You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2009.

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My wife gave birth to our second daughter yesterday morning (10/29/09).  She was born at 3:53am and weighed in at 8lbs, 3oz. We’re calling her “Suzy” for short (her middle name is my Grandmother’s nickname).  She’s asleep next to me on the bed with Kristyn right now.  Pretty great.

The whole process was amazingly easy for my wife Kristyn, which we’re both really thankful for.  We arrived at the hospital at 11:45pm on 10/28/09, got checked in, and right away the nurse confirmed that Kristyn was ready to give birth.  She was pretty far along in her labor at that point, so her contractions were getting real bad.  We were thankful to get an epidural right away, which made the rest of the birth very easy on Kristyn, pain-wise.  Our friend Karin Heitzman was with us the whole time in the birth room.  She’s a great photographer and it was really nice to have someone there to capture the moments with high-quality photos.  I also had my Flip camcorder and got a ton of footage.

Suzy was born just before 4am, and we spent the rest of the day enjoying time with her and getting visits from family members.  The only real bummer in the situation was the strict visitation rules, which had been recently revised due to all the flu stuff.  The policy doesn’t allow children under 5 years old in the hospital at all, which unfortunately meant that Betty (our other daughter) couldn’t see her new baby sister.  I slept at home with Betty last night, and when I got home we did a video chat with Kristyn and Suzy at the hospital.  My sister-in-law was there to snap a picture of Betty’s reaction to first seeing Suzy…

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I had to do a clinic down at McNally School of Music this morning (10/30), but I got back to the hospital around 2pm, and we’ve spent the day enjoying visits from friends.  Here’s a picture from “awake time” this afternoon…

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We’re really thankful for Suzy and all the support and encouragement from everyone.  I’m sure I’ll post additional pictures and videos at the Goold “family blog” over the next few weeks and months, so check that out if you want to.

Here’s a short video I put together of Suzy’s first day on earth…

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Not to be a jerk, but Adam Clayton (bassist for U2… i.e. guy with the easiest job in the world) has a serious clam in the U2 Rose Bowl Youtube broadcast. Check out 17:30 on the video. Bummer man. Right after his huge rock star pose too (17:20). Apparently playing the main bass line in the CHORUS of a song you play every night while walking across a stage bridge is too difficult even for Adam Clayton.

Seriously though, the rest of the show is great.  The broadcast was live this past Sunday night, but the video (all 2.5 hours of it) is still up on U2’s youtube channel.  Well worth the time, and I don’t know how long it will be there, being that the “normal” youtube video is 9 minutes max.

So, I have a Twitter account. Nothing special there… everybody has one these days.  I’ve had it for a while, but lately all I use it for is “following” what other people are doing – drummers, musicians generally, news stuff, theology stuff… whatever. But, it turns out I can link it to this blog (look left right now on the blog template), so I think I’ll start posting more often show it shows up here. I’d love to hear more regularly what everyone who reads listens to, so this is the open invite to post comments about you’re listening.  I’m not sure what that looks like since you can’t post comments on the Twitter feed, but I’m just saying.  Everybody look for ways to fill me in on stuff that you’re listening to.

PS. I realize I haven’t been posting as often as I normally do, but my wife is about to give birth to our second child any day now, so that’s why the blog is less of a priority.  I’ll get some pictures up here when the baby arrives.

 

Been thinking this week about how, historically speaking, artists are normally slightly ahead of their audiences. In this way the artists themselves are always the ones responsible for the “progress” in the medium. Technology is driven by the market, Sports are driven by the competition, Politics are driven by the culture… but Art is driven by the artists, often to the dismay of the market/competition/culture. In this way Art plays a huge role in forming/influencing the future.

Sorry for being overly deep. I’m just really impressed with artists that take chances and intentionally move away from the comfort zone that brought them their success – pushing themselves into new areas that don’t necessarily promise the same results. Case in point: this cool interview with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois about the making of U2’s The Unforgettable Fire.

10/25/09 UPDATE: I’m watching the Youtube live broadcast of U2’s Rose Bowl show.  I am really struck right now with how HUGE this band’s footprint is on music/culture.  It’s hard to believe one band can accomplish so much.

I’m gathering up cool Paiste cymbals like crazy lately. I posted a few weeks ago about the Giant Beats that I bought, and now here’s some footage of my Dark Energy set-up: 21″ Mark 1 ride, 18″ Mark 1 crash, and 14″ Mark 1 hats. I also have the discontinued 20″ crash on order direct through the factory, but it’s not here yet.  The Flip camera gets a little over-driven toward the end… sorry…

UPDATE:  I couldn’t resist posting this also… it’s Phil Hicks (bass in Sanoski Band) giving a clinic on pocket…

Well, something happened to my blog. Not sure how, but all of a sudden I’m getting significantly more traffic than usual. Meaning, I used to get between 80-150 hits a day, and for the past two weeks I’ve been averaging 700 hits a day. Huh. Maybe the WordPress hit tracker is adding a zero onto all my stats or something?

Anyway, just to be safe, I changed the header photo on the site. Up until now I’ve been using this totally rad Basquiat painting of Max Roach, but… I don’t own the copyright to it and I’m afraid I might get myself in legal trouble somewhere. If anybody knows anything about that please fill me in, because I’d love to put the Basquiat back up if there isn’t a problem with that.  You can read about why I like that painting here.

And, while I was changing the header photo I decided to also change the tag line on the blog. “Drummers Are Musicians Too” might sound cheesy, but it really summarizes what this blog is about. There are plenty of drum forums and youtube videos out there that consist only of stupid hair-splitting drummer CRAP, so I decided right from the start to make this site about MUSIC. Being a drummer means being a musician – period. That means all the things that matter to musicians should matter to drummers. This blog often takes a specific look at how drummers are involved in music, because I myself am a drummer, but the concepts and discussions can and should occupy the broader world of music and art, not just drums.

