Monday, October 29, 2012

Late gig add: Espacio ON in Etterbeek

That's a neighborhood in Brussels, which you know if you are in any position to come to the show. Espacio ON is located at Steenweg op Etterbeek 172, 1040 Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium. Phone number is 0486278929. We will play at around 7 or 8pm (precise details coming this evening), and there is a cover of 5 euros.

See our other tour dates here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rehearsal @ Jazz Station - Brussels

A few shots from my quartet´s rehearsal at the Jazz Station (who were kind enough to let us play on the premises) in Brussels this afternoon. The band is myself with Jean-Paul Estiévenart (trumpet), Martin Méreau (vibes) & Olivier Stalon (bass):


More after the break:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's tour time

UPDATE: Late add- another gig in Brussels on Friday, Nov. 9.

My partner Casey Scott and I are flying to Brussels tomorrow to make her a record (for the Topsy Turvy label), and to do my tour in support of my new record, Little Played Little Bird. We'll be rehearsing through the weekend, recording my drum tracks at Jet Studio on Tuesday and Wednesday, and gigging my stuff from November 1-10.

Playing with me will be:
Jean-Paul Estevenart — trumpet
Martin Mereau — vibes
Olivier Stalon — bass

Come on down, hear us play and say hello if you're in the vicinity. And check back here or at Todd Bishop Jazz for updates from the road. 

Thursday, Nov. 1
Bar Belge — Paris  
97, avenue du Général Leclerc
94700 Maisons-Alfort FRANCE

Friday, Nov. 2  
Le Bab-ilo — Paris
9 Rue Baigneur, 75018 Paris, FRANCE
01 42 23 99 19

Sunday, Nov. 4 

Café Belga — Brussels
Place Eugène Flagey Plein
B-1050 Bruxelles/Brussel BELGIUM
Tel:+32 2 640 35 08

Tuesday, Nov. 6

LiquID  — Luxembourg
15-17 Rue Munster
 L-2160 Luxembourg-Grund
(352) 22 44 55

Wednesday, Nov. 7

Buster  — Antwerp 
Kaasrui 1 2000
Antwerpen, BELGIUM
+32(0)497 71 81 33

Thursday, Nov. 8 

Sazz'n Jazz — Brussels
Rue Royale 241 /  241 Koningsstraat
1210-Bruxelles BELGIUM
32 (0) 475 78 23 78

Friday, Nov. 9  — 19:00 (or close to it!)
Espacio ON
Steenweg op Etterbeek 172
1040 Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium

Friday, Nov. 9  
— 22:00
Centre d’Ecologie Urbaine — Brussels 
789 Chaussée de Waterloo
 B-1180 Bruxelles BELGIUM

+32-2-34-32-281 ou +32-488-88-36-43
With songwriter Casey Scott.

Saturday, Nov. 10  

Jakobshof — Aachen
Stromgasse 31 52064 Aachen GERMANY
0241 36800

Anyone who wants to contact me can reach me most reliably through Olivier Stalon— I will be available for private lessons until November 10th.

My brother John Bishop, a great drummer, will also be in Belgium at the same time, incredibly, and you should go see him play if possible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sewing day

Backstitch — makes a strong seam
[UPDATE: My sewing job survived the tour, despite being tested fairly extremely; I had to lighten my rolling duffle before checking it, and put my snare drum stand (a lightweight Pearl) in the pouch along with my stick bag when flying to and from Portland.]

Has anyone else noticed that the quality of drum bags of late has gone— how shall I put this— straight into the crapper, somewhat?  I have a Sabian cymbal bag, a Beato stick bag, and a Tuxedo bass drum bag which have all begun to fall apart way too fast— that bass drum bag actually arrived in the mail with the lining already undone, and I didn't feel like hassling with the returning it. The others have lasted a little longer— the Sabian bag survived the warranty period, just, only to have the fabric on the pocket begin to unravel at both corners:

I'm sorry to report that Sabian's customer service department was a lot more effective at enforcing their 1-year warranty than they were making me happy. I did manage to get a phone number, and possibly could have browbeat them into replacing it for me— usually it takes talking to someone in person, and being coolly persistent, even after they've given you several unequivocal noes— but again, I just didn't feel like hassling with it. 

So I got out ye olde needle and thread and sewed the damn thing up. If you have any bags in a similar condition, start by very carefully cauterizing the fraying edge of the nylon with a match, burning off the loose threads back to the good fabric without melting the whole bag. The stitch I used is a backstitch, which you can see illustrated above; apparently it's good for this application. I'll let you know how it holds up.

For the record, I've found Beato's products in general to be excellent; I've been using their mid-range drum bags and stand case for several years, and they've held up well— the stand case especially, as it has seen the hardest use. The stick bag just had the flap on the pocket come undone, which I've sown up— what's notable is that it's the second bag of that model I've owned which has done that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What it is: swing rhythm

Extremely preoccupied with tour preparations, obviously, but fortunately I have a couple of things on deck:

Swing interpretation is something we use a lot here, and I've mostly assumed people know what it is— you probably wouldn't be reading all of this high-flying jazz drumming nonsense if you didn't. It's still a good idea to spell it all out, so people aren't working with partial information; so here are my ideas about it. I'm a player who happens to also be a teacher, and not a scholar, so other people may have different, better, or more complete ideas about it, despite the unequivocal-sounding title of the post.

Swing is a way of playing 8th notes. If you look at a fake book, a big band chart, or sheet music for standard tunes, for the most part they are written in regular old 4/4, using mostly 8th notes and longer rhythmic values:

Often explanation of how to play that with a swing feel is limited to this, or its verbal equivalent:

Swing = triplets. Got it. NEXT!

Except... no. Swing = triplets approximately the same way a “flesh”-colored Crayola = the color of human flesh:

That is, the circumstances under which flesh is flesh crayon colored are actually rather few, depending on the complexion of the individual, and the lighting in which he or she is viewed. Likewise with music, swing interpretation varies according to the player, the tempo and style of the piece, and what's going on musically at the moment.

Continued after the break:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Working on merch

Nothing but tour-related stuff going on around here right now. Here are the t-shirts we'll be selling:


You can get one for $20, US shipping included— just use the “donate” button on the right, and include a note with your mailing address.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DBMITW: Sonny Sharrock

Having a very busy weekend with students, gigs, and tour preparations, so here's one of my favorite records from the 90's, Sonny Sharrock's Ask the Ages— by far his best album that I've heard. With Pharoah Sanders, Charnett Moffett, and Elvin Jones:

Get Ask the Ages

A couple more after the break:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Amazon store up

Just a quick note to direct your attention to the new Cruise Ship Drummer! Amazon store in the sidebar. It's full of recommended music, books, gear, and other drumming junk, and when you order through the store, we get a small commission (emphasis on small), which helps us keep bringing you quality content on a near-daily basis.

While we're being mercantile, other ways you can support the site include:
  • Making a cash donation via the “donate” button in the sidebar. Just look to the right and scroll down a bit... there it is... 
  • Buying the 2011 Book of the Blog (vol. 1, 130+ pages of transcriptions— I'm hoping to get vol. 2 completed before 2013...). Just hit that link, or click on the big yellow-y thing in the sidebar. 
  • Buying my records. Either CDs (hit the purchase CDs link in the sidebar) or digital download
  • Getting me something from my Amazon wish list, through the Astore

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Transcription/GOTD: Betty Davis — Nasty Gal

H/t to my brother on this one— he played me this record. This is from the title track of Betty Davis's album Nasty Gal. Davis (*née Mabry) was married to Miles Davis in the late 60's, when she influenced him to revamp his music and image, before going on to make a few records of some of the most outrageous funk ever. Drums are by Semmie “Nicky” Neal, Jr., who I've not heard of otherwise. I've written out the opening of the tune, with the two measure groove, with repeating fill, that he plays for the bulk of the tune, as well as the three drum/vocal breaks, and a sample of the ending groove:

This is a great lesson on how to play fills in funk— that is, at an even volume with no drummery BS. There's a good review of Davis's first record here, with background on her relationship with Miles.

