A few months back I picked up an AUDIX D6 bass drum mic after using one at a gig. I have been using my trusty AKG D-112 for about 15 years now, but when the engineer plugged in the D6 my ears lit up with delight! So much so that I had to whip out the AKG mic to A/B the difference. What I found is, with the EQ flat, the D6 is sub-beast from hell. Great top-end attack with this fat bottom-end punch. It’s the perfect kick mic for live situations. I still use the AKG because some studio engineers still prefer its natural sound, but the D6 is my mic of choice. The price is an added bonus.
One of the most influential albums in Herbie Hancock’s career to date is Headhunters. I didn’t find this one until a few years ago. I was into Herbie’s more traditionally oriented jazz records, but this CD is full of deep down, gritty funk. Harvey Mason is masterful on the kit. Great percussion from Bill Summers. Herbie riffs with synths and Fender Rhodes over these fat grooves. A must for any drummer’s collection.
What do you get when you morph Dennis Chambers with a twelve year old? Check out Tony Royster Jr. ripping it up at a drum festival. That’s what you get. It is almost unbelievable. He dedicates his performance to the great Tony Williams by throwing in a few Tony Williams signature tom/snare combinations to boot! The linear beats towards the end of the eight minute video are bad to the bone.
Want to learn funk licks from the masters? This is the DVD. Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jab’o” Starks… period! That’s all you need to say. Clyde and Jab’o take you through the funkiest of James Brown’s most sampled grooves… “Funky Drummer”, “I Got the Feelin'”, “Mother Popcorn” and the list goes on. There are also live performances with Fred Wesley, Fred Thomas, John Scofield, and John Medeski. Just being able to learn the “Funky Drummer” groove from the masters is enough reason to pick up this DVD.
One of the most inspirational DVDs I have come across is definately Steve Jordan’s ‘The Groove is Here’. Set in New York City, it documents Steve’s thoughts on groove, timing, and playing music. There are excellent in-studio performances with Danny Kortchmar and Bernie Worrell, plus interviews with Steve and friends he has worked with. Levon Helm(The Band) is a highlight! As is the realization of the length of a quarter note… invaluable. This is not a “let me show you how to play a million notes in one measure” DVD, it is about being a musician first, and a grooving drummer second.