What I’m Listening To

January 28th

Bill Stewart’s drum playing has always fascinated me. I remember vividly a period of my life where all I would listen to was his drumming. In the clip below, you will hear an excerpt from Bill’s trio, with Larry Goldings on organ and Peter Bernstein on guitar, when they played the Modern Drummer Festival in 1997. The band played a bunch of very interesting songs with breathtaking grooves and solos. Bill’s drum playing can be described as very rhythmically clear and inventive. His groove playing is smooth as silk at any tempo, very inviting to listen to. Check out the drum solo at 6:32, he’s playing a lot of very cool ideas there. If you are not familiar with his drumming, please check out his record called Think Before You Think, Pat Metheny trio’s 99-00 and John Scofield’s Enroute among others. Enjoy!

May 15th

I’ve been listening to Matt Chamberlain a lot over the years. He’s been a big influence on my groove playing. I love the way he articulates his rhythms as it is always very clean and clear. Here he is tracking a song for the George Stanford record called Big Drop. At the beginning of the song, notice how he lays down the 16ths on the hihat and how good they sound. I also like how he plays in and out of the break at 0:23, the feel is very smooth and they are perfectly in sync with the click. Matt also plays a very cool groove at 1:59 using constant 8th notes on the kick drum with a few fills. If you don’t already know about his drumming I strongly suggest that you check out Tori Amos’s From The Choirgirl Hotel, Fiona Apple’s When The Pawn, The Wallflowers’s Bringing Down The Horse and countless others. He’s a master groover!

March 4th

Tony Williams is one of my favorite drummer ever. No question. I’ve been hooked ever since I’ve discovered his playing on the Nefertiti track by Miles Davis (which you should check out). He always displays tremendous control on his instrument, always plays with a lot of passion and fire. He has all the technique needed, has a wonderful sound (no matter what era) and very exciting ideas. I chose to share this clip where he plays with the Stan Getz quartet touring for the release of the Captain Marvel recording. I like the way he solos here and particularly how moves with so much ease around his small kit. He displays so much grace while playing, has so much flow, it’s breathtaking. You can find the whole concert on youtube, which is really worth checking out since there a lot of other astounding moments to be listened to (search for Stan Getz in Montreux). Enjoy!

January 24th

I remember first seeing the “For Big Sid” clip by Steve Smith when I was in college. A good friend of mine (Jay!) had brought this back to his place and we watched it on videotape, it was pretty amazing. First, the abilities and chops really astounded me but later, I was really struck by the musicality of the solo. The piece is called For Big Sid (a tribute to the great Sid Catlett) and it’s a Max Roach composition from his great record, Drums Unlimited. Steve pays tribute to Max in that clip by playing very musical phrases which Mr Roach was known for. Try learning the melody of this solo, it’s really worth it and if you’ve never tried playing drum compositions, this could be your first step in that direction. Hope you’ll enjoy.

December 26th 2012

I first learned about Carlos Vega through Modern Drummer magazine when they did a tribute feature on him a while ago. He has such a wonderful groove and the more I hear him, the more I’m amazed by his control and feel. In the clip that I chose, you’ll hear him play the classic James Taylor song, Country Road. This song is a wonderful challenge to play for drummers as you got to really lay down the groove at this tempo for it to feel good. And take a close look to the drum and vocal duet in the last part of the song, Carlos throws in some really good fills. There are different versions of that song on youtube that are worth listening to, some played by Gadd, Carlock and Kunkel. You should check those too. Have fun!

December 1st 2012

I discovered the band “Of Montreal” through an interview with Matt Chamberlain in Drumhead magazine where he talked about his latest studio sessions. He said that he particularly enjoyed recording “False Priest” with that one man band  (Kevin Barnes composes everything by himself) and you can hear his now famous groove and sound. I picked “Famine Affair” because of the composition and also because I like the two different sounds you can hear on the recording. The first one is heard in the beginning and ending of the piece and it’s more of a muffled and low type thing. The second one, popping out for the bridge, is a more crisp and clean sound. I like how these two textures mesh into one drum part. You got to get yourself a copy of this record, it’s absolutely great!

November 24th 2012

Here’s one of the greatest drumming clip on the net, Vinnie Colaiuta soundchecking his drums before a Chaka Khan performance. That clip is great for many reasons but mainly because we see the master performing without any restrictions and really letting loose. You can really see and hear how much he can play on the drums, it’s astounding. I particularly enjoy the Tower Of Power like groove he plays at 0:47 and the licks he plays at 2:00 when the soundman says: “Play some general tom fills”. He’s definitely an inspiration for me. A big one.

November 17th, 2012

Buddy Rich is without a doubt, one of the world’s greatest drummer. We’ve all seen him perform with his big band many times but I chose to share with you a clip of him playing in a trio setting. The guys are swinging really hard and playing amazing solos. And what about the trades at the end of the piece where you can see Buddy’s outstanding skills with his left hand playing triplets at a killer speed. I hope you enjoy listening to that.

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