By Rob Crisp
Mixed MediaReviews – Guiliana, Igoe and… Shoes(?)
Mark Guiliana – Exploring Your Creativity on the Drumset (Book/DVD Set)
Over the last few years Mark’s profile has risen rapidly. Playing a small set and coming up with seemingly endless grooves and ideas, he’s captured the imagination of many a drummer.
This book and DVD set is his attempt to distil some of what he’s been exploring and his approach into a book that will help the rest of us get inside his playing and expand our own.
He talks of four main categories, Dynamics, Rate, Orchestration and Phrasing, or D.R.O.P. for short and the book and DVD work through each logically, giving you ideas from which to develop your own ideas.
The book is well laid out and combines elements of handwritten and computer engraved examples, which is a small thing but adds to the overall look and feel of the release in a nice way. It feels like you’re looking at, and working from, some of his own note taking sessions as well as ideas that have been expanded into pages of exercises.
There’s a nice reference and back and forth between the DVD and book, but without it being as predictable as just playing examples on DVD. Mark explains what he’s aiming to achieve and why and the different ideas are interspersed with some great solo, and group playing with Tim Lefebvre and Jason Lindner. The three of them worked together on David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, so that’s almost reason enough to stick the DVD in!
This is a great release for exploring your creativity and in a way that even beginners and intermediate players could pick it up, have a crack and get something from it.
I’m enjoying working from this book and unlike some other books, it’s really managed to not just catch my attention, but retain it as well.
Available from Hudson Music
The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy : Reelin’ In The Years
Hot off the stage at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, as you’ve likely guessed, Reelin’ In The Years is a fantastic tribute to the music of Steely Dan.
Two of the incredible musicians performing on this release include Randy Brecker (Brecker Brothers) and Drew Zingg (Steely Dan).
The release actually contains both a nine track audio CD and a DVD with two extra bonus tracks, Pretzel Logic and Josie. A personal highlight for me was Do It Again, which may just be my all-time favourite Steely Dan number.
The arrangements of the songs are all very well thought out, well put together, but respectful of the original material. The band as you would expect, is absolutely incredible and Tommy does drop in the occasional tasteful solo.
It’s almost exclusively an instrumental release, aside a fantastic vocal performance on Home at Last by Tony Lindsay (Santana), but don’t let that put you off. If you’re a big Steely Dan fan, you can always just sing along as you drive along the motorway.
Straight up, a great release – this is one every drummer and indeed musician should check out.
In in a world of digital throw away music, this is a poignant reminder that great music is very much alive and kicking, you just have to know where to look.
Urbann Boards Neil Peart Signature Drumming Shoes
When I was handed a pair of these rather striking shoes to review, the first thought that entered my mind was “Is there really a market for a dedicated drumming shoe?”
Even now I wouldn’t really like to call it either way. I feel maybe some of the drumming community would buy into this idea whilst others would perhaps look on it with less enthusiasm.
So, with that in mind, let’s consider an alternative question; “Would I prefer to play drums in these or my regular pair of ‘insert shoe name here’?”
Designed from the ground up, these shoes do look a little like football boots and the golden writing on this pair are the signature markings of the Neil Peart model.
There are models for other drummers including Virgil Donati, Aquiles Priester & Dennis Chambers and the colours and designs vary between them; Dennis’ version for example hasn’t got laces, Priesters are more like a boot.
The soles on these shoes are incredibly thin with the aim of allowing maximum sensitivity and feel between the foot and the pedal.
For me, I rather like the fact the soles really gripped the pedals although this is very personal thing. I know players who have added skateboard deck tape to their pedals to prevent sliding and as you might know, Jojo Mayer adds leather to his soles to maximise it.
They are incredibly comfortable shoes, no question there and after playing them for a few hours at a time they remained fresh.
I tend to play in a pair of Converse for casual dressed gigs and smart shoes for weddings and functions. The smart shoes are less comfortable for playing in and the Converse… well, anyone who has gigged a pair regularly knows they can get fragrant…
These Urbann Boards shoes are made from leather (always a good thing) and come with a removable insole which means you can actually wash them to a certain extent. That means you can keep them smelling fresh.
These shoes absolutely fit the bill for comfort and playability but on a function the gold detailing is definitely a no go. There is a plain black model called the Blast, made from synthetic material, but it still looks like a trainer. I feel this shoe minus the gold would be the way to go for those smart dressed gigs.
I like them but the price is also a little steep. I suspect if they could find a way to bring the price down, they would find more players would buy a pair of these for practise and gig situations.
If you’ve got some spare cash and the desire takes you, these are a decent pair of drumming shoes.
Maybe the first question I posed is still up in the air, but the second one has absolutely been answered and yes, I would prefer to play these than an a regular pair of ‘insert shoe name here’.