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Free streaming HD video lessons gives our visitors examples of what’s on the site. Explore the world of music while learning many ways to enhance your musical skills. Thericklessons advances the musician providing all genres and musical angles. Specific attention is given to meter, dynamic, and technique.

Tribute To Miles with Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter & Sean Jones – Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain July 16 2011

This never seen before full performance was one of nine concerts on an exclusive European tour. This tour was one of the highlights of my career. It was the 20th anniversary of the death of Miles Davis and a promoter suggested to Marcus Miller that he do a tribute. Marcus, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter reviewed YouTube videos of various drummers for this particular tour. I was very surprised they chose me out of a number of drummers. This shows that you are always auditioning for the unknown in a posted online video so whatever it is better be good. When the band first got together for rehearsals in Los Angeles in June of 2011, we spent the first day talking about Miles. We didn’t play. All the things I read about Miles were reaffirmed along with added details.
(2011-07-20 16-01-31)EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY KODAK PlayTouch Video Camera Zi10 (3072x1728)
Wayne talked about when Miles sued the NYPD and bought his house on the upper West Side. Wayne spoke sporadically in a picturesque language that you had to experience for yourself. He talked about music the same as describing super heroes. He spoke in a movie-like way. Herbie was very laid back, yet industriously into his technology and toys. He just got a Korg Kronos synthesizer and he was like a kid at the toy store. It was wild watching this man, a Legend of the synthesizer, excite himself over the instrument that he helped pioneer over the last 50 years! It was inspiring to see him interact with Wayne as they had a bond that was obvious as schoolyard chums. Many times after rehearsals ended, Herbie and Wayne would stay behind playing around with the new synth and doing whatever else. I remember Herbie excitedly saying, “Wayne check this out!” And Wayne walked over to the keyboards enjoying the excitement. Man, that was cool to witness. Cats that age, Herbie 71 and Wayne 77 at the time, were still psyched about gear. They were super nerds like myself. It never ends. Herbie drove a smart car with Wayne in the passenger seat to rehearsal every day. They were on the 405 Freeway in that little thing! This was far out for me. Marcus was the Musical Director for the tour. After the first day of stories exchanged between Marcus, Wayne and Herbie as trumpeter Sean Jones and I sat, listened and laughed, Marcus thought we should play music spanning every decade of Miles’ career. He came up with the idea of making the set list a literal soundtrack to Miles Davis’ life. That was the perfect idea thus the set list for the entire tour became final. Sean Jones was new to me. He’s a professor of music with two tenures, a big band, a list of credits and a great musician to boot. Being a great musician comes from having a dynamic personality. In some cases, this is not always a positive, however in Sean’s case, he performs much like his demeanor. Sean and I shared dressing rooms and we had some great hangs. One of the highlights of the tour was a jam session Sean and I played at our hotel in Marseille, France after our last performance on the last night. Sean also gave me some insight that contributed to my confidence as a sideman and musician when performing alongside legends such as Hancock, Shorter and Miller.

Rhythm Master Class at The Kimmel Center Philadelphia, PA November 12, 2016

The focus here is shapes. The Western world is in what I call a Rhythmic Apocalypse. In Western culture, our popular rhythms are based primarily on the duple feel. Triple feel, also known as ternary, seems to exist at a much lesser degree. Duple and triple feel are environments in which simple, yet unique shapes can be created.
2016-11-21 15.00.48Keeping to the shapes as duple and triple feel separate and collide creates a multi-layered sense and approach to rhythm demonstrated in this master class. These are ways of using short-term memory to approach time keeping without counting in the traditional sense. The feel and shape are always the most important things going on for a drummer performing any style of music. Highlights here include a look at duple versus triple feel. Performing a 5 beat pattern clave over a 6 beat triple phrase follows. Long and short beat combinations are used to spell out shapes. The Master Class ends with a multi-layered piece based on spoken word where the students participate.

Five Elements in San Sebastian, Spain July 23, 2016

This exclusive concert performance features myself with Five Elements. Steve Coleman on alto sax, Anthony Tidd on bass, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet and Miles Okazaki on guitar. The music performed here is a perfect example of multiple drum chants supporting accompanying music also rhythmically multi-layered. Things are triggered by horn cues in which there are many. Also certain phrases trigger unusual events.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 1.21.55 AM One of the best ways to understand an artist closely is to know where they come from culturally. In the case of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, you’ll hear everything from bebop to James Brown to Charlie Parker. And of course many other musical references. Every member of this band demonstrates the sonic ability to react swiftly to everything happening. Being the drummer of this unit means I have to pay close attention at all times. Not only do I have to keep my place, I have to be able to hear where all the parts line up. For example, the bass may be totally against what I am playing. I must hear how that happens and at any time someone may throw a cue in a peculiar place. I have to be able to respond at the blink of an eye.

Duple Chant in 5 #4 & Duple Chant in 3 #3

This time we look at a chant in alternate ways. In 5, the chant makes most sense. The accompanying music is arranged in a flow that goes against the chant however it comes around at points. When seeing this in 3 the sound of the chant does not change however, the percussive perception alters. The bar line changes as the note values stay the same in 5 and 3.