Thursday, December 24, 2009

Embark: A Duet in Venice Beach

I am ECSTATIC!! I recorded this over a year ago on my Blackberry while I was walking down a lovely shaded lane in Venice Beach. I was playing a water bottle and my solo turned into an incredible duet. I truly am beaming with pride! I totally forgot about this. This is better than finding a wad of cash in old jeans which ALSO happened to me today!! Sweet blizzard in a nativity scene I'm happy :)

Blackberry photo in Venice :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Africa. India. Ecstasy.

I am excited to be working and learning with Arthur Lee Land. He has extensive experience with the art of live looping. He is teaching me about congas, bongos, djembes, talking drums, cowbells, shakers; the works.

One of his more exquisite loops is drenched with that African sunlight and the moving sidewalk on a moving sidewalk feeling that Elvin Jones is known for. I am now completely in love with implying 6 over 4 and we get lost for hours and hours in the continually expanding and contracting movements.

We have a show on new years at the new Cafe Paradiso and I'm gonna be playing tablas and djembe. For future shows my kit will look more like the picture above but Congas and a Djembe will be added.

My heart is pounding for Africa and India and the Shaman-healer-priest-wild man-nut bucket-asteroid lasso-Santa-triplet-whip-crack against-the-moon aesthetic is blossoming like the birth of a rose colored planet. I'm excited and honored to be getting an education and making music for a living simultaneously.

PS Jupiter left its phase of debilitation and I always and especially feel escalating gratitude for my tabla teacher Pandit Anup Ghoshji. Big love, namaste, and happy holidays to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Constraint and Innovation

Do to a complicated vacuuming accident my fellow blogger and drummer Sheldon can't use his right arm for awhile. 

Obviously there is the one armed drummer from Def Leppard .. but deeper than his personal victory is the principle that made Twitter virtually explode on to the scene.

When restrictive parameters are laid out with absolute clarity the conditions are ripe for wild experimental creativity and growth.

Limits are opportunities to test drive and/or implement new perspectives.

Take the book STICK CONTROL: do 8th notes with the hi-hat using only the foot. R=Kick. L=Snare. 

Open and expand through times of constraint rather than contracting into victimhood. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Accidental Rhythm, Avant-Gardener Tony Oxley, and a Day as Beautiful as the Chance Encounter of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella on an Operating Table

There is the intentional and then there is serendipity, joyful accidents, chance, bald eagle mating rituals, and Tony Oxley's toaster-oven-in-the-bathtub drumming favorite.

The rapture of ubiquity, god-as-child anything goes snowball fight in the howling void; automatic avant-gardner turning on the sprinkler at midnight, and that glorious alpha cowbell of the underworld stolen out of Picasso's backyard! (check the video below)

Today was an exalted day for me. Not only did I walk to Wal-Mart to buy nothing but I had a magical chance encounter with Mr. Sheldon Kreger, a truly fantastic human being/drummer/physicist. We talked about particle accelerators, John Hagelin, snowboarding, black holes, open source software and DRUMS!!

In the Christmas spirit, in the sanctity of a full on drum geek-out session he gave me some incredible recordings of Peter Erskine, Antonio Sanchez, Paul Motian, and Steve Smith to name a few of the many I am excited about!

Thank you Sheldon and let the 365 days of Christmas begin!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paradiddle New York: A Pilgrimage

A Paradiddle is one of the primary rudiments of the drum set. 
It is usually notated | R L R R | L R L L |
That got me thinking about driving directions. 
 So I decided to make a Macro Paradiddle Pilgrimage 
through one of my favorite cities in the world; New York City.

The Paradiddle Pilgrimage starts at Blue Note Jazz Club. The midpoint is Birdland Jazz Club. The destination is the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

It took some tweaking at but this is what I finally came up with. Below the directions are listed for anyone who wants to actually make the trip :) I also took screen shots for your viewing pleasure. The manifestation of the Macro Paradiddle!!!! Check it out!!

Blue Note Jazz Club

131 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012

1. Head northwest on W 3rd St toward 6th
2. Turn RIGHT at 6th Ave
3. Turn LEFT at W 23rd St
4. Turn RIGHT at 10th Ave
5. Turn RIGHT at W 44th St

Destination will be on the left
Birdland Jazz Club
315 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

6. Head southeast on W 44th St toward 8th Ave
7. Take the 1st LEFT onto 8th Ave
8. At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto W 59 St/Central Park S
9. Slight RIGHT at Grand Army Plaza
10. Turn LEFT at Park Ave
11. Turn LEFT at E 125 St/Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Destination will be on the right
Apollo Theater
253 W 125 St
New York, NY 10027

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dynamics and Juxtapositions

Master uilleann piper Tim Britton just commented on an old blog post. At the end of his comment he left a mysterious and fascinating audiophile forum link. I read through it and below is a passage that struck me. It confirms my growing intuition about dynamics and the ideas of space that I have been conscious of in music that thrills me. Dynamics are crucial for drummers with access to such a huge range of volume. With this raw power comes a great responsibility :) Weeeeeeeee!

Loud ‘Forte’ passages sound altogether louder and appear to be at their very loudest when they are strongly in juxtaposition with extremely quiet ‘Piano’ passages.

Great music has its most powerful impact when the natural dynamics and contrasts are preserved that make sound continually interesting to the ear and brain, in a way, that naturally engages them.

If you fail to hold the listeners attention over time, by not providing proper relief for their ears and brain by eliminating the contrasting dynamics that would demand their listening attention and enrapturing enthral them.

Ultimately you will force the listener away from the source of sound, if you insist upon totally maximising level continuously, for in the last resort, the ear has a safety mechanism called ‘temporary threshold shift’ which acts to shut off sound, when it is delivered above a certain level continuously.

*to read the full passage click here starts on post #23

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silence and Professional Etiquette

photo by Hiroshi Sugimoto

Recently I realized that I was noodling a lot between songs and while my band mates were setting up their amps and the PA system. I figured I couldn't really help them and I didn't want to just sit there and do nothing.

I have a lot of work lugging, hauling, setting up hardware and drums etc. Because of this, once I am set up, I am anxious for the chance to play and continue my divine romance with my instrument. This fire is vital and the desire to play should be cultivated.

However I have made a rule for myself and it goes for LIVE SHOWS, RECORDING, AND REHEARSALS. Except for tuning and basic soundcheck protocol any other playing or experimenting is not allowed.

Silence is the ground of music and it cultivates the fire and the conditions to be present and grateful when it is time to play. It also makes setting up quieter and more efficient and communicating between songs effortless. It is basic professional etiquette and I highly recommend implementing it immediately.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Maharishi talks about the gap between scriptural syllables as the silence that gives rise to the form of the universe(s).

Space, silence is what serves music and people. Effective drumming invokes silence and is the invisible usher of silence.

Like keeping a small fire going or rowing a boat.

Practice with a relaxed and open heart. Transmute the desire to showcase your skill into a commitment to dissolve completely and serve the wholeness of the music of every moment.