Monday, October 20, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Today's challenging guest blog post comes from Toronto-based drummer extraordinare Max Senitt. I used to hear him play around town all the time while I was living in Toronto five, six years ago and he's also written a series of great articles on drumming for Canadian Musician Magazine.
A little about Max:
Toronto based drummer, Max Senitt, has been playing music for longer than he can remember. He started in his crib, kicking the side with a surprisingly steady pulse. By the age of seven, interest in "skillful banging" continued to escalate, and a drum set was appropriately purchased. Now with more than 30 years of drumming under his belt, Max shows no signs of slowing down. The beautiful sounds of music from all around the world continue to inspire and feed his deep thirst for musical knowledge.
Max maintains a busy freelance career playing a wide range of musical styles with many highly acclaimed Juno and Grammy Award winning artists. Past and present credits include working with the likes of Alex Cuba, Gord Sheard, Hilario Duran, Carol Welsman, Zebrina, Eliana Cuevas, Gary Morgan and Panamericana, Etienne Charles, The Flying Bulgars, Canefire, Elizabeth Shepherd and Odessa Havana.
"The 5 stroke Roll/Venezuelan Merengue Exercise" by: Max Senitt
That’s right! Here is a fun and challenging little exercise that combines an application of the 5 stroke roll inspired by my friend, master drummer/teacher Pedro Barahona, who I met earlier this year while in Chile (you can read an article about that meeting here: http://issuu.com/drumsetc.ca/docs/drums_v26n2_web/21?e=6697883/7572137 ), and two foot ostinatos that come from a very interesting Venezuelan Folk rhythm called “Merengue”. The Venezuelan Merengue is quite different from the more popular “Merengue”, which originates from the Dominican Republic. The biggest difference between the two rhythms is the time signature. The Venezuelan Merengue in 5/8, whereas the Dominican version is in Cut Time or 4/4.
To begin, become acquainted with the first 5 hand patterns. You will notice that they are essentially just 5 stroke rolls leaving out the pause after the single hit that we are all accustomed to doing. This is the element that I learned from Pedro. You will also notice that patterns 2-5 are simply permutations of the first one, or the same pattern shifted over to have the single accented hit fall on each part of the beat. The technique of permutation is a frequently reoccurring theme in my teaching and practice, due to its completeness and challenging qualities.
Once you have a handle on the hand patterns, begin to add the feet. The basis of the Venezuelan Merengue shown in foot pattern, is quite similar to a 6/8 rhythm found in many parts of South America. This rhythm is created by adding one extra 8th note rest at the end of bar. Some of the names of the 6/8 version are: Joropo in Venezuela, Chacarera in Argentina, Cueca in Chile, and Lando in Peru. The 5/8 rhythm has been know to be called the “Drunken Six” due to its limping sensation. As you become comfortable with each hand pattern over the 2 foot ostinatos, have some fun orchestrating the accents around the drums. You can also apply buzz strokes and “diddles” to the accents.
One thing I recommend as you are researching deeper on the Venezuelan Merengue (which you will do of course!), try searching “merengue venezolano” and you will find the 5/8 goodness a lot easier! You can also find some nice Venezuelan Merengue on the latest album from pianist Edward Simon: http://sunnysidezone.com/album/venezuelan-suite
Thanks for reading this article, and if you have any further questions or would like to book a private or skype lesson with me, I can be reached though my website http://www.maxsenitt.com and also found on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.com, and Instagram.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Here's an interesting recital featuring bassist Fred Hamilton with UNT drum professor Ed Soph in a creative and musical demonstration of how to play in duet a with only bass and drums:
This is something that I'd actually like to see more of. In fact, this idea reminds somewhat of an old record featuring Jo Jones and Milt Hinton, playing duets entitled "Percussion and Bass". Montreal bassist Alec Walkington also reminded me a number of years ago about a recording of Paul Chambers and Art Blakey playing duets on the album "Drums Around the Corner" on the pieces "What is This Thing Called Love" and the Irving Berlin tune "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" that were quite illuminating. I also remember having a discussion with Toronto bassist Mike Downes about how he used to sit down with drummer Ted Warren and practice together on a regular basis to get their groove together when they were students at McGill.
Anyways, the lesson here is that it's always a great idea as a drummer to sit down with a bass player and make some music together even if it's just the two of you!
Monday, September 22, 2014
Well today is officially the first day of Fall and I'm still trying to figure out where my Summer went....anyways, despite the changing seasons our foreign correspondents over here at Four on the Floor are still hard at work, collecting a myriad of things to share with you today. I hope you all enjoy these bits and pieces and learn something in the process...
