Astral Project w JV on drums
Johnny Vidacovich and Stanton Moore
Big Easy Hosts Jazz Educators: A Drummer’s Perspective
By Michael Vosbein
It started like this: "Hey man, my roommate cancelled on JEN in New Orleans. If you can get yourself down there, you’ve got a place to stay.” “Hmm. Let me see if I can cover the show for Classic Drummer Magazine." Media credential secured, I made the drive down from Atlanta to my home town of New Orleans.
The conference offered an opportunity to hear and meet a who’s who of notable drummers who are also committed educators. Peter Erskine, Ed Soph, Daniel Glass, Rich Thompson, John Riley, Jim White, Steve Houghton, to name a few, were all onboard with much to offer. Clinics, presentations, panel discussions and concert performances ran from early morning to late night for three straight days. New Orleans is an obvious choice for a conference on jazz eduction, but it also has a rich drumming legacy that has heavily influenced jazz and other genres. To that point, the conference schedule was checker-boarded with some wonderful New Orleans drummers, including Johnny Vidacovich, Stanton Moore, Stephen Gordon and Julian Addison.
First up for me was a concert by the now legendary New Orleans band, Astral Project. The great Johnny Vidacovich was stunning in his mastery, injecting his own brand of New Orleans melodic rhythms, as he calls them, into every style, dynamic, and tempo. The “Mother Church” element of the famed New Orleans Second Line is very much evident in Johnny’s playing and served, for me at least, to bond the conference to the city. Stanton Moore gave a presentation on the history of New Orleans drumming that included a surprise contribution from the great Joe Chambers, who was checking things out before his own appearance. The next day Stanton played with his new jazz trio, showcasing some impressive brush chops. Drummer/historian Daniel Glass also discussed key elements of early New Orleans drums and drumming in an informative multi-media presentation on the evolution of the drum set.
On evening concerts, New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the noted Marsalis family of jazz musicians, was fueled by the playing of NOLA drummer, Stephen Gordon. The group offered a taste of the more modern side of present day New Orleans jazz. On the other side of the spectrum, NOLA drummer Julian Addison provided pulsing authentic street rhythms behind the well known crowd pleasers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which brought the audience out of their seats in dance.
Those venturing into the nearby French Quarter could hear local New Orleans drummers Shannon Powell at Preservation Hall, Ernie Elly at Palm Court, Johnny Vidacovich, Russell Batiste and Stanton Moore at the Maple Leaf in the river bend area, and many others in the hip small clubs that dot the local scene.
While drums weren't by any means the single focal point of the conference, for me they certainly were the highlight. Then there’s the food, but don’t get me started!
Daniel Glass, Bob Breithaupt, John Riley, Stanton Moore
Classic Drummer Hall of Fame Member
DOUG “COSMO” CLIFFORD
is Honored In a New Exhibit at
The Unique Musical Instrument Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ
Original Creedence Clearwater Revival and current Creedence Clearwater Revisited drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford has his most iconic drum kit, a 1969 CAMCO, featured in a new exhibit in the popular Artist Gallery at the unique Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona.
The CAMCO kit is the one that Clifford played at Woodstock, and it was used on all of the CCR albums with the exception of the first two records. These were the drums used on some of the band’s most loved releases including Cosmo’s Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys and Green River. Videos will accompany the exhibit including vintage footage from the Johnny Cash Show (where the kit was also featured), a clip of Doug setting up the kit at MIM and discussing the state of drum hardware in the latter 60s, and recent concert footage proving Clifford is still rockin’ just as hard on tour today. This great piece of American rock n’ roll history will reside in MIM’s Artist Gallery, sharing excellent company with other iconic instruments such as John Lennon’s piano used for the composition of “Imagine,” guitars played by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carlos Santana, and many other instruments owned and used by artists who have shaped musical history.
The museum was delighted to hear that Clifford divides his off-road time between homes in nearby Scottsdale, AZ and Reno, NV. Clifford was also included in MIM’s Beyond the Beat: Drums of the World special exhibition in 2014 that showcased the diversity and richness of drumming traditions from around the globe.
MIM opened in 2010 and it displays more than 6,500 instruments collected from around 200 countries and territories of the world. The museum views music and instruments as a common thread to the human experience. The active Experience Gallery is a “hands on” space where visitors are encouraged to play a wide variety of instruments.
MIM’s Curator for USA/Canada, Rich Walter, says, “We were so excited to include Doug Clifford in our global Beyond the Beat exhibition, and now it is an honor to welcome him again into MIM’s Artist Gallery! Doug literally created the beat of classic rock on that Camco kit, and played it on stage at Woodstock, so our guests get to see an instrument that really shaped American music and popular culture!” It will be on display through 2017.
Classic Drummer Magazine's new Large Text feature makes reading from your phone or tablet super easy!
Simply click any article's title for a text version with adjustable font sizes. Backlit black text on a white background is actually easier to read than print on paper. No pinching and stretching required. Not only that, media clips featuring T.O.P. Live, Ringo on his iconic kit and Peter Erskine's new release make Classic Drummer's Digital Issue THE way to access Music's Most Influential Drummers.
Three Classic Drummer Hall of Famers Inducted Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame This Year
Cheap Trick's Bun E Carlos, Deep Purple's Ian Paice and Chicago's Danny Seraphine were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April. Of course Classic Drummer readers have been ahead of the curve for sometime, having already voted all three into the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame.
Ringo & His All Starr Band Announce 2016 North American Tour
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band – featuring Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette – announce another string of North American shows. The tour kicked off on June 3 in Syracuse, New York and ended with two dates in California, the first July 1 at Humphreys in San Diego and concluding the tour July 2 at The Greek in Los Angeles. This current All Starr line up is the 12th and longest running, and as Ringo recently told The Boston Globe, “I love this band – we have a lot of fun together on and offstage, so here we come again.”That love is evident in their performances, exemplified by this review in the Sarasota Tribune-Herald: “This latest incarnation of Starr’s travelling show has been together now going on three years and watching them interact as an actual band, rather than a supergroup taking turns out front, is almost as fun, almost, as watching and screaming “I love you” at the front man who will forever be part of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time.”