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Farewell Rhythm Devils

OPINION: Farewell Rhythm Devils

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2015 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most celebrated rock and roll bands in American history, The Grateful Dead. To celebrate, and close their legendary career, the surviving members gathered to play five final concerts, dubbed “Fare Thee Well”. As we look back on rock and roll’s “longest, strangest trip”, we’d like to highlight their renowned drummers, the Rhythm Devils.

Bill Kreutzmann formed The Warlocks in San Francisco in 1964 with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. They quickly gained a strong following in the bay area, and in 1965 renamed themselves The Grateful Dead. Two years later Kreutzmann invited percussionist Mickey Hart to sit in with, and eventually join the band.

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Kreutzmann and Hart were a perfect match and quickly became one of the defining sounds of the band. Together with bassist Lesh, Kreutzmann formed the rhythmic base for the band while Hart added more complex, decorative parts to the mix.

Kreutzmann and Hart earned their nickname of “Rhythm Devils” in the 1970s as they began playing drum solos during Grateful Dead concerts. Their extended solos were largely improvisation, and featured a large variety of percussion instruments. In addition to their drum sets, Hart and Kreutzmann played various hand drums, electronic instruments, and unique, custom made instruments.

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In this Rhythm Devils solo, recorded during a Grateful Dead concert in the summer of 1989, they feature a talking drum, timbales, several large bass drums, and a unique string instrument called “the beam”.

While Kreutzmann and Hart are most recognized as members of The Grateful Dead, they both have active solo careers. After attending a Grateful Dead concert, renowned film director Francis Ford Coppola enlisted Kreutzmann and Hart to record their improvisations for the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now.

Mickey Hart is also recognized as an influential figure in ethnomusicology, the study of music throughout the world. As he toured with The Grateful Dead, Hart collected instruments and recorded and documented the music performed by the local people. Hart would also form several important percussion groups, including the Diga Rhythm Band. His 1991 album Planet Drum was awarded a Grammy for Best World Music Album, and his book Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion is regarded as a classic work on drums and ethnomusicology.

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While The Grateful Dead and the Rhythm Devils will not perform together again, they leave behind an extensive library of audio and video recordings. We recommend the following recordings and books:

American Beauty, The Grateful Dead
Workingman’s Dead, The Grateful Dead
Live/Dead, The Grateful Dead
Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion, Mickey Hart
Planet Drum, Mickey Hart
Diga, Diga Rhythm Band

The best way to experience the Rhythm Devils, and The Grateful Dead is a recording of a live concert. There are many official releases, but countless “bootlegs”, or audience recordings, are legally available for free on the internet using BitTorrent.

Farewell Mr. Kreutzmann and Mr. Hart, we’re thankful for everything you did for rock and roll, drums, percussion, and ethnomusicology!

Art Blakey on “Alison’s Uncle”

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This transcription and video originally appeared at allmandrums.com.

 Here at Chops Percussion we love a good drum solo, so we’d like to share a transcription of a classic!

Art Blakey, longtime leader of The Jazz Messengers, appeared as a sideman on Cannonball Adderley’s classic 1958 release Somethin’ Else. Best known for an outstanding version of “Autumn Leaves”, the album also featured Miles Davis, Hank Jones, and Sam Jones.

“Alison’s Uncle”, also known as “Bangoon”, is the closing track on Somethin’ Else. It is a 32 bar AABA form at around 206 BPM. Blakey’s solo begins at 3’49” and lasts a single chorus. The solo is a perfect example of Blakey’s strengths as a soloist: interesting and well-developed solo composition despite the relative simplicity of his licks.

This video includes audio of the solo, both at full and reduced speeds, synced with the transcription. The transcription is also available as a PDF file here.

After enjoying the solo, be sure to listen to the full track. Notice Blakey’s tasty comping behind each soloist.

We hope you enjoy!




Drum and Bugle Corps 2015 Season

bluecoats-snares

As the school year comes to an end the drum and bugle corps season is just beginning. Drum and bugle corps are marching ensembles (brass, percussion, and color guard) that travel throughout the country each summer rehearsing and performing in competitions. If you’re unfamiliar with the activity, watch this brief introduction.

 

 

There are many opportunities to see drum and bugle corps in competition in Indiana and surrounding states. Here is a partial list of events. Be sure to check out the event information at www.dci.org .

 

June 15th, Indianapolis – DCI Dress Rehearsal

Madison Scouts

Troopers

 

June 17th – Indianapolis – DCI Premiere

Bluecoats

The Cadets

The Cavaliers

Carolina Crown

Blue Stars

Madison Scouts

 

June 19th – Louisville, KY – DCI Louisville presented by DeMoulin Bros.

