Friday, September 4, 2009

Vinnie Colaiuta - Freak...

How many drummers had that "what the heck was that?" effect on you when you first heard them? Vinnie Colaiuta was one of those players for me. Back in the 80's Vinnie kept popping up on wierd recordings. I first heard him on a Zappa album. Next I heard him on a Gino Vinelli album of all places. Then Joni Mitchell and a host of other artists that were not what I would call musically related. I recently heard him kicking the crap out of the big band backing up Paul Anka on his Rock Swings album. The cat can play it all, and in way that seems so effortless.

Vinnie was the first "fusion" drummer I heard that could make the outside things he played sound inside. I would listen to some of the things he played and truly had no earthly idea what he was doing.

We all have heard things on records that we had to figure out. Fills or grooves that drove us nuts that had us needle dropping on the turntable for hours. Vinnie did that to me on a Joni Mitchell album called Wild Things Run Fast. The tune was called Dream Flat Tires. Vinnie played a straight shuffle with bursts of a cool afro-cuban 6/8 feel. Towards the end of the tune he played a cool fill that really grabbed my ear.

I have attached a 5 minute lesson video that breaks it down. Check it out:


  1. Fernando CaldeiraMay 6, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Nice blog, thanks for the vinnie colaiuta and steve gadd tabs and videos.
    Big fan from Portugal.

  2. And I thought I was the only one obsessed with Vinnie's playing on this specific album.

    There's one part on the "Refuge" DVD where Vinnie and Larry shake things ups (end of "god must be...")...and they start doing this blistering 32nd note phrase that just keeps building up dynamically....I can't tell what Vinnie's doing?!?!? Do YOU know?