Nick’s Blog (Page 2)
For the last week I’ve been raving to all my students about this ultimate group called Postmodern Jukebox. It’s not a new practice to take a popular song and change it’s context/style. But this group of musicians lead by piano player Scott Bradlee do awesome work! Here’s a clip of them doing George Michael’s, “Careless Whisper” with guess appearance by sax player Dave Koz. The thing to notice for us drummers are the changes in style/feels! They start with a…
Dennis Chambers has always had a great feel in different genres of music. Here he’s playing “Mother’s Tongue” with John Mclaughlin and what a great groove! Comes across like a half-time shuffle with embellished ghost-notes but it’s in 5/8 to boot! Enjoy the flow of Dennis’ playing!
I came across this version of “Downfall Of Paris” a couple of months ago and was blown away by the arrangement. It’s performed by Iowa State University Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Matthew Coley. Fantastic and very moving! “Downfall of Paris” is traditionally played by Drum and Fife, here’s they have fife, flute, piccolo, snare, tenor, bass, marimba, paino and that’s just mentioning the majority! Enjoy!
Vinnie Colaiuta made his name with Frank Zappa in the late 70’s, early 80’s. He went on to become a great studio and touring musician. His work with Sting and Jeff Beck are just some of his highlights to his career! Here’s a video of him doing a song of his solo CD. I present, “I’m Tweeked / Attack Of The 20lb Pizza!” Check out that amazing drum solo while the band vamps on a melody.
In high school I was obsessed with Frank Zappa! The composer/guitarist was always a favorite with drummers/percussionists. He thought and wrote like a drummer. Experimenting with odd-time signatures, odd groupings and zany changes. Here’s a little taste of Frank Zappa with, “Inca Roads.” Notice Chester Thompson on drums, before he joined Genesis! Warning…this is a zany tune!
A friend turned me on to this really cool cover of Michael Jackson’s, “Smooth Criminal.” Notice the shifts in tempo and feel throughout the song! Give it a listen!
If I told you that you should take a listen to a band called, Screaming Headless Torsos you’d turn a cheek. Don’t judge a band by it’s name! This is the funkiest bands to come out of the 90’s. Soulful, funky and chops! Their cd, 1995 was a pure example of these three elements. It had a unknown drummer at the time named Jojo Mayer whose gone on to be a brilliant drummer in the world of Drum & Bass.…
Steve Smith grew to fame with the mega hit band, Journey in the 80’s. Hit after hit that band toured and grew. The drummer, Steve Smith was no rock drummer. He was a fusion drummer! He blended well crafted chops with a jazz feel and sensitivity which was developed through extensive studying of the craft of drumming! Here’s a great video of him in the 80’s when he was in the biggest rock band playing a solo that shows this…
Tony Royster Jr is 28 years old now but his huge claim to fame was that he was a monster drummer by the time he was in his pre-teens. He was on tour with Jay Z in Australia when he came into a club and was asked to join the band for a tune or two. Here’s a amateur video of him that night playing, “The Chicken.” Tony Royster Jr for all his great licks and chops, the dude grooves…
John Bonham, Led Zeppelin, has said to be one of greatest Rock drummers. This is a captivating audio program from the BCC narrated by Dave Grohl. You will learn his upbringing, his rise to fame with Led Zeppelin and most importantly, he was a huge R&B and Big Band fan. So it’s a huge lesson to my students and everyone learning an instrument. Go beyond the surface of your favorite musicians. You’ll find out that what made them was music/musicians…
I’ve always had huge respect for the musicians in Iron Maiden. Sure at a quick glimpse they look like typical heavy metal dudes with skulls and devil horns. But beneath that are songs written about history. For example: “Run To The Hills” is about the mistreatment of the Native Americans. “The Trooper” is about muskets and horses in the Battle of Balaclava of 1854. But that just a few examples. First and foremost, they are just awesome musicians. The drummer Nicko McBrain…
Bill Stewart has made his mark in the jazz world over the last two decades. He has such an incredible feel, ease and dynamic to drums. Check out this awesome display of trading 4’s and 2’s with total ease!