The Cadets

The Cavaliers

Blue Stars

Madison Scouts

Crossmen

Troopers

Spirit of Atlanta

Cincinnati Tradition

 

June 22nd – Hamilton, OH – Summer Music Games in Cincinnati

Bluecoats

Carolina Crown

Blue Stars

Boston Crusaders

Madison Scouts

Troopers

Spirit of Atlanta

Cincinnati Tradition

 

June 24th – Evansville – Drums on the Ohio

The Cadets

The Cavaliers

Crossmen

Colts

Spirit of Atlanta

Pioneer

Racine Scouts

 

June 26th – Muncie – DCI Central Indiana

The Cadets

Bluecoats

Carolina Crown

The Cavaliers

Blue Stars

Madison Scouts

Boston Crusaders

Crossmen

 

June 27th – Michigan City – Pageant of Drums

The Cavaliers

The Cadets

Boston Crusaders

Crossmen

Spirit of Atlanta

Genesis

Legends

 

July 8th – Fort Wayne – DCI Ft. Wayne

Blue Devils

Carolina Crown

Crossmen

Jersey Surf

Genesis

 

July 12th – DeKalb, IL – Tour of Champions, Northern Illinois

Phantom Regiment

Carolina Crown

The Cadets

The Cavaliers

Santa Clara Vanguard

Boston Crusaders

Blue Devils

 

July 25th – Hamilton, OH – Hamilton Drum Corps Classic

Blue Devils B

Spartans

7th Regiment

Legends

Raiders

Coastal Surge

Les Stentors

Cincinnati Tradition

 

The season will conclude in Indiana during the week of August 3rd. Open Class corps will compete in Michigan City on August 3rd and 4th. Look for us at the World Class champsionships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on August 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.

 

The drum corps season is a great chance to see the most exciting and innovative performances in the marching arts. With plenty of shows in and around Indiana, there’s no reason to miss the action!

 

www.dci.org




WGI Percussion World Championships – 5 Reasons You Should Go

Avon High School

The WGI Percussion World Championships are this weekend and we have our top 5 reasons why you should go. But before we get to that, maybe you’ve never heard of WGI and are wondering what this is all about?

From their website: "WGI Sport of the Arts is the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and wind ensemble competitions. As a non-profit youth organization, WGI serves as the leading governing body of the winter guard and indoor percussion activities. It is called the Sport of the Arts because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Now entering its 38th year in 2015, the sport continues to evolve and grow. There were more than 36,000 participants at the regional level, and more than 12,000 participants at the Sport of the Arts World Championships this past April."

If you would attend this weekend, you would see the percussion section or "drumlines" of a marching band performing indoors. These show aren’t just thrown together. Hundreds, if not thousands of hours are spent designing, building, rehearsing and competing over several months.

Indiana is one of the premier states when it comes to competitive percussion ensembles. The Indiana Percussion Association just recently held their State Prelims and State Finals competitions where over 100 groups competed in both the concert and movement categories! You can view those results on the IPA website.

As you might have guessed, Indiana will be well represented this weekend in Dayton, Ohio at the WGI Percussion World Championships with several groups competing in various classes.

With that said, here are our top 5 reasons on why you should attend.

1. The Performances Are Incredible

The massive amounts of time, care, preparation, rehearsals and talent all lead to performances that will simply blow you away. Even if you don’t know a lot about the activity, the entertainment value alone is well worth the ticket price. I remember saying out loud the first time I attended IPA or WGI – "These are high school kids?!"




Avon High School Indoor Percussion at the 2014 WGI World Championships.

2. It’s Not Far

WGI Percussion World Championships are held in Dayton, Ohio. Which is only a couple of hours from Indianapolis. You could head over, watch performances and drive back all in one day. We feel the best day to go to get the most bang for your time is Friday.

3. Don’t Miss The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps Percussion Section

The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps have partnered with WGI for the 2015 season.“The Commandant’s Own” percussion section will appear in exhibition during the Saturday night World Cass Finals event on April 11th.

4. The Expo

The WGI Expo will have vendors of all kinds showcasing the latest in percussion trends. You’ll be able to see up close some of the equipment and gear that the ensembles use during their performances. There are also t-shirts, DVDs, sticks, mallets and more available for purchase.

5. You’ll Be Supporting The Arts

WGI is known as the Sport of the Arts. Their high-energy events use competition as a means to encourage the highest standard of excellence. Participants learn the process of working at something for an extended period of time and see their efforts pay off on a national stage. And since they’re a non-profit youth organization, the money you spend with WGI gets put back in the student community. Over the years WGI has awarded over $500,000 in academic scholarships to students from competing units.

To learn more about schedules, venues, ticket sales and more, visit the WGI Percussion page on their website.

If you go, let us know what you think on our Facebook page! Enjoy!

Make Better Use Of Rehearsal Time With The Lalo Davila Quick Mount Rehearsal Pad

Is your drumline "hacking" on the rims during rehearsal and causing a loud distraction to the rest of the band? Give them something productive to do!

Designed in collaboration with Pearl Artist and acclaimed percussionist Lalo Davila, the Lalo Quick Mount Rehearsal Pad provides a convenient way to stay productive during a slow rehearsal or just to keep your hands warm.

Watch this video to see it in action and explained by Lalo himself!

The small, 3.5” diameter pad stows away easily, and mounts to any 3/8” post for convenient positioning. Practice in silence in any environment, from the concert stage to the football field. The Lalo Pad is a great rehearsal tool for marching percussion ensembles, providing the battery with a silent practice option.

Use the following items to mount the Rehearsal Pad to each of your drums:

Get your hands going while that woodwind arc is adjusted to picture perfect, or work out a tricky lick conveniently and quietly during a water break. Mount, Practice, and Go with the Lalo Quick Mount Rehearsal Pad!