My first drum set was a Frankenstein’d Rogers kit that was partial Holiday and Tower series. Both were, luckily was their famous Red Onyx wrap. When you are a kid you don’t appreciate vintage drums, you are more impressed that your favorite players had huge Pearl kits, racks, bright shinny cymbals and whatever cool powder-coated hardware that was trendy at the time. Their were many times I wanted to sell my Rogers as a kid for some cheap, common kit…
Gene Krupa was known for his showmanship and drum solos. Here’s the classic Big Band tune of Benny Goodman featuring Gene Krupa, “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Of course you recognize it for his famous drum solo that the melody is wrapped around. A classic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW2nkA0vjTU
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!
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…
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.”