Book Reviews - December 2011
Book Reviews - December 2011
The Big Gig – Big Picture Thinking for Success – Zoro
The Big Gig is one hell of a book, and it is not your average drum book. It’s basically a guide to the music industry and how to become successful in it.
At 400 pages long, pretty much every aspect of the industry is covered, practising, interpretation, salaries, sponsorship, touring, marketing and much more. But the main focus of the book is realising your dream and turning it into a reality, in which Zoro explains techniques for self growth and progress. These techniques could apply to any line of work really, not just drummers, it’s just that it’s told from a drummers point of view.
The book is peppered with hundreds of motivational quotes to help you along the way like ‘set a crusade in your life to dare to be your best’ and ‘one of life’s great rules is this: the more you give, the more you get’. These quotes make it hard to describe this book without using those dreaded words – Self Help. Saying that, I think Zoro really wills the reader to succeed in life and gives off a genuine feel that he wants to help all of us struggling drummers out there.
Taken in one go, this book can be a bit much and at times repetitive, but then the message is simple – give it time and with determination, patience, practice and the right attitude you will succeed. And this book definitely drums that message into you (pardon the pun) . A great book which genuinely can help people, not just drummers . Best as a coffee table read or even on the tourbus, as long as you don’t mind the self help aspect of it all.
Alfred’s Platinum Album Editions - Led Zeppelin – Coda
Alfred Music have embarked upon a new set of transcription book for all the Led Zeppelin albums, available for guitar, bass, piano and (of course) drums.
We are dealing here with the 1982 release of “Coda”. It’s an album of out-takes and live cuts from the bands career, and a fitting title since the band had split following John Bonham’s death two years earlier. I’m not going to get onto the topic of John Bonham here, because I could sing his praises all day, I’m sure as drummers you all know everything there is to know about the great man but if you don’t then stop reading this review right now and go and find out, it will be worth it!
So, we have drum transcriptions for every song on the album. Highlights are “Poor Tom” which focuses on a nice accented snare roll which is both controlled and dynamic, “I Can’t Quit You Babe” which requires a steady slow groove and a knowledge of Bonzo’s defined fills, “Walter’s Walk” which sits on the groove nicely for most of the track but there are some tricky hits to watch out for, and “Darlene” which is a slow but jarring rhythm which requires a lot of concentration. The main focal point (for drummers anyway) on this album is “Bonzo’s Montreux”, a four minute drum solo piece which includes drum kit, timbales, steel drums, timpani and congas (all of which are transcribed here).
All sure all the legions of Bonzo fans might overlook this book in favour of the better known Led Zeppelin albums but it’s definitely worth a look, even if its just for “ Bonzo’s Montreux “ alone.
Drum Play-Alongs 2 – Nils Rohwer
Well, the clue is the title here! Nils Rohwer brings us his second instalment of drum play- along chart books with CDs . Where the first edition focused on the more mainstream styles of music, this one takes it a bit further and deals with the slightly trickier stylings of samba, fusion, techno, shuffle, and odd times.
We are presented with five tracks, one of each of the styles mentioned. Each track is charted out in two versions, one for single pedal and one for double pedal. On the CD, we get a track of each version plus two without drums (one with a click, and one just the backing track) so whatever way you want to play these songs, there is a version of it on the CD.
I don’t really see why Nils has included a double pedal version of each song here. I understand that the single pedal version is supposed to be easier and the double pedal version more difficult but I think whilst some of the tracks do benefit from the double pedal treatment (Ramba Samba, Good Odd Times), I don’t see that it is needed for the others and feel they could be made more difficult by incorporating more accents and dynamics etc, instead of relying on double bass.
Apart from that I think this is an excellent tool to practice your reading and timekeeping, it’s aimed at advanced players but even beginners can benefit. Definitely worth investing in.
Dietrich Wohrlin – Latin Compact
Latin Compact by Dietrich Wohrlin covers pretty much every aspect of Latin music. Afro-Cuban Samba, Bossa Nova, Partido Alto, Baiao, and Afro-Caribbean Rumba clave, Cinquillo and Danzon clave are all covered, plus much more for both percussionists and drummers alike. Even down to a list of well known artists, CD recommendations and an all important glossary.
There are also insightful tables, charting the dates and origins of the certain rhythms, the instruments used and possible rhythmic combinations. The book is packed full of exercises and information, a bit like an encyclopaedia of Latin music. The only gripe I could have with this book is that it feels a bit overcrowded, but how can you complain that a book has too much information?!
An accompanying CD would have been handy, especially for newcomers to Latin music, just to show examples of all the different rhythms covered, but apart from that I think overall it’s a very useful learning and teaching tool.
Hudson Music Limited
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