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Showing posts from December, 2013

Year End Review—The Best recordings of 2013

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Once again it's time for my year end review. And what a year it's been! Lot's of great music, books, films, and other artworks. Let's get started.

Recordings




David Bowie - The Next Day
What a surprise when Bowie dropped this unexpected release on us. Even better that he also dropped a whole album full of extra tracks. This has received a lot of play by me. It's very much late period Bowie (think Heathen), with traces of his whole career. Outstanding tracks for me are: Where Are We Now?, Heat, and God Bless The Girl.




Queensrÿche - Queensrÿche
Forget the fact that there are 2 version of Queensrÿche out there now (one lead by Geoff Tate, the other by the 4 other band members with new singer Todd La Torre). This is by the La Torre fronted band and the music is killer! If you love the heavy sound of the old Queensrÿche, then this is for you. La Torre has the power and range to deliver a stunning vocal performance. Drummer Scott Rockenfield is absolutely on fire here! Best tr…

The Myth of the Rudiments on Drum Set - Part 2

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Most drummers are familiar with the name Buddy Rich. He has been acknowledged as one of the greatest, if not the greatest drummers of all time. His drum solos are legendary (as was his temper!). Ages ago, Buddy, at the urging of his friend, the great drum teacher Henry Adler, sort of put his drumming into a book, called Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments. This book is a rather great and enduring book on the (then) 26 drum rudiments and variations. It has gone through multiple printings and a recent upgrade/modernization.









The thing is, Buddy was a jazz drummer. From what I know, he never played in a marching band, drum corps, or symphony orchestra. Buddy was about jazz. And if you go through the book, there is not one jazz rhythm, or one cymbal note to be found! Let's look at 2 examples:



OK, so I'm at the gig swinging (or if it's a rock gig, grooving) and in the chorus I pull this out and proceed to nail it perfectly. The result would be a rhythmic…

The Myth of the Rudiments on Drum Set

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OK, I come out of a heavy rudimental/drum corps back ground. I spent a lot of time in my younger days shedding on the rudiments and marching. Snare drumming was a big interest of mine. I marched in high school, university, and drum corps. But you don't really need to be up on the rudiments to play drum set, which has a completely different musical context than marching. Ringo, Charlie Watts, and Levon Helm all had great careers without working up their ratamacues. Sure, there are drummers like Steve Gadd, who comes from a rudimental back ground, but he's more an exception then the rule.

I'm not saying the rudiments are unnecessary, but unless you are going into drum corps, or are just really into the rudiments, there's not a big need to shed on them to play drum set. Now I believe in the rudiments, as there is a lot of benefit to be derived from mastering them. The rudiments are very sound and fundamental building blacks of good drumming technique. They are a great way …

There Is No One Way

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It's easy to get caught up in the way you do things and think that it's the only way. Or you can look at other bands/musicians and think, "They're doing it wrong," or, "My way is best." But the Universe is vast, and there are many ways to reach the same end. 

That's one thing that attracts me to percussion: everyone's drum/percussion set is different. A piano is a piano, a trumpet a trumpet, a sax a sax, but drum set ups are always different and different sounding. This can often make the same piece of music very different sounding depending on who plays it. A good example is one of my favorite solo percussion pieces, Six Japanese Gardens, by composer Kaija Saariaho, scored for solo percussion and backing electronics. Here are 5 different performance videos from YouTube (there are even more videos of others performing this popular piece). The thing to notice is how each drummer uses different sounding instruments, which gives each performance a u…