- Toronto bassist Steve Wallace is up to great things over at his blog and wrote this GREAT column on the career of the very underrated drummer Osie Johnson entitled "The Strange Case of Osie Johnson":
Check it out and let's hope that Steve keeps writing about his favourite drummers!
Here's some rare footage of Osie Johnson with Thelonious Monk from the CBS television special "The Sound of Jazz":
- Montreal pianist Josh Rager is back blogging over at X..Y.. Jazz after a brief hiatus. Here's a couple of recent posts dealing with rhythm and how to develop your "inner drummer":
Welcome back Josh!
- Irish bassist and rhythm guru Ronan Guilfoyle completes his excellent three-part interview with Keith Copeland over here:
The video quality isn't the greatest but here's some KILLING footage of Ronan with Dave Liebman and Jim Black, recorded at the 55 Bar a few years ago:
- Matt Wilson hosts this fun episode of NPR's "Drum Fill Friday":
I got 4 out of 5 right!
- Speaking of Matt, here's an old article I dug up where Wilson talks about his favourite ride cymbal "melodies":
- Also from NPR here's a great series on rhythm entitled: "Rhythm Section: Spending a Week Trying to Catch the Beat":
Thank you to Regina, Saskatchewan percussionist Joanne Crofford who sent this one my way.
- Here's an interview with drummer/vibraphonist with the ever insightful Jason Marsalis to check out:
- Thanks to Toronto drummer Max Senitt who hipped me this great website: The Drummers Resource. There is a lot of great information to be found here including several audio podcasts:
Make sure to check out the inspiring and motivating interviews with Peter Erskine, Michael Carvin and Jimmy Wormworth!
- Another nice article over here on Dutch improviser and drummer Han Bennink from "The Highway is my Home":
Thanks to Toronto guitarist Reg Schwager for these finds!
- Thanks to Adam Nussbaum who forwarded these gems of wisdom from the late Chuck Silverman:
There is a wealth of great ideas to learn from here!
- I recently purchased a copy of the latest issue of Rhythm magazine from the UK http://www.musicradar.com/rhythm/ featuring a nice cover story on Tony Williams. However, I was also thrilled to find a great article on British drummer Allan Cox who is currently holding down the drum chair with the Monty Python production in London.
Allan and I have a few mutual acquaintances and he is also the producer of "Meet the Bass Player", a wonderful Jazz drumming play-a-long resource that Terry Clarke first introduced me to when I studied with him and I highly recommend it to all my students and colleagues.
Learn more about Allan and "Meet the Bass Player" over at his website:
- Support your local drum shop and/or music store! Here's an article on someone who's trying to make a difference in Toronto via The Grid:
Best of luck to Toronto's Century Drum Shop!
- Chris Smith has recently written and published a great new book on the life of Mel Lewis that I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on and reading:
- Of course no Monday Morning Paradiddle column would be complete without a few videos of my favourite drummers to share with you all!
Here's John Riley with trumpeter Joe Magnarlli in a duet version of "Invitation" from a recent summer Jazz workshop in Italy:
- I've only recently been introduced to the drumming of Sebastian Whittaker but man, he's great! Here is some really mean brush playing, another duet, on "The Surrey with a Fringe on Top":
- Okay, more duets! Here's a fun one between Jeff "Tain" Watts and percussionist Eliel Lazo to dig your claves into:
I'd love to see Tain and Pedrito Martinez go at it together someday. Just sayin'...haha
- From a recent performance at the Albany Jazz Festival, here's the great Jack DeJohnette in action:
- I've also been listening to this Chris Potter album a lot lately with Lewis Nash and Christian McBride. Here's a killing version of "Solar":
While I was living in Montreal during the early 2000s, many albums recorded on the Criss Cross label (such as this one) were making the rounds of all the used CD shops in Montreal's Plateau district. Why? I have no idea but that was sure a great time to discover new music and that label has exposed me to a lot of great music over the years, great stuff that otherwise might go under the radar.
- What am I listening to these days?
Miles Davis "Bitches Brew" - Jack DeJohnette, Lenny White (drums), Don Alias (percussion)
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers "The Big Beat" - Art Blakey (drums)
Freddie Hubbard "Without a Song" - Louis Hayes (drums)
Branford Marsalis "Trio Jeepy" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)
Jeff "Tain" Watts "Watts!" - Jeff Watts (drums)
Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash Duo "Duologue" - Lewis Nash (drums)
Chris Potter "Presenting Chris Potter" - Lewis Nash (drums)
Benny Carter "Further Definitions" - Jo Jones (drums)
Teddy Edwards & Howard McGhee "Together Again!!!" - Ed Thigpen (drums)
- And the Last Word today goes to....this guy!