Duple Chant in 9 #2

Weights refers to the specific turning points inside chants. Weights can also be looked at as accents or the overall “skeleton” as I like to call it. Here, the chant is subdivided in 9 by groups of 2/3/3/1 or 2/3/4. The chant neatly fits into the hat and bell-shifting pattern. The weights 2/3/3/1 or 2/3/4 completes the full cycle. The chant begins with a pedaled hat at the top alternating with the bell of the ride cymbal. The top of the chant comes around every two times. Notice how the characteristics change dramatically at only three tempos of 120, 200 and 250 BPM.

Richie’s Burger Joint NYC with Oz Noy, Brad Miller & Patrick Bartley Jr February 21, 2017

New York City bassist Brad Miller invited me down to do an impromptu gig on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in an unlikely space called Richie’s Burger Joint. Richie’s shares a space with the neighborhood butcher shop Schatzie’s Prime Meats. If you are into burgers and beer, this is the spot. Serving the neighborhood since 1911. Brad formed a relationship with the owners and created a gig there where he performs every other week with guitarist Oz Noy along with featured guests. richies2.21.17I never played with Oz but have seen him perform at The Bitter End in 2008 with the great drummer Rocky Bryant. No discredit to Richie’s, the acoustics in this joint were horrendous as I hated the way I had my snare tuned that night. I also didn’t like the ride and hats. Normally live, I use a Zildjian K Custom 22 inch ride and K Mastersound 14 inch hats. Those floor tiles had that metal bouncing back in my face sounding a bit too harsh for that room. I should have used my K Custom High Definition 22 inch ride which has a much softer attack and projection. 13 inch Quick Beats or 13 inch A Custom Mastersound hats would’ve created a much tighter crispness. Oh well! The gig turned out fun, but went by in such a flash. I just met Oz officially that night along with saxophonist Patrick Bartley Jr. As you’ll see a couple tunes into this video, Patrick has some cowbell chops too! Usually, I can’t stand when someone grabs a cowbell and annoyingly gets in the way, but Patrick was in the pocket and kept it moving to the k.i.m. Then of course, Oz and Brad were having some great abstract harmonic conversations. Brad is finding his identity on the instrument as Oz is just bringin’it! GREAT PLAYING from everyone on this laid back night. I like how NYC musicians keep the gear simple and work with basic inexpensive garage band gear too. Little amps and a few pedals, badda bing!

Duple Chant in 5 #5

The chant begins with a pedaled hat and kick. The hat and ride keep the pulse on opposite ends. The first snare lands on the “a” of beat 2. Once that is established, everything takes shape. Tempo changes dramatically shift the feel of this particular chant. The slower the tempo results in a funkier feel. The faster tempo results in a robotic feel. It takes two measures to get back to the top of the chant. While improvising, as with all chants, it’s always best to keep the chant going mentally. Physically, by keeping the pedaled hat constant, it’s almost impossible to lose place as long as the ride cymbal is always opposite the hat. Again, Duple Chant in 5 #5 may sound simple, however strong focus and relaxation can help pull this off seamlessly.

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.