These two videos give you a good picture of what I did during the tour with the World Percussion Group two months ago. The first one of Balkan Red was a practice session in my studio before the tour and the second is during one of our performance, I sneaked my camera on stage for a souvenir and share that with you:-)
This playing situation was definitely out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot during that time with the group. Learning the music by memory, playing with classically trained musicians, music totally written with absolutely no improvisation was definitely a challenge for me but a lot of fun. Everyone from the group came from different background and from different part of the world which made the group very interesting and musically very mature. We rehearsed for a week in Las Vegas NA, without all the member because the people coming from Europe had some delays in their passport but we finally got together the day before our first concert in the University of Southern Nevada. The rest of the tour was smooth and very cool, I got to teach a lot of drums students, give my clinic "The Brazilian Dream" on a survey on Brazilian drumming with a demonstration of Samba and Bossa Nova. Another cool performance opportunity for me was playing during Joe Porter's clinic on the development of 6 mallet technique on the Marimba. The piece we played was "Thanks for the Sandalos" and I hope to be able to share a video of that very soon.
Thanks for reading:-)
Today I heard the sad news of the passing of Monsieur Jacques Delécluse, percussion master and teacher that changed and revolutionized the world of percussion. As a professor at the "Conservatoire de Paris" from the early 60's until the late 90's, he was famous all over the world for the books that he wrote, such as "12 Études pour Caisse-Claire", "30 Études pour Timbales", and "20 Études pour Xylophone", among others. As a performer, Delécluse played with the "Orchestre de Paris" and with the concert society "Domaine Musical" with Pierre Boulez, father of serialism and electronic music. Delécluse was also an excellent piano player, which allowed him to play with his students and give them a different musical approach.
The "Étude 18" from "Méthode de Caisse-Claire" was the first book that I studied in. This book consists of the fundamentals of snare drum technique as a series of exercises; 25 Études that apply these techniques to musical context. I love these pieces, which allow me to work on the control and dynamics of the instrument. The intricate rhythms and huge range of dynamics requires you to play musically but also with extreme accuracy.
My first teacher, Philippe Labadie, (who was himself a student of Delécluse) gave me the best foundation that I could get as a young percussionist and drummer. I studied with him from 1995 to 2008. Philippe Labadie is currently teaching at the "Conservatoire de Paris" and "Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon" and he performs with the "Orchestre de Paris" and other ensembles in the capital. I would like to dedicate this video to him and Jacques Delécluse, whom I never got a chance to meet in person.
Merci Monsieur Labadie!!!
A very nice version of "I Though About You" performed by Eliane Elias. I just love this tune and how this band is swinging. It is so pleasant to play with these musicians:-) Marc Johnson on bass, Eliane Elias on piano and vocals and Steve Cardenas on guitar. The arrangement is very subtle with a nice progression from "2 feel" to "walking" on the melody. The kicks played during the melody give momentum to the interpretation. The difficulty here is to swing at their level, I start with the brushes and I try to lock my Hi-Hat with the feel of my brushes. Then with the sticks, same thing but I tried to stay as relax as I can to make the music feels good and swing with the bass of Marc Johnson. During Eliane' s solo, I play with her and follow here ideas without over commenting on them. I try to play like it's the first time and the solo is made on the spot. There is a reason why she didn't record the tune with a drummer and I respect that. She did a tribute to Chet Baker and Chet towards the end of career was playing with a drum-less trio. The first time I heard the song, I wanted to play along and now I am very glad to share it with you:-)
Thanks for listening!
I love this song and especially this arrangement by Rosa Passos from the album "Amorosa". Paulo Braga is the drummer playing on the track. Once again, I try to emulate the feel that he gives. His playing is so swinging and the orchestration on the drums is fancy and hip at the same time!
Some of the points I was trying to recreate are: the eights notes on the ride or the Hi-Hat, the Hi Hat openings with the foot or the sticks, the phrasing over the bar lines, and the interaction with the soloist (in this case, Rosa Passos and Paquito D'Rivera). Paulo plays the HH on the down beat and then the up beat without notice, which really spices up the groove. To play along with Paquito or Rosa is such a pleasure because they are playing deeply within the groove but free with the melody at the same time .
About the song itself, "o pato" means "the duck" in Portuguese. That is a light and funny subject so, I don't see any reason to be serious playing this! You have to have fun:-)
Here is what I am practicing these days, slow and fast samba!!!!! Muito bom! This is "Estamos Ai" (Leny Andrade version with Lilian Carmona on drums). I love playing this tune! This samba was also played by Rafael Barata at the Berklee Clinic I attended, and listening to him playing this was life-changing to me because of the "feel" that he was able to get out of the drums. It's something I strive to emulate.
The song starts with a slow samba that feels really nice and Leny Andrade plays the first melody in that tempo. The second time, the tempo is played double time as a fast samba. Check out how I break the way of playing around the melody because the tempo is too fast to play all of the 16th notes.
I posted this video on Facebook and one of my drummer friends asked me for some advice on how to play with an authentic Brazilian feel. Here is what I told him:
For the Brazilian "feel", I understand what you are looking for. For the first two years that I was at Berklee, I only focused on jazz even though I already loved Brazilian music. I didn't have the time to practice it seriously. That was only in my last year at school that I started focusing on Samba, then all of the styles like Bossa Nova, Baiao, Maracatu, Frevo etc. I put the jazz on the side a bit and instead of working on my ride cymbal beat for an hour every day as Leon Parker suggested, I did the same with Brazilian grooves, doing an hour of just the groove (like a samba). In Boston there is a huge community of Brazilian musicians, and I started investigating the music and the culture, applying my jazz approach and learning about the music in the same way; music history, repertoire, listening, playing, etc.
You know how it is:-) Playing this music with Brazilian musicians also helped me to understand the "feel" so much better.
If I wanted to summarize how I learned this "feel", it would be in 4 points:
1) Learn the percussion instruments from the Bateria (Samba School), like the tamborim (which gives the main rhythmic phrase), caixa, surdo, ganza (shaker), etc.
2) Learn the songs of the real repertoire, not the tunes played by the jazz musicians.
3) Listen to the "real deal" as much as possible and learn about the history.
4) Apply the groove and the feel on the drums....
I think that Bossa Nova is a good way to start your practice because it has some elements of Samba, but played more slowly. Check out Joao Gilberto!
I don't know how familiar you all are with Brazilian drummers, but here are my favorites: Rafael Barata, Edu Ribeiro, Paulo Braga, Portinho, Kiko Freita, Edison Machado, Helcio Milito, Milton Banana, Airto Moreira.
Here is a song that I like:
Thanks for reading everyone, let me know your comments/questions, I love talking about this music.
I got inspired to play this tune when I saw Rafael Barata doing a clinic at Berklee over a year ago. He played along to the track of this song and I really liked this style of presenting drum techniques to people in a musical way. I was astounded by his brush technique, his feel, and the smoothness that he was able to achieve. In this video, I use brushes throughout the tune and try to use different motions and phrasing on the hi-hat to be able to give the tune a gradual evolution from beginning, to middle, to end.
Hi, and welcome to my video blog page! Through my posts I hope to share my love of Brazilian music with you; giving a sneak peek into my studio to see what I am currently practicing and playing.