Get the pdf | get music by Betty Davis

Audio after the break— you want to hear this one:

Monday, October 08, 2012

DBMITW: Milton Banana

Here's some great playing from one of my favorite Brazilian drummers, Milton Banana:

Bonus Banana after the break:

Sunday, October 07, 2012

First lesson in 5/4 — swing feel

A rare two-pager today. Here I've put a little flesh on the bones on the process I outlined in my earlier Cracking 5/4 series, with an easy first lesson coordinating snare drum and bass drum parts with a basic time feel, and learning to make a few simple choices. The goal here is not to give you hip licks to play, but to give you some things that can come out easily while you concentrate on listening to the other musicians, and not getting lost.  

Swing the 8th notes, and play the snare and bass drum softly, for the most part. In actual playing you'll play much more sparsely, using fragments of these ideas rather than the complete patterns.

Get the pdf

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Groove o' the day: Harvey Mason — The Traitor

Here's a funk groove from the Herbie Hancock album Man-Child which has both Mike Clark and Harvey Mason on drums. It sounds like Harvey to me, but I could be wrong. It was released in 1975, the heyday of playing the snare on the 'a' of 1. The tune is “The Traitor”:

Play the &s on the hihat very lightly; also ghost the snare drum notes in parentheses.

Get The Traitor | get Man-Child

Audio after the break:

Friday, October 05, 2012

USPS Priority rules, USPS Priority rules, USPS Priority rules

Request it. 
Have I ever mentioned that shipping by USPS Priority rules? It just smokes the private sector competition. I just received a pre-serial 17" Paiste 602 ride (a funny little cymbal) shipped from Hopkins, Minnesota on Wednesday the 3rd— it's now Friday the 5th. And I live way out west in Portland, Oregon, if you didn't know. Last week I received packages from Lima, Ohio and freaking Tallahassee, Florida which also took two days to get here. I think another package from Steve Weiss Music in Massachusetts might've taken an extra day.

Priority shipping (including the flat rate boxes) is the US Post Office's ordinary level of service for packages, roughly equivalent to UPS Ground in cost. UPS and Fedex, by contrast, take three days to move a package across the street, and a full five business days plus a damn weekend (unless the shipper gets it to them promptly at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning) to get something from further away.

Given an option, I always select USPS when shopping online; if there's no option, I request it in the “notes” field of the order form.

DBMITW: The Hawaii 5-0 fill, redux

What this Hawaii 5-0 nonsense is about, for people under the age of 40-something. 

Get Tale Spinnin' by Weather Report

Thursday, October 04, 2012

More Stick Control in 5/4

Another way of using Stick Control in 5/4 came up in my practicing recently, as I was working on Mevlevia. What I've done is change the rhythm to three beats of 8th notes and two beats of 8th note triplets, which helps the patterns fit into 5/4 a little better:

So the connection with the Stone exercises is clear, I've put the hands on separate lines and also given the sticking in Rs and Ls. Particularly when practicing these just on snare drum, you can also add accents to coincide with beats 1 and 3 in the original patterns, like so:

On the drums I'm playing the RH on the cymbal, doubled with the bass drum, and the LH on the snare or toms. Or you could play the RH part with both hands, and the LH part with the left or right foot.

Get the pdf

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Transcription: Bob Moses — Mevlevia

Here's a quick take of a tune that will be part of my set on the Europe trip this year: Mevlevia, from the Gary Burton record Ring, with drumming by Bob Moses. This is one of those Real Book tunes that— along with those Michael Gibbs tunes— rarely gets played. At least when I was in college and actually used the Real Book. It's a great tune though, is in 5/4, and is pretty quintessentially “ECM”:

I've just given the drum performance during the head only; Moses plays fairly repetitively throughout the piece, and my hand is fatigued from using the mouse, so that's all we're doing. He uses that 3/16 lick at the end several times later on in the piece. There's more going on with the cymbals than I've indicated— he seems to be using both hand on some of those notes, and moves between what sounds like a couple of Paiste 602 flat rides— maybe an 18 and a 20 or 22— which I haven't bothered to try to sort out.

Audio of the track is not available on YouTube, so you'll either have to buy a used LP from your local used record store (or from Amazon), or from iTunes. If you're reading this blog, you should probably own it. If you don't own the Real Book, a lead sheet for the tune is viewable online.

For more in/on 5/4, hit the odd meters or 5/4 labels at the bottom of the post. My transcription of Jon Christensen's playing on Jan Garbarek's Dansere might be especially relevant here...

Get the pdf