Todd Bishop’s New Album, Travelogue, Out Now

Todd Bishop - TravelogueTodd Bishop of the Cruise Ship Drummer blog puts out a high volume of interesting, valuable and varied drum set lessons and exercises. I like to show my support by buying the stuff he’s got for sale like his books and records.

It’s come to my attention that Todd’s latest album, Travelogue, is out so I thought I’d give it a mention here. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but you can preview it on the record label’s site or at the Amazon MP3 music store where you can also buy it.

From the label’s site:

Portland drummer Todd Bishop follows up on his collection of rarely performed Ornette Coleman compositions, 2012′s “Little Played Little Bird,” with an album of mostly original music, again featuring the great Brazilian pianist, Jasnam Daya Singh (until now known as Weber Iago), Seattle saxophonist Richard Cole, this time performing on several woodwinds, and Portland bassist Chris Higgins. The group’s compositions were inspired by the band’s recent tour of Europe and their ongoing collaborative processes which have only grown richer over the last several years of performances together.

http://originarts.com/recordings/recording.php?TitleID=82664

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The Art & Science of Groove, Benny Greb’s Indigogo Project

20140705043405-05_bg_dvd2_teaser_v01_.Standbild014Here’s a cool idea: www.indiegogo.com/projects/bennygreb

Benny Greb is producing a high quality DVD via the crowdfunding site Indigogo. I think it’s a positive thing to produce this stuff independently.

The video pitching the idea sounds encouraging, there’s a few seconds of tap dancing which is an artform closely associated with the drum kit, according to Freddy Gruber talking on one of the videos I watched on Drum Channel recently. Then Benny talks about the myth of groove or musical feel being something you either have or you don’t have and how he wants to show us how this is untrue, that it’s something you learn. I think it’s true that some people are born with an innate musicality but me and Benny are in the camp of those who had to work on it.

I’m not sure the world really needs another drum DVD but it will be interesting to see if this project can deliver something fresh. For someone with an almost fetishistic compulsion to acquire drum education materials, it’s an irresistible proposition.

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Chaffee Linear Patterns Lesson Video

Chaffee - Time Functioning PatternsI found this video demonstrating numerous ways to apply the linear sticking patterns from Gary Chaffee’s Time Functioning Patterns. The ideas are explained really well and the lesson gives a basis for much exploration. It’s a good idea with this material to work on one pattern comprehensively until you internalise the principles embodied in the variations. This will make it easier to hear the music in the other patterns and will make application flow more easily. Then again, you might prefer to work on one of the groove ideas with all the patterns and then try a fill on all the patterns and so on. Depends how you like to work.

The grooves and fills you can create using these patterns sound really cool and are great for developing fluidity, dynamics and control but I have often struggled find uses for linear patterns in styles I play. I quite fancy getting in to some of this and figuring out what I can do with it. Any suggestions welcome.

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Royal College Of Music Festival Of Percussion – With Gavin Harrison

Royal College Of Music Festival Of Percussion 2014The Royal College of Music Festival of Percussion takes place in London on the 6th of July. I attended last year’s event where I got to see the amazing John Riley, a clinic with Geoff Dugmore, a jazz trio, some classical percussionists, Nick Mason and a big band. It was a brilliant day out which I wrote about here and here.

This year’s festival features the super-competent Gavin Harrison who has many notes to play, I imagine. It also features performances and workshops in a multitude of styles and culminates with a big band show with four drummers including the complex Mr Harrison and the lovely Ralph Salmins who will probably start thinking I’m stalking him (I’m glad I’m not free to see him in clinic at Wembley Drum Centre next week).

The tickets are cheap and the day is packed with stuff for drummers and percussionists of all shapes and sizes, if you’re free you should go.

Check out the details on the RCM’s website, http://www.rcm.ac.uk/percfest, or download the flyer:
Royal College of Music Percussion Festival 2014 Brochure.

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Little Barrie Release Their New Album – Shadow

I had a great night on Tuesday at the famous 100 club watching Little Barrie deliver a great performance. The band’s vintage sound is brilliant, and the songs catchy and energetic. Drummer, Virgil Howe’s got great feel and a vocabulary straight out of the early 70′s classic rock scene.

