I 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: