Gig Announcement: Juneteenth Jazz at the Hotel Utica, Saturday, June 14th

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The Matthew Rockwell Group (like on the facebook) will be making the trip out to Utica this coming Saturday, June 14th as part of the entertainment for the For The Good, Inc.’s Juneteenth Jazz Night event, sharing the stage with some notable Utica heavy hitters.

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The band at Sparkytown, 23 May 2014. Photo by Jack M. Hardendorf.

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Play Softly And Carry A Thin Pair Of Sticks, Or A Drummer’s Guide To CNY Venues, Part 1: The Buzz Cafe, Syracuse

This (what I hope will be a) series of posts stems from a gig that changed the way I approached all the songs I played that evening (specifically, this gig). Changed in the kind of way that I wish the band had had proper notice of the situation we (well, I) were walking into in terms of the room, the acoustics, and the management. On the plus side, Syracuse is undergoing what I think is a slow expansion of mom+pop places that open their doors to live music. This is just fine for most styles of music and small groups. On the down side, these tend to be small places. This is just fine for most styles of music and small groups.

This can be a problem for a set drummer, which can then be a problem for the rest of the band. You rehearse and rehearse with a group at one volume, playing at a level at which you are comfortable playing all the complicated fills and patterns you like. Everyone gets used to hearing certain things and you get use to executing those things. Then you find yourself at a venue with your full kit and an owner who doesn’t seem to like loud noises. And by loud noises, I mean sounds generated by the lightest sticks you own using little more than your fingers to propel them several inches. And I understand the hesitancy an owner might have when confronted by a drummer they’ve never heard, as I’ve certainly sat near my share of drummers who didn’t adjust their playing volume to the room. But with this new adjustment, you’re not playing the same song you (and the band) have grown accustomed to. Now, the whole band may find itself reacting to this new dynamic from the drummer, while all the others in the band had to do was turn their volume knobs down a bit.

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Sand, Pebbles, And Fill – RR/LL, RRR/LLL, and RRRR/LLLL Sticking Combinations From The Original “Stone Boulder” Series

You could spend your life on the first six pages of “Stick Control” and still not cover all the possibilities. Dynamics, accents, foot-hand, foot-foot, fast/slow, hands on top of foot patterns, feet on top of hand patterns, regroupings and accenting in 5-7-4 (regrouping of the 16 strokes per pattern), 7-5-4 (re-regrouping of the 16 strokes), yadda yadda. If you see the first six pages of Stick Control as just exercises, you miss the fantastic complexity YOU can introduce to constantly humble yourself while hovering over a practice pad.

George L. Stone's Stick Control

You should have a copy regardless (amazon.com direct link).

The original post related to the PDFs below (link) provided two downloads. The first was all 65,536 R/L combinations for 16th note groupings (so full measures of 16th notes in 4/4 time). The second contained all 4,096 8th note triplet groupings (so full measures of 8th notes in 12/8 time, or 4/4 “jazz” triplets).

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Zenero (sp?) Bell/Cymbal/Chime Question – Now It’ll Appear Twice! – And The Vimeo Spizzichino Mini-Documentary To Boot

It seems a near-impossibility that you can buy something in a store today that has (as of this post) ZERO google footprint, but I found it. On a recent trip to Buke at the Music Center on James St., I picked up the cymbal/chime/bell/thing below. The only identifiers on this 6″ core of a heavy ride cymbal are the cursive TM’ed text that looks like “Zenero” and a pure tone that can be easily discerned from background noise for a minute or more (and you can feel the air buzzing just around it as it rings).

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The “Stone Boulders” – All 12-Group (4,096) and 16-Group (65,536) L/R Sticking Combinations In PDF Format

George L. Stone's Stick Control

You should have a copy regardless (amazon.com direct link).

[Drafted as an article for somewhere, stuck here instead…]

You could spend your life on the first six pages of “Stick Control” and still not cover all the possibilities. Dynamics, accents, foot-hand, foot-foot, fast/slow, hands on top of foot patterns, feet on top of hand patterns, regroupings and accenting in 5-7-4 (regrouping of the 16 strokes per pattern), 7-5-4 (re-regrouping of the 16 strokes), yadda yadda. If you see the first six pages of Stick Control as just exercises, you miss the fantastic complexity YOU can introduce to constantly humble yourself while hovering over a practice pad.

