DVD Reviews - February 2012
John ‘JR’ Robinson – The Time Machine
The man behind Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ and many other hits brings us his new double DVD set from Drum Channel.
John is known in the business as having as close to perfect time as is humanly possible, so it may not shock you that the whole of the first DVD is devoted to timekeeping, John takes through his approach to keeping the bass drum bang on the 1 and 3 whilst ever so slightly holding back the 2 and 4 on the snare, and explains the benefits of playing heel down on the bass drum in order to keep yourself from rushing. He is joined for some performance by his band Native Son who compliment John’s groove perfectly.
Throughout the DVD are clips of interviews from producers and musicians John has worked with over the years including Quincy Jones and David Foster who sing John’s praises and explain why he is their favourite drummer. Unfortunately this adds a bit of a ‘This is your Life’ feel to it but luckily doesn’t take too much emphasis away from the educational material. Two more legends in the business, bass player Abe Laboriel Sr and percussionist Luis Conte also make appearances both playing as a trio and being interviewed. Other subjects covered are tuning, miking, playing to a click track, and technique.
John’s approach to playing is by no means flashy or over the top , and it doesn’t need to be. The groove and time are the most important things for a drummer and this DVD explains exactly why.
Drum Channel 3hours 17mins
Modern Drummer Festival 2011
Probably the most popular and exciting DVD release of any drummers calendar is the Modern Drummer Festival DVD. The magazine presents us with the best of old and new drummers, in a clinic setting at the Montclair State University in New Jersey.
We have Gil Sharone, who takes us through his work with The Dillinger Escape plan and talks about reggae, rocksteady beats and how they influence his rock or fusion playing. Dr. Dre’s drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr is up next who amazes with his hip-hop and fusion styles, and takes us through his work with Herbie Hancock.
Jazz innovator Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts doesn’t do much talking but puts on a blinding show with his quartet, while country legend Jim Riley takes us through various techniques and exercises in his master-class. You may recognize the Brazilian drummer Aquiles Priester from those Dream Theater audition videos, and his playing here makes you wonder why he didn’t get the job. In stark contrast from the flashy prog chops of Mr. Priester is Jim Riley’s masterclass in which he talks about musicianship, inspiration and goes through various exercises and jazz concepts.
Latin music superstar Horacio ‘El Negro’ Henandez headlines the festival with his all star world music group, The New World Order, who provide a stunning performance and round off the festival nicely.
As with all past Modern Drummer Festival box sets we have a stunning collection of clinics focusing on all different styles and concepts, from the controlled techniques and exercises of Jim Riley to the crazy chops of Gil Sharone and Trevor Lawrence Jr.
Well worth the investment for pretty much any drummer out there.
Hudson Music $29.99 5hrs 40mins
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