Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
You've probably noticed a new banner/link on my blog that will send you to a very fine website entitled "Jazz Drummer's Resource" http://lessons.justinvarnes.com. Maintained by Justin Varnes, this website contains a wealth of online video lessons that deal with a variety of subjects related to the art of Jazz drumming. I was first introduced to Justin's teachings via his weekly youtube lessons "52 Licks" in which he introduces and dissects a drum pattern from a different drummer each week (ambitious!) His explanations are very concise, clear and I've learned a lot from watching these.
In addition to Justin's weekly lessons he also maintains a website which contains a wealth of practical information and knowledge that can be immediately applied to your own drumming. After perusing his site I've quickly discovered that I'm going to require quite some time to check out all the great information he has amassed.
Justin was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule to answer some questions and tell us all about his unique Jazz drumming educational website:
1) Tell us all about the Jazz Drummer's Resource. What is it all about?
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
It's been a few years since I've been able to attend the Percussive Arts Society annual convention PASIC. But it looks like this year I really missed out on a quite a few great sessions. However, thanks to the inter web we can still get a taste of all the great things that go one that week.
- Here's Ralph Peterson Jr. playing on his big Mapex kit with a large arsenal of cymbals:
- Peter Erskine discusses at length the importance of playing along to recordings and play-a-long tracks and using them as an effective practice/teaching tool:
- Some nice brush playing from UNT's Ed Soph:
- Glenn Kotche demonstrates his unique multiple-percussion approach to the drum set:
- Steve Fidyk shares some tips about sight-reading:
- I thought this one was particularly interesting. Here's Zildjian's head cymbal maker Paul Francis demonstrating a new line of cymbals, apparently some very thin ones too:
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Well here it is! The last two and a half weeks have been busy, busy, busy rehearsing with Calgary's Decidedly Jazz Danceworks company, putting together the pieces for Kimberly Cooper's latest creation: "Better Get Hit in Your Soul: Dances Inspired by The Music, Life and Times of Charles Mingus".
The show features a cast of seven very talented dancers with a three piece band (with yours truly on drums) and the production uses music that spans over the course of Mingus' career including pieces such as "Haitian Fight Song", "Tonight at Noon", "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and selections from his epic through-composed compositions "Epitaph" and "The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady" among others.
Cooper has done a masterful job of choreographing some very challenging movement to Mingus' music while at the same time capturing the spirit and depths of his giant personality. The dancers are rising to the challenge every night and raising the bar for all of us. It's very exciting to be a part of such a creative project like this, done at such a high level. I like to think that Mingus would have been impressed and enjoyed what Kim has done with his music.
It's also been a great opportunity for me to get deeper inside the music of Mingus and, in particular, the drumming of Dannie Richmond (who's contributions are very underrated in my opinion...). To say I've been getting a workout on my uptempos and fast 3/4 grooves would be an understatement!
We even got a stellar review in the Calgary Herald:
Here's a taste of the show!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Having just heard that the great Chico Hamilton passed away today, I thought it would be suitable to post this very cool early Jim Henson animation (of The Muppets and Sesame Street fame!) done to a Chico Hamilton brush solo: