Monday, December 10, 2018

Jeff Sipe: "Rhythm Patterns for Drum Set"

I came across this wonderful new book by Jeff Sipe via the Facebook and have really been learning a lot from it. If you're not familiar with Jeff Sipe, he is a prolific Master of rhythm and I really dig and admire the eclectic forms of music he plays and his approach to dealing with rhythm on the drum set.

Learn more about Jeff's music here jeffsipe.bandcamp.com and visit his website to order a copy of his wonderful new book here: jeffsipemusic.com

Jeff was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his new book (which I highly recommend):

Jeff Sipe - Four on the Floor Interview: December 2018

1) Tell us all about your new book! What is it all about and what are the goals of your text?

RHYTHM PATTERNS FOR DRUM SET delivers a comprehensive collection of rhythmic concepts, references and adventures inspired from decades of drumming in many styles including fusion, jazz, rock, and jam band improv.

With over 100 pages of original lessons, exercises and resources, this book is an essential reference for any musician seeking to deepen their understanding of time and rhythm and apply it with individual expression. The second half of the book is designed for drummers of all levels and styles; and through its library of fundamental stickings, note groupings, and many styles of drum set patterns offers the student potential for profound technical and conceptual development.

2) What was the motivation and inspiration for putting together this method?

The original motivation for the book was to compile my many notes and exercises that I wrote for myself to practice, all in one complete volume. They included beats, patterns and permutations and philosophy that I thought were helpful to me in my personal growth as an aspiring drummer. It kept growing so realized it could be helpful to share it as a book.

3) How does your book differ from other drumming books currently on the market? What makes it unique?

This book is intended to be a reference book and a source of rhythmic patterns and phrasing available to drummers and all musicians. This contemporary collection of rhythmic studies focuses on the practical part of the vastly larger thesaurus of rhythms.
The basic patterns presented here can be combined to form thousands of very useful hybrid patterns. Once the student has practiced and integrated these patterns, they can recombine them and create hybrid patterns that will increase their personal rhythmic vocabulary.
The first portion of this book is intended for all musicians. It provides a compilation of patterns and permutations based on basic rhythm systems and their possible combinations.

The second half of this book introduces practical drum beats using some of the patterns learned previously. The student is invited to apply and embellish these patterns in order to develop their own individual rhythmic vocabulary.

• Chapter 1: Provides the philosophy and food for thought when considering music making and how to practice and perform.

• Chapter 2: "Time" provides the framework for understanding note subdivisions applied in time.

• Chapter 3: "Right and Left Hand Patterns" is a series of practical “stickings” for easy execution of any multiple note grouping, large or small.

• Chapter 4: "Rhythm & Phrasing" is for all musicians. The content can be applied to melodic and harmonic playing on any instrument.

• Chapter 5: "Drum Set Patterns" gets the limbs working in coordination with each other. Starting with the feet and working up to the hands, the drummer will become comfortable with the foundational patterns that apply to beats and styles.

• Chapter 6: "Drum Beats and Styles" introduces basic drum beat patterns and variations that recombine into longer and more intricate beats. Examples of styles include: simple down beat/back beat patterns, various back beat grooves, shuffles and half-time shuffles, African grooves, and Classic drum beats

• Chapter 7: "Odd-Time Grooves" presents an introduction to odd-time grooves in 3/4, 5/4 and 7/4 time.
4) How do you recommend students and teachers approach working through your materials?

As this volume is a collection of studies, the teacher/student can find whatever interests them and start there. The book is laid out so that a beginner can read cover to cover and flow from philosophy to understanding time and notation to basic patterns and their practical applications, to permutations of those patterns, into established cultural rhythms, into multi-limb coordination, into drum set beats and styles. Some of these notation exercises are complete systems, leaving nothing undone so that all possibilities are explored.

5) What are some of the challenges of putting together a drum method book? What advice do you have for anybody potentially interested in publishing their own book?

Writing and publishing your own book is a great way to understand your own philosophy and your own limitations. My advice is to write constantly and work with an editor whom you trust. They will help you communicate your ideas clearly.

6) Who are your influences with regards to your own style of playing music and drumming? What drummers (or other musicians) do you consider as influences?

I am influenced by thinkers and musicians who are careful with their craft and who have a personal approach. All the great musicians have this in common. The list is long. Everyone from John Prine to John Coltrane!

7) What are you practicing/studying/listening to/researching these days?

These days I practice my book and practice the fundamentals (including metronome exercises). Also listening to everything that comes along. I’m blessed to have friends who are among the best and they keep me on my toes!

8) What other current and future projects do you have on the go at the moment?

I’m recording with Sarah Siskind, Mike Seal, Warren Haynes and other musicians in my area. I have a band called State Birds that includes Mike Seal, Neal Fountain and Bryan Lopes. Also playing with Danny Barnes' Space Program. Kaizen is a trio with Mike Barnes and Mark McDaniel. We play monthly in Nashville.

9) What advice do you have for younger, aspiring drummers and musicians?

Be on the scene. Be helpful.
Create opportunities for yourself and others.
Check your intentions and be true to yourself.
All things pass so be present and enjoy the time that you have!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

More Jerry Gonzalez....

Even more amazing conga videos today from Jerry Gonzalez featuring Steve Berrios on drums. Again, lots of great, basic techniques to be found here and a great companion to follow-up from Monday's post.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Jerry Gonzalez: "Conga Mania"

Sometimes it's really amazing where an internet search for some obscure Jazz drumming resource turns up something unexpected and equally quite amazing instead...

I was very fortunate to hear trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez (who recently passed away back in October) & The Fort Apache band at the Sweet Basil in New York City, back in the year 2000. I had just finished auditioning for John Riley at the Manhattan School of Music and then raced down to Greenwich Village to catch this legendary band (including Steve Berrios on drums). I was blown away by their high intensity music and style of Latin Jazz which seamlessly and very cleverly blended the two genres together of Afro-Cuban music and straight-ahead Jazz.

I was very interested to learn that apparently Jeff "Tain" Watts had sought out the drummer with Fort Apache, Steve Berrios, to learn about authentic applications of Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms to the drum set. It's safe to say that Tain has really checked this stuff out over the years and this is evident in his playing.

Anyways, apparently Berrios also produced an instructional VHS video back in the early 1990s on applying Latin rhythms to the drum set. I haven't had any luck finding a copy of this (hence my internet search...) BUT I did come across this Jerry Gonzalez conga video (from the same instructional series) which also features Steve Berrios on drums. Not only was a Gonzalez a Master trumpet player in the Latin Jazz genre but a Master conguero as well.

So now stop, listen and learn as there is a TON of great information here:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Billy Drummond Recommends...

I am always interested and fascinated with who my favourite musicians are listening to and influenced by. Lucky for us, here's Billy Drummond sharing some of his favourite recordings, specifically ones that have outstanding recorded drum & cymbal sounds:

To summarize, here's his list of influential records to check out (now go do your homework!):

Wynton Kelly "Kelly at Midnight" - Philly Joe Jones (drums)

The Great Jazz Trio "Vol. 1 & Vol. 2" - Tony Williams (drums)

Steve Kuhm Trio "Life’s Magic" - Al Foster (drums) 

Cedar Walton "The Pentagon" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Miles Davis "Filles de Kilimanjaro" - Tony Williams (drums)

Herbie Hancock "Maiden Voyage" - Tony Williams (drums)

Jack DeJohnette "Special Edition" - Jack DeJohnette (drums) 

Jack DeJohnette’s Directions "New Rags" - Jack DeJohnette (drums) 

Cannonball Adderley "Something Else" - Art Blakey (drums)

Paul Motian "Le Voyage" - Paul Motian (drums)

The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine "Remembrance" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Clifford Jordan Quartet "Glass, Bead, Games" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Lee Morgan "Charisma"- Billy Higgins (drums)

And to conclude today's post, here's some great recent footage of Drummond's of Freedom of Ideas band in action (featuring some beautiful Tony Williams yellow Gretsch drums!):

Monday, November 26, 2018

Farnsworth Plays the Blues

From a recent hit at Small's, here's smokin' Joe Farnsworth with the legendary Buster Williams on bass and Dan Nimmer on piano:

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Tain'ish Soundcheck

Just a brief clip of Tain warming up the drums during a soundcheck to get the week off to a good start: