Saturday, December 31, 2011

CSD!'s 2011 in review

Jeez, has it only/already been a year? I started 2011 with this "terse announcement", my second blog post in four years:

"I'm about to revive this sucker somewhat. Look for more music-related items and odd bits out of the photo archives. A lot has been happening since my last post- two European tours, a well-received CD, an ed. piece published in a leading drum magazine, Drum!. Currently I'm working on arrangements for a new Pop Art 4 CD, and booking my 2011 European tour, doing a ton of shedding, teaching, and writing drumming materials. Lots of good stuff coming soon..."

Since then this thing has been going swimmingly- I feel we have delivered amply on the "lots of good stuff" promise, and it seems to be paying off in our level of readership, which has been climbing steadily all year. Basically we started at zero with a handful of accidental visits to the defunct photo blog every month, and are ending the year with 41 official followers (thanks, guys!), and averaging 500-600 page loads per day, which my friend and blogging guru Dave Valdez tells me is a good thing. So, a big thanks to everyone who has visited and used the blog!

I don't actually consider myself to have a whole lot to say about music just in words- talk is really a poor accessory to listening and doing- but I think I've still found a blogging voice and focus that isn't a total waste of everyone's time and bandwidth. The daily-ish gig has not transformed me into an extremely glib long-form writer, so a lot of nuance goes unexpressed, or un-elaborated upon. I'm a little bit of a fatalist in that I think if someone doesn't get (sooner or later) the plain value of, say, a Tony Williams ride cymbal transcription or Gil Evans clip, they're not going to be helped by a lot of explanation or raving enthusiasm. Then again, the whole point is communication, so I'll be working on that...

So far I haven't come to regret my decision to continue using the old name (complete with William S. Burroughs-inspired exclamation point) from when I was an actual cruise ship drummer posting photos of the band hanging around. Nobody interprets the actual words after the second or third time they hear them- it just becomes a meaningless label- so I may as well have my little joke.

After the break is an overview of the fairly massive amount of stuff we've covered this year. I've by no means included everything, so be sure to browse the archives using the labels when you find something you like. And of course, if this is of value to you, please become a follower, and help us continue by hitting the "donate" button to the right, and contributing as you see fit. And now, CSD!'s 2011 in review:

First, we lost Paul Motian, Joe Morello, Eddie Marshall, drum corps legend Marty Hurley, Freddie Gruber, percussionist Ralph MacDonald, saxophonists Frank Foster and Sam Rivers, pianists George Shearing and Ray Bryant, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, bassist Charles Fambrough, violinist Billy Bang, poet Gil-Scott Heron, and comic actor Kenneth Mars, as well as my old friends and colleagues James Phillips and Eric Jones, and my old professor Charles Dowd.

The re-printed interview- selected and edited for maximum drummer/player interest by me- has become one of our trademarks: Paul Motian, Joey Baron, Jack Dejohnette, Ben Riley, Tony Williams, Frankie Dunlop, Alan Dawson, Kenny Clarke, Ralph Peterson, Barry Altschul, Andrew Cyrille, Vinnie Colaiuta, Andy Newmark, Billy Cobham, Airto, Tony Oxley, Rashied Ali, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Branford Marsalis, Jon von Ohlen and others. Plus we had an actual original interview, of the great, elusive drum author Joel Rothman.

My original transcriptions (more than one or two in some cases) of Zigaboo Modeliste, Vinnie Colaiuta, Papa Jo Jones, Elvin Jones, Frankie Dunlop, Jack Dejohnette, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Ndugu Leon Chancler, Dom Um Romao, James Gadson, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Joey Baron, Jon Christiansen, Andy Newmark, Ringo Starr, Pete LaRoca, Robertinho Silva, Paul Motian, Sly Dunbar, Lenny White, and more, believe it or not. Plus very popular Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones transcription round-ups from around the web.

I presented a bunch of original original practice materials, including my endless paradiddle exercise, numerous "Todd's Methods", coordination kernels, cross-rhythms using Stone, my piece published in Drum! Magazine, Inside Cissy Strut, the chronicle of me working at not being clueless about Brazilian music, and much more.

There were quite a number of  moderate-to-longer pieces, including the time signature "figure-outer", how to learn the open roll,  how to be a jazz drummer, putting together a jazz drum set, soloing over a form, the Jeff Berlin metronome controversy, my absurd, aborted 4-way sticking system, things to do with a beat, playing quieter, rudimental drumming as conceptual art, cherished notions bite the dust, pad practice survival, getting started transcribing, the DNA of swing drumming, why we transcribe, drum roll, please..., learning to comp with 16th notes is a necessary misery, three camps, buy a turntable, the so-called record business, making any money in jazz, you must hack, different values, survival tips for cruise ship drummers.

We've also had a number of book reviews, a handful of podcasts of practice loops, and the beginning of a series on the tempos of things, first covering uptempo jazz, and Rolling Stones songs. My Vinnie year was a fun little series for me.

Have a great and safe New Year's Eve, and we'll see you in 2012. Thanks again for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I've really enjoyed reading your posts, and I'm glad I found your site. Your transcriptions and other music posts are great. Thanks!