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Book Reviews - Feb 2010

Baby Steps to Giant Steps by Peter Retzlaff and Jim Rupp

February 2010 Book Reviews

Baby Steps to Giant Steps – The Road to Jazz Drumming, One Tempo At A Time by Peter Retzlaff and Jim Rupp.

If there was ever a book that simply tells you exactly what''s in it, this is definitely one of them. The producers of ‘Turn It Up & Lay It Down’ have called upon the musical expertise of Peter Retzlaff and Jim Rupp to produce an educational book with a play along CD minus drums.

Retzlaff and Rupp take you on a musical journey of swing and explain the fundamentals of jazz including the major differences and its relation to Rock and Funk. The book is designed for the drummer who wishes to learn jazz or those who are looking to refine their already established skills and knowledge.

For ease and simplicity the book is split in two, in which the first half of the book provides the theory and the understanding behind playing jazz and the challenges faced by contemporary rock and funk drummers when playing jazz.

Topics include: the ride cymbal, feathering the bass drum, jazz time, fills and brushes. The second half of the book tells you how to the 10 play along tracks on the CD which are performed at a variety of speeds from slow to very fast. The tracks are very well produced the will definitely give you the very next best thing to playing with actual musicians which makes this a very strong practice tool.

The standard of good educational material is constantly being raised and the successful products always contain the same major elements: simplicity, creativity and purpose. ‘Baby Steps to Giant Steps’ is a great book and will definitely be one of those books that will have teachers, students, musicians talking about it. This is definitely one book I''ll be using as a drummer and a teacher.

Adrian Graham


Advanced Funk Drumming by Jim Payne

Advanced Funk Drumming, A Progressive Approach to Modern Drumset Grooves by Jim Payne

Jim Payne''s musical catalogue has included the likes of Slickaphonics, JB Horns, Michael Brecker, Ester Phillips and his own self named trio to name a small number of his musical credits. His love for funk music and experience playing for some of the top funk artist and bands has given him the reputation a highly respected funk drummer.

The book has been created as an encyclopaedia of advanced funk grooves for the intermediate and advanced player. Jim assumes you have some basic ability and understanding of funk such as ghosting and accenting, but makes it clear in how to execute each exercise. The exercises are designed to build on a basic understanding of funk and gives the user the opportunity to tackle some new challenging grooves, with greater understanding, together with some new ideas to add to your drumming arsenal.

Books with an interactive disc are becoming very popular, however Payne has taken this to the next level. All the grooves have been written out for those who can read music, performed on mp3 for those who like to hear how it should sound, and performed on a digital video for the user to be able to play on their TV, computer or even their Ipod and Iphone! This three way learning enables you to learn drums in the format you like.

What can I say except ‘Wow’? Jim Payne has produced one of the most inspiring pieces of educational material. He has taken the tradition out of conventional teaching and has committed this book to educating you quickly, efficiently and most of all in a fun way.

It’s very simple, if you want to improve your funk, get this book!

Adrian Graham

Delong Way by Paul Delong

Delong Way – To Polyrhymic Creativity On The Drumset by Paul Delong

Top Canadian drummer and clinician, Paul Delong offers ''a step by step guide to developing the polyrhythmic concepts used by many of the world’s leading drummers. His video and audio package explains the principles of 3:2 polyrhythms and then explores the practical and musical applications of the rhythms.''

The book is split into four sections covering a six against four, three against four, four against three and some miscellaneous rhythms.

This is great a book for those who wish to explore more complex grooves that can be played on the drumset. I would only recommend this book for the advanced and more matured player. It’s the type of book that you read and ponder about over time. You can’t rush through it like some books, rather read a section, play some of the exercises and then see where your imagination takes you, then dip back in the book for your next dose.

Paul’s book is very well put together and helps explains how the top players do what they do. It will enable experienced players to understand what they do now, and why, and then helps them develop further to take their playing and understanding to the next level.

For those interested in a musical journey of polyrhythms… enter. You’ll enjoy the ride, I know I am

Adrian Graham


A Fresh Approach To The Drumset – By Mark Wessels

A Fresh Approach To The Drumset – By Mark Wessels

Many teachers have attempted to write a one stop book for drummers of all levels which can be given to the beginner and still be a useful tool to the advanced player. So many good teachers have failed at this difficult task and I can only think of a few books that do this well. Most of the books that fail spread themselves too thin by covering several areas in a rushed manner while others include far too much detail that can put off a beginner and frustrate the advanced player who has to trawl pages of information they already know.

Mark Wessels has managed to create one of the few successful books.

The book is split into 34 lessons covering the basics like grip and sticking patterns all the way to more complex challenges like syncopated 16th notes grooves, Rumba and Jazz . The CD contains play along tracks in almost every genre that a drummer may encounter in their musical life. In addition to this, there are reading exercises, rudiment charts and a musical glossary. I’d say it has it all in one book. Did I mention it works on your fills as well?

This is definitely one of the most comprehensive and detailed book I have seen in a very long time. The information is vast, yet it seems to break down its content into small bite size pieces. As a teacher, I welcome this book and would recommend as a book for students to buy as it covers so many areas that teachers teach over the years.

This is simply a great book that every drummer should have whether you’re starting up or are professional looking for a reference book. It’s informative, interesting and straight to the point.

Adrian Graham

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