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:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Linear Grooves

I love Steve Gadd's playing. As a teenage drummer in the late 70's I burned the grooves off of several copies of Steely Dan's Aja album trying to learn Gadd's solo sections on Aja. It was a gift when Modern Drummer published a transcription of his solo. No computers and software back then to slow things down. No DVD video instruction by the artist to explain the sticking. Just listening over and over working on different possible combinations and stickings. The Aja album led to the pursuit of other Gadd performances on vinyl which helped introduce me to artists like Chick Corea, Tom Scott, Ben Sidran, and the band Stuff.

Many of his performances contain examples of linear drumming. Gary Chaffee developed the school of linear drumming with his book Linear Time Keeping. It is a great book that helped explain a lot of what Gadd was playing.

I decided to share a little of what I know about linear drumming with a short instructional video that breaks down one of Steve Gadd's grooves. Please check it out and let me know what you think.