Friday, December 9, 2016

New Resources for Your Ongoing Education

Musician First ... 

Mark Kelso is a bit of an emerging star, even though he's been around for a while and has an extensive resume. Mark took over the Percussion Director position at Humber College in 2005, which appears to have helped make him something of a household name among GTA drummers. When he's not teaching or playing with A-list musicians, Mark leads his own 5-piece jazz fusion group, the Jazz Exiles. And in his spare time he managed to put together a very nice educational DVD.

The title really says it all: Musician First, Drummer Second. Mark plays other instruments and is also a composer, which no doubt has an influence on his drumming. You need only listen to some of his work to appreciate the result. Rather than non-stop drums and drumming, Mark has liberally sprinkled the program with original music crossing a number of musical styles and interviews with non-drummer musicians.

There's a lot to be gleaned here, but the main notion that I'd like to offer is that Mark is absolutely correct. Every suggestion, every piece of advice has been thoroughly road tested by Mark (and by me, incidentally). The quality of the musicians coming out of Humber College are testimony to Mark’s understanding of what’s needed from today’s professional drummer.

And the guy is quite funny!

Mark Kelso -
Jazz Exiles -
Humber College -

The Jazz Drum Book(s)

What if your family spoke ‘jazz’ while you were growing up? It’s a question fellow Canadian Leonard Patterson poses in his new book, The Jazz Drum Book First Edition. If music is indeed a language, then jazz must one of the more complicated to learn, and learn the language we must.

Patterson’s book looks at the styles and techniques of some of drumming's greatest early practitioners, focusing on the history and language of jazz drumming. Each chapter gives a quick summary of the player's background and importance. Then comes an analysis of playing style. This is reinforced by exercises derived from some of the player's recorded performances, and helpful transcriptions. Because the exercises come from recordings, the student can visit those recordings to see how and why it works, the key point being that the student of jazz needs to listen.

Nineteen drummers are profiled, covering the recorded years 1918 through 1954 (hence the First Edition subtitle). This book is a great introduction to some of the art's greatest influencers and it presents a wealth of useful and approachable study material. BTW, the Second Edition is now available as well.

The Jazz Drum Book, First Edition, by Leonard Patterson
Self published Leonard Patterson

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