Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lighting round: four new books

New to me, anyway— I think these have all been around awhile. I thought I'd give my rapid-fire opinion on some things I just got in the mail:

Daily Drumset Workout by Claus Hessler
We'll see about this one. It came highly recommended by a good professional drummer friend, so I'm going to give it ample opportunity to prove itself, despite my feeling a little mixed about it on first glance. It nominally consists of about 100 two-page workouts (one page exercises, one page notes); I see that many small differences which could be explained verbally are given their own fully-written-out workout, so I call it quite a bit fewer than that, actually. Many of the entries appear to consist of written-out versions of things normally done with Syncopation, which may be good for some students, but which I ultimately do not dig. But the book is broken down into manageable portions, and appears to stay oriented in musical reality. Initial verdict: You could probably do worse than to let this command 20 minutes of your practice routine every day.

Odd Time Stickings by Gary Chaffee
An extension of Vol. 2 of Chaffee's Patterns series of books, and I daresay more useful. Gives practice phrases for his seven usual sticking patterns, in 3/4, 5/8, 5/4, 7/8, 11/8, 13/16, and 15/8. Even if you don't anticipate playing in many of those meters any time soon, with a little creativity, you can adapt the exercises to whatever meter and subdivision you choose by making the exercise part of a measure. For example, you can play an exercise in 3/4 as the least three beats of a measure of 4/4, and so on. Chaffee's stickings are few, and easy to play fast, making this an ideal book for getting your “Gospel chops”-type blazing fills together.

Understanding Clave and Clave Changes by Kevin Moore
Part of the Beyond Salsa series of books, which I was not familiar with before stumbling across it on Amazon— it looks like a pretty heavy series, and I'll be checking it out further. This book is a supplement aimed at musicians and non-musicians, explaining absolute beginning to advanced clave concepts, using conventional rhythmic notation, and a couple of varieties of “tabs”, and many recorded examples— both its own accompanying tracks and references to commercial recordings. I haven't had much of a chance to sit down with it yet. Looks good for fleshing out ideas that typically get covered in a page or two of other books, for learning the correct terminology, and, especially important to me, for learning what will get you into trouble with actual Salsa cats.

Mastering the Tables of Time by David Stanoch
Stanoch is a former student of Eliot Fine, who wrote the introduction here, and at once, this does look like an extension of Dahlgren and Fine's books— the format and ideas are very similar to things found in Four Way Coordination, Accent on Accents, and Dahlgren's Drum Set Control. Though I'm using their books on a daily basis these days, I do have reservations about using their stuff as the foundation of your playing— their logic is a little alien to a player's mental processes. MTTOT is maybe a little better than their books in that regard, and is especially good for helping students get the most out of an idea— it will help many to just recognize the idea in the licks they play in the first place. It's certainly more approachable than the other books I mentioned, and I do like that it takes some creativity to figure out what's hip about it.

No comments: