we use our ears, not our ego! 

Here's the pdf

Finally, I wanted to post a link to a great documentary about the Clash, hosted by Chuck D of Public Enemy

As problematic as it is for me to promote something that Spotify is responsible for, it's a great podcast and contains a lot of information about one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Although he didn't say it here, it reminded me of a great quote from guitarist Mick Jones gave when he was asked if he though the Clash's experiments later in their career weren't " Punk Rock" enough. He simply said        " It's all Punk Rock to me ". To my ears, that's a variation on the Duke Ellington "good music and bad music" quote. Why put limits on ourselves when we're sculpting in sound?

See you soon. :) 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fred Astaire on Drums

Sorry that I'm mainly just embedding videos these days but I promise there's more new content coming soon. This is really cool though. I got hipped to this via social media, Here's footage of the great dancer/actor/singer Fred Astaire playing the drums in his bedroom during an interview.

And thus the connection between dancing and drumming is further proven. If you ever see any footage of Mr. Astaire tap dancing, you'll realize how great his time was. Also, is this where Tony Williams picked up the 4 on the hi-hat thing? :)