Visit the website – www.littlebarrie.com

Their new album is called Shadow and you can preview it here:

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Great Drum Educator, Chuck Silverman, Sadly Died

chuck-silvermanI am deeply saddened to hear about the sudden loss on May the 1st of Chuck Silverman, a great drummer and drum teacher notable for his amazing knowledge and love for Afro-Caribbean music (or Latin as we lesser mortals would call it) and expertise about the drummers of James Brown.

I didn’t know Chuck, although I had been trying to arrange a Skype lesson with him (West Coast USA and London are temporally mismatched for this sort of thing) but he made a substantial contribution to my drum teaching and my personal development as a drummer.

As I recall, I first came across Chuck’s website during my early days on the internet using a hand-me-down 486 (!) and a 56k modem. I think his must have been one of the first drumming websites and it had a wealth of information and exercises to browse through.

I love Chuck’s Practical Applications book, a fantastic guide to the drum kit applications of Afro-Caribbean grooves like Cha-Cha, Mambo, Samba, Cuban 6/8, Mozambique and more. The book does a great job putting across the basic grooves and developing variations in such a way as to assist students in mastering each style. The book also encourages developing one’s own variations and applying the knowledge and skills gained to other styles. Practical Applications helped me get to grips (although you might dispute that if you saw me play…) with Afro-Caribbean styles in a way I couldn’t get from other books. I found the book particularly useful for my recent work playing a residency with a jazz trio which involved a fair number of Bossas and Sambas. A well recorded and played Cd is included.

Another book I’ve been in to recently is The Latin Rudiments, applying Latin rhythm patterns like Clave and Cascara to rudimental patterns. It’s a great way to evolve stick technique beyond the familiar rudiment studies.

Chuck’s book on James Brown’s rhythm sections co written with Alan Slutsky, The Funkmasters – the Great James Brown Rhythm Sections, is another drum education gem which includes guitar and bass parts so that the songs and grooves can be worked on in collaboration with other rhythm section musicians. The book comes with a good sounding CD with recordings demonstrating each instrument on its own and then the full ensemble.

This is starting to sound like a sales pitch but I just wanted to share something of my experience of Chuck’s contribution to drum kit education. A sad loss indeed to all the drumming community.

Zildjian’s site has some info here: zildjian.com/News-Events/2014/5/Chuck-Silverman-Passes

Check out Chuck’s lesson on Purdie’s Rocksteady part here:

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The Real Last Waltz – Alternate Footage Posted on YouTube

Wow, this is brilliant. Someone’s posted alternate footage of the Last Waltz concert which shows the real performance before all the overdubs that Levon talks about so disparagingly in his book. The Band is one of my favourite rock music combos and Levon Helm is truly a master drummer. I love the movie and have watched it countless times but there is nothing to beat a real performance.

Wonderful!

First bit:

Next bit:

Last bit:

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The Science Is In – Drummers are Smarter

Who’d have thought it?

My good friend and associate, Frank from JPF Amplification, drew my attention to this fascinating article.

According to this article, which must be true, drummers with solid time are smarter and their smartness is infectious via the medium of groove. Sounds cool. The ability to create rhythms is linked to the ability to think and solve problems and this problem solving ability can infect others when they’re exposed to a tight rhythmic pattern.

Read all about it here – www.policymic.com

Come for a drum lesson and I’ll make you cleverer.

The only bit they got wrong was about Bonham being a genius.

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More Snarky Puppy – Robert “Sput” Searight

Cool. Check out this performance clip focusing on the drummer. Always nice to watch.

Robert “Sput” Searight? Never heard of him. Quite good, though, innit.

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Snarky Puppy – Quite The Musos

A student of mine mentioned Snarky Puppy to me, a modern fusion outfit playing sell-out shows all over the place. “Fusion” is not normally a term that excites me seeing as I can’t afford the cuisine and in a musical context, I don’t need to be reminded of traumatic experiences listening to Jaco’s solos or Garibaldi’s mullet, not to mention Brecker and his EWI.

But…

Watch this, it’s amazing!

Apparently, they do all their records live with no overdubs and, as you can see here, like to invite an audience to sit in on the sessions (although, it looks more organised than when back in the day there were random people hanging around in studios who would get roped in to going woo-woo on Sympathy For The Devil). On drums, Larnell Lewis. Shredding done well.

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