Continue reading “The “Stone Boulders” – All 12-Group (4,096) and 16-Group (65,536) L/R Sticking Combinations In PDF Format”

The Excelsior Cornet Band At Canastota Public Library, 4 October 2009

“I know only two tunes.  One is Old Hundredth, the other one isn’t.” – Abraham Lincoln

Nearly six score days ago, the Excelsior Cornet Band performed in Canastota, NY as part of the Art & Music series at the Canastota Public Library.  As reported in the Fall 2009 edition of  “Check It Out!” (the library’s newsletter, of which a copy of the Fall 2009 PDF is saved locally at 2010january_excelsior_checkitout.pdf)…

On October 4, a concert is planned with “The Excelsior Cornet Band”.  “The Excelsior Cornet Band” is New York State’s only authentic Civil War brass band.  Founded in 2001, the band consists of a group of upstate New York musicians who are dedicated to the performance of original Civil War music on actual antique brass band instruments of the 1860’s period.  They will be performing their Abraham Lincoln Program on Sun., Oct 4 at 2 pm on the second floor of the Library.

Is this thing on? – Jeff Stockham


The Excelsior Cornet Band. Tintype photo by John A. Coffer.

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An Old Post And A New Corresponding Site: The Bozzio Independence Method And Much More At drumcontrol.com

This post existed in the long, long ago version of this website (roughly June, 2001). With javascript-in-wordpress now figured out to my satisfaction (starting page HERE), I’ve reposted this drum exercise for official linking at www.drumcontrol.com, a website started by Roy SeGuine that included several excellent exchanges between Roy and myself and, I’m pleased to report, does a far more thorough job than this little page below does at explaining the procedure (and dig that Classic Gold Sparkle Gretsch kit on the readme page).

This is the method presented by Terry Bozzio in many of his clinics. Once you can play all 15 measures above against ANY rhythm possible from repeated combinations of the above measures (so-called “ostinatos“), then you’ve played every sixteenth note-based subdivision possible. There are, of course, actually 16 measures, the first being the one with nothing played (the easiest to master for most rhythms). The importance of this null case will be important in later sections. Note that the above is for sixteenth notes in 1/4. The game is played differently for 1/4 with triplets, quintuplets, etc. The mechanism is the same, however. If you feel inclined, the other possible combinations are easy to write down using the Pascal Triangle to keep track.

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Fuse Box Description and Amperage Settings For “New” Volkswagen Beetles

The Volkswagen New Beetle.  You can get a full-sized drum set into these things (although a 24″ kick’s going to require a padded case), a fact I learned after I bought the car in 2002, as my old Pearl Prestige Session drums had, at the time, been stolen by an antiquities-dealing crack addict who was part of a police sting operation to catch a drug lord on Syracuse‘s West Side.  One of my better band stories and proof that people on drugs are not in their right state of mind.  Also handy for transporting computer clusters across state lines.

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Grove Havener At Coleman’s Irish Pub, 6 March 2009

Top o’ the afternoon to ya, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  A fortuitous occurrence above the western skies (relative to my apartment) of Syracuse in the direction of Tipperary Hill (where, for those interested in local trivia, the traffic light has the green on top thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Irish youths in the 1920’s) brings to mind three questions about the most recent (and my first sub’ing) Grove Havener (who’s name, for those interested in local trivia, is taken from an Earth Science teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt) gig at Coleman’s Irish Pub on 6 March 2009:

(1) Will it go ’round in circles?

(2) Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

(3) Did we play that Billy Preston cover?

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Time Improvement Audio Files And Tips For Drummers (And Others)

There’s the notion of “organic time,” the ebbing and flowing of the tempo as the band intensifies, backs off the tempo for emphasis, etc., “perfect time,” the absolute metronomic, dare I say, preservation of the tempo, and “criminal time,” the one where you demonstrate that your timekeeping skills were honed by dropping bags of marbles down stairs, where the spaces between your beats obey Boltzmann statistics, where your band mates “put a warrant out for 1” in the hopes that the local authorities can find it before your solo ends.

“Some fours take longer than others.” – Elvin Jones (9 September 1927 – 18 May 2004)

This quote from The Great One was made not in regards to his soloing technique, but rather to pay regards to his occasional instances of needing to stretch-and-bend the meter in order to get that last thought in.

There’s the notion of “organic time,” the ebbing and flowing of the tempo as the band intensifies, backs off the tempo for emphasis, etc., “perfect time,” the absolute metronomic, dare I say, preservation of the tempo, and “criminal time,” the one where you demonstrate that your timekeeping skills were honed by dropping bags of marbles down stairs, where the spaces between your beats obey Boltzmann statistics, where your band mates “put a warrant out for 1” in the hopes that the local authorities can find it before your solo ends. There will always be places for “organic time” and “perfect time” in music, but “criminal time” is, well, somehow criminal, if for no other reason than you can’t justify exactly how you’ve managed to pull it off and, very likely, can’t make that lightning strike twice.

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