DVD Reviews September - Gadson, Peart and Seraphine
DVD Reviews - September 2011
James Gadson – Funk & R&B Drumming
James Gadson, the man behind beats for The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, B.B King and Paul McCartney amongst others brings us this tuitional DVD explaining his approach to the music closest to his heart – R&B.
James is joined by three talented sidemen for various live performances - Jun Yamagishi on guitar, Toro Tsuzuki on keyboards and Ko Shimizu on bass. The quartet play various examples of how R&B and funk have changed over the years and demonstrate the influences from the different states of America. James demonstrates Detroit/Motown beats, Mississippi Shuffle, Chicago slow blues, Texas driving shuffle, African 12/8 beat, and styles and grooves from Kansas, Carolina, Philadelphia, New York, The West Coast and of course New Orleans.
James is definitely a character in front of the camera, it almost feels as if he kind of woke up one morning, sat in front of the camera and started talking about drums. His meandering conversation and long pauses in speech definitely give the DVD a very relaxed and almost comical feel, as if the viewer is at home with James in his front room. Another thing that sets this apart from other more structured tuitional DVD’s is that there is no mention of chops or licks of any kind, its all about feel, approach and the history of the music.
I must admit I didn’t know of Mr. Gadson before I saw this but know I am intrigued to research him further, not just his playing but clips of interviews would also be pure entertainment.
HAL LEONARD 2008 $ 19.99
Neil Peart - Fire on Ice “The Making Of The Hockey Theme”
Neal Peart should need no introduction to any drummer. This DVD from Drum Channel shows us an inside look into how he went about reworking and recording the world famous Canadian “Hockey Night” TV theme.
We start with the development of the arrangement, which is reworked to accommodate more drums. This is probably the most interesting part as we see Neil and his arranger break the piece down and build it again from scratch. A rare chance to see the magic that is usually confined to a band practice room. Neil plays us various versions of the song as the writing process comes along. Once Neil is happy with the music we follow him to the studio to record the final version (via a quick detour to the rehearsal room). Every aspect is covered as we are taken through the making of the drums used, from the wood type to the design on the shells.
What really comes across is the passion Neil has for this piece of music and the importance of hockey night to him and his fellow Canadians. He cant hide his pride by the end of this 90 minute documentary.
Overall a great watch, even for someone who knows nothing about hockey or its TV theme tune it is still quite something to see how one of the masters goes about working his craft.
$24.95 Drum Channel DVD
Danny Seraphine – The Art of Jazz Rock Drumming
Danny Seraphine, the drummer of 70’s legends Chicago was one of the first to bring together two (at the time) mutually exclusive styles – Jazz and Rock. On this DVD from Drum Channel he explains how and why he was inspired to do so.
We are joined in the studio by his current band The California Transit Authority (also featuring Larry Braggs of Tower of Power on vocals) who play us through some old Chicago numbers and some new arrangements. Danny talks through his influences as a drummer both from the rock and jazz worlds and also delves into his private life, explaining how as a youngster growing up in Chicago he had the choice of running with gangs or starting a band. I think we will all agree he made the right decision. All the grooves Danny plays are expertly broken down and explained why they are right for the music. Highlights are ''25 or 6 to 4'', ''Something Different'' and a blistering but tasteful solo in Steve Winwood’s ''I’m a Man''.
Although there is a lack of actual exercises or things for an aspiring drummer to work on from this DVD, it still offers much inspiration and entertainment. It comes with a downloadable Ebook and drumless tracks.
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