Han Zimmer has conducted and written dozens of film soundtracks, everything from The Lion King to the The Dark Knight. His soundtrack that he wrote for the new Superman film, Man Of Steel features 15 drummers in a drum circle. Awesome concept considering he hired drummers from all the genres under the yellow sun that gives Superman his powers. Here’s the full list of the Superman drummers as well as a behind the scenes video of the session! Matt Chamberlain, Sheila…
Matt Calderin was my third drum instructor, after Jeff Lee and Ken Brooks. Matt was fusion! He had all these great styles meshed beautifully. Here’s a cool tune he does with a killer half-time shuffle. He even does a drum solo in the song. Watch out for that flying stick!
This is one of my favorite hip-hop artist, Mos Def. This performance of “Quiet Dog” has him doing the best rapping while playing timpani. His drummer in the back is doing an a killer job at keeping an…..almost Samba-esque pattern while doing some cool atmospheric fills. Check it out!
I remember being up and watching this Letterman episode when it first aired. I was always intrigued with Mars Volta. The band fuses Blues, Progressive Rock and Jazz beautifully. But they had hired a new drummer, Thomas Pridgen for this record/tour. My goodness does this dude nail this!
Carl Palmer made his fame with the progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Even though the group has broken up Carl Palmer still plays a ton of drum clinics and tours. Check out this super impressive snare drum solo!
This is Dave Brubeck famous tune, “Take 5.” A killer groove in 5/4 and is on my “Nick’s Top 75 Grooves Of All Time.” The song has a drum solo that showcases how well Joe Morello (Drums) has control over his instrument! Dave Brubeck (Piano) and Joe Morello recently passed away but this tune and many others of theirs will groove forever!
As a teenager, I had the Buddy Rich Memorial Concerts on VHS tape. I wore this VHS tape out watching this amazing performance of Dennis Chambers. My goodness, this dude is a freight train of drumming coming at you! Here’s “Dancing Men” with Dennis Chambers! WARNING: Don’t quit drumming after seeing this!
Here’s another groove that is on the “Nick’s Top 75 Groove Of All Time.” It’s “Oakland Stroke” from Tower Of Power with David Garibaldi on drums. I get asked all the time from experienced drummer on how to play this. I always tell them to learn a Songo pattern first. Once that’s mastered, it’s just a slight variation from it! Notice how the person who uploaded thought it was “Squib Cakes.”
As my students know by now, I have a 6 page worksheet called, “Nick’s Top 75 Grooves Of All Time.” The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony” is one of the grooves! It’s a simply two-bar groove but it’s so fun to play along to the song. Here’s a great live performance of that song. Enjoy!
This is Mutemath on The Late Show with David Letterman. Drummer Darren King has a killer left hand and does a cool trick with his ride cymbal at the end! Those ghost notes are jamming through out the whole song!
I love Papa Jo Jones! It’s one video of two performances with Jo Jones. First is him in a combo with an organ player and the other is with George Benson on guitar. Enjoy his Jazz and Be-Bop with a smile!
Yet again, another reason why you should practice your Rudiments and go over your pieces from N.A.R.D.! Steve Gadd doing his drum set version of “Crazy Army.” This totally grooves!
Here’s an incredible concert with Mahavishnu Orchestra with Mr. Billy Cobham on drums. Check out his acrylic drums. This dude’s chops are amazing around John McLaughlin’s guitar phrasing and motifs!
This is a cool version of “The Chicken” that Gavin Harrison did on Letterman’s “Drum Solo Week.”
Omar Hakim, best know for his work with Sting and Weather Report, nails this song with an awesome solo in the intro!
This is one of my favorite artist, St Vincent (Annie Clark). She’s a killer guitar player, singer/songwriter! Here’s a whole concert she does with David Byrne from the Talking Heads. Notice no bass player, just a brass section!
Bernard “Pretty” Prurdie is one of my favorite drummers. Not only does his drumming groove but his positive, upbeat attitude is contagious! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAT9sed_XFw
This is an awesome display of half-time shuffles from Simon Phillips! Never has there been 16th note triplets played so relentlessly!