One of the ways I’ve remained inspired is that I’ve never stopped being a student – not only in terms of improving my technical abilities, but also as far as studying the history and tradition of drumming.
We always hear talk about New Orleans being such a great music town. Well, here’s a perfect example of WHY. Imagine living in a city where you can walk out your door every day and find this kind of a jam underway. And imagine if that jam was open to ANYONE who showed up with an instrument.
Hosted by singer and trombonist supreme Glen David Andrews, this particular jam incorporates Mardi Gras Indian chants, brass band second line, drum set, and electric guitar. Like New Orleans itself, it represents how musical barriers are meaningless when people come together, find common musical ground and play WITH one another. It’s not pretty, it’s not slick, it’s not organized, but it s damn sure REAL. Jams like this have been going on in N’Awlins for literally two hundred years or more (going back to the slave “ring shouts” in Congo Square)!
The young man in the foreground playing the marching snare can’t yet be ten years of age, but he is “in it” as deep as anyone esle – getting a serious lesson in groove, funk and a spirit of musical community that can’t be taught in school band, private lessons or any other “formal” setting. Without a doubt, he and his peers will grow up to fuse all these influences and produce a new generation of badassery to emerge from this one of a kind city. Just as so many others have for so many generations.
If you are a lover of music, do NOT leave this planet before spending some time in the Crescent City!
If you’ve always loved the classic Frank Sinatra records from the ’50s and ’60s, but never knew who was laying down those impossibly swinging grooves behind him, permit me to introduce you to IRV COTTLER.
Many other drummers also played and recorded with Sinatra in this period (among them Sonny Payne and Speedy Jones – as part of the Basie organization – Alvin Stoller, Sol Gubin, Frank DeVito and Gregg Field ). But Irv Cottler had the longest association, and is definitely worth studying!
On this amazing performance of “Luck Be A Lady” from 1966, Cottler kicks in at 1:16 and shows us all just how to do it. Cottler recorded and toured with Sinatra on and off for over 30 years, starting in 1953. He also played with Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and was in the house band for the Dinah Shore show for 12 years.
Irv Cottler also put out an instructional book and record called “I’ve Got You Under My Skins,” which includes reproductions of the charts he played with Sinatra. Cool stuff!
The Bo Diddley beat is easily recognizable because of its unique accent pattern. Bo used this accent pattern to great effect in many of his biggest hit records. And it became one of the identifying trademarks of early rock and roll. Two drummers were actually involved in the creation of the Bo Diddley beat. Well, really it was more like a drummer and percussionist.
First, you had Chicago Blues veteran Clifton James hammering out the famous accent pattern on his toms. And on top of that you can hear maraca man Jerome Green laying down a solid shaker pattern. When combined with Diddley’s reverb-laden guitar riff, the result was a greasy, syncopated, thunderous wall of sound that blew people’s minds and could truly be defined as one of the first authentic rock and roll records.
My appearance at the 2015 Chicago Drum Show was completely centered around paying tribute to Gene Krupa and the 80th anniversary of the birth of Swing (1935-2015). Dr. Theodore Dennis Brown (aka “Denny”) and I hosted two big events to celebrate Krupa: A clinic in which we deconstructed the classic performance of “Sing Sing Sing,” and a roundtable where we discussed Krupa’s life in detail (including the infamous “drug bust” of 1943).
To see the full performance of “Sing Sing Sing,” check out the video at the bottom of this post.
The set up includes a 14×26 bass drum, 9×13 rack tom, 16×16 and 16×18 floor toms. The cymbals are a combination of vintage plates, along with newer SABIAN and Crescent models (the latter was bought by the former in January, so I endorse both companies). The set up is rounded out with heads from Aquarian drumheads & Percussion Accessories (mostly from the Modern Vintage line), Vic Firth sticks, and a cowbell (a key ingredient in “Sing Sing Sing”) provided by Latin Percussion (LP).
Thanks to all my companies for creating this phenomenal gear, and for their continued support of my “mission” to share the incredible legacy of our instrument!
Daniel Glass plays “Sing Sing Sing” at the 2015 Chicago Drum ShowTo put you in a festive mood for the upcoming weekend, here’s the complete performance of “Sing Sing Sing” from the 2015 Chicago Drum Show. Enjoy!For more on drumming history and evolution: www.DanielGlass.com
Posted by Daniel Glass – Drummer, Author, Educator on Friday, May 22, 2015
So why have I posted a picture of Barry Manilow on this fine Monday morning? No, it’s not to dump a spoonful of saccharin in your morning cup.
It’s because if you’re a drummer, you really need to watch the video below and see what happens at 0:54.
What you’ll hear is Manilow’s 1974 hit, “Mandy,” and what happens at 0:54 is that the drummer comes in. And what is the drummer doing, pray tell? Playing quarter notes on the hi hat is what. Why is this a big deal? Because it’s hard … REALLY hard on a song at a fairly moderate tempo such as this one.
Now keep listening, and you’ll notice that every time the drummer starts to play fills, they are comprised of 8th notes …. every time, the whole way through the song. Again, playing fills of this kind is actually really hard to do at tempos like this one.
What’s the upshot of all this? If you want to improve your straight eighth groove – get “deeper into the pocket” as it were – it would behoove you to play along with “Mandy” and other Manilow power pop ballads. They all follow the same drumming formula, and will really test your abilities not only to keep steady time, but to go in and out of fills without losing said time.
I learned this lesson firsthand when I worked with Graham Russell from Air Supply (yes, Air Supply) a few years back. I was tasked to cut a demo of a brand new Russell original for a Broadway project, and realized that my “power ballad” time wasn’t so hot. SO, in preparation for the recording, I spent three days in my practice space working on deathly slow rock grooves playing nothing but quarter notes on the hi hat and eighth note fills. It was a great lesson and those three days made me a much better drummer.
Try it – you’ll find a whole new appreciation of SPACE, something that most drummers are absolutely terrified of and have much trouble negotiating.