New Video Lessons & University of Chicago


New things are happening at
The new series focuses on all meters in duple and triple feel. As we are all familiar with 4/4 and cut time, we zero in on approaching mostly odd meter. It's one thing to count however, that limits your understanding. Once you lose count you are off the grid. So it is as important, if not more, to learn and practice the feel of all odd meter from as many angles as possible. Constant repetition is the key. I am often asked how I think of all odd meter and I must stress that there are NO SHORTCUTS. I develop drum chants and loop them over and over until I can hear other ways to approach whatever the meter is that I am trying to perform smoothly. Again, this is achieved through repeating and looping over and over until you feel the phrases that help you understand the meter.
Currently I am working with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman at University of Chicago/Reva & David Logan Center For The Performing Arts. We are in residency July 8 - August 6. This residency consists of workshops, open rehearsals, and nightly performances. It's a full on musical environment in which the public whether professional, student, beginner or just observer can participate.
When the few drummers that have been there come up and play, I notice how they all have what I call bad habits. While we are demonstrating each drum chant, phrase by phrase, clapping and singing the rhythms (because it is best to be able to sing everything without an instrument so you really internalize the music), the drummers somehow miss the fact that everything comes from simplifying each phrase and repeating it over and over. The drummers want to immediately rock the rides and play some habitual patterns before they even know the music in its simple form. In other words, none of them create a simple pocket.
There is a simple pocket for everything. The most difficult rhythmic music from Steve Coleman to Meshuggah to Tosin Abasi can be approached from a simple pocket. This is what requires the commitment from you as a drummer. This is something that will literally help you out of the Drummers Well that many fall in.
I am bold enough to make this statement because I only see drummers interested in chops and technique while overlooking the main importance of providing a good feeling pocket for whatever style of music they are supposed to be supporting. Why else would Steve Coleman, a rhythmic genius, hire me for the last 20 years? His music forces me to find pockets all the time. Many times on the spot as we create music on the bandstand 100% of the time. Most groups rehearse certain things and do the same thing every night. Throw a slight rhythmic curve at musicians like that and they are in a place of rhythmic bewilderment instantly and everything falls apart on the scene. This is a tragedy as American culture is pretty weak with triple feel as a whole.
Now we have as a place for the drummer and all musicians to understand the Universe of Rhythm without bias.
Performances from University of Chicago are also posted so please take a little time and visit all the content available to help every drummer understand every approach instantly.