PS. The new header photo is a shot of a band I’m in called the Bill Mike Band. You check our music out here.

Ok… the new John Mayer single… I just heard the song for the first time while watching the video, and I seriously don’t know how to respond. The track is like Tom Petty’s beautiful record Wildflowers, but with Busta Rhymes writing the lyrics.  Aside from the music and production being really great, the song is a complete letdown.

I suppose this is my 1:00am gut reaction, so maybe I’ll recant later.  If you want to check it out for yourself, then you’ll have to click here, because I don’t want to embed this video.  The images/concept are, frankly, a lot of what is wrong with today’s generation in America… in my opinion, of course.

The whole thing just seems so out-of-character for the guy who wrote Continuum and regularly calls for Americans to remember their brave men and women in uniform.  In fact, I have a small hunch that releasing this track as the first single on Mayer’s new record is actually part of a big sociological statement on his part.  I mean, literally, the song and the video are an EXACT REPRESENTATION of what most people associate with the becoming-a-different-person-once-you-hit-the-big-time phenomenon.  Whatever the case, I just really hope the rest of the record is different.

That is all.  (steps down from soapbox…)

UPDATE:  Lots of great discussion about this in the comments… nice.  Meanwhile, the second single was just released, and I really dig it.  Check it out below…

Jeremy “Bwack” Bush, drummer for the David Crowder Band, just revealed his new live drum layering invention… a robotic drumset.  For real… fast forward to 6:40 on the video and you will see what I’m talking about…

There’s more on “Steve” and how he was created at Bwack’s blog.

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In celebration for the release of Joel’s new record this Friday at Open Door, I posted the first three tracks of the record as the first three songs on my myspace player. I’m only posting them this week, so go check it out.

. . . . . . .

We’ll be playing at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove at 7pm.  Tickets, which are cheaper before the night of the show, can be ordered at the Echo Ministries website.

Part 4 was an explanation of “So What” by Miles Davis as an example of Jazz improvisation.  My friend Bryan, after reading my explanation, listened to the track and had this to say…

Oh man, that was sweet. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to “So What” until after I had read your e-mail. Totally different listening experience. Very, very cool.

I think I’m tracking with everything you’ve said so far.  In “So What” I definitely saw the intro, the head on the front and back end, and understood (for the first time) what the soloists are doing in terms of exploring the
floor but staying in the form. Despite it only being two notes, I was able to pick up on the form throughout the soloing, mostly because I tried to hum what I heard in the head during some of the soloing to see if I could make sense of how they line up. In fact, I think the simple head made it easier to see how the form and soloing lined up because I had less to keep straight in my mind. So, I think I get that.

I don’t think my ear is nearly subtle enough (yet) to pick up on what the other guys are doing to dialogue with the soloist. It just sounds like they’re doing their own thing (within the form) regardless of what the soloist is doing. So maybe you can help me understand what it sounds like to dialogue with the soloist well and what it sounds like to do it poorly so I can see the distinction.

One other thing I’m not able to pick up on yet is how the transitions between soloists are signaled. I know you said that the soloist has the “floor” as long as he wants, and that’s always been my impression of soloists, but you also said that the soloist “plays something that sounds like a conclusion,” and I’m definitely not hearing that. I can’t hear any difference between the way Miles or Coltrane wrap up and the way Evans wraps up. I did clearly see what you said about how Coltrane picks up on Miles’ conclusion and is ready for it, but how no
one picks up on Evans’ conclusion and so they have to tread water for 8 bars, but ALL of the conclusions sounded abrupt to me. Nothing in me ever said, “Oh, he’s about to finish.” So maybe you can help me hear
that at some point.

So, here’s my response to Bryan, addressing the issues of musical dialogue and conclusions in solos…

Musical Dialogue, AABA, and Melody vs. Chops

Well, as far as the dialogue goes, a helpful thing for me is to imagine that I’m actually in the band.  So pretend you’re there, with the musicians, playing along, and try to let each of the soloists suggest things for you to play.  Of course, you’re just taking their suggestions – you’re not actually going to play anything. These “suggestions” just amount to what you’re hearing, the things that are being played by the other musicians, but if you treat them as suggestions then you’ll be listening for a direction from what you’re hearing.  That way, you’re listening with an ear that goes deeper than just an outside observer. This is the difference between active and passive listening. You have to think like you’re in the band. Once you’re doing that, picture each musician “suggesting” things not only to you, but to the other musicians as well, and try to hear the things the other musicians are do in response. The soloist has the floor, but the other musicians, as they respond to the soloist’s suggestions, might in turn suggest things to the soloist.

For some specific examples of good interaction, listen to the very beginning of Miles’ solo. Check out how Evans starts out by just playing the “horn hits” from the head, but then at 1:39 he just lays out and listens to Miles. Then check out his direct “response” at 1:52 to what Miles played right before then. At the top of the next time through the form, Paul Chambers (bassist) changes his line up quite a bit and that really alters the overall vibe. You can hear Evans also change as a result, but then at 2:43 , Chambers returns to a walk pattern and Evans goes back to the ideas he was playing earlier. Also, check out the Eflat dorian section on Miles’ second time through the form (2:57). Toward the end of those 8 bars, you can hear Evans wait for Miles to do something before he chimes in.  Again, all of this is known as “comping”… Miles is soloing, and Evans/Chambers are comping.

It would be important at this point to get some additional terminology in your vocab. First, the various sections in a form are labeled with algebra variables. We’ll call the first 8 bars the “A” section, which then repeats, and then the Eflat dorian section would be the “B” section, and the last 8 bars are another “A.” So the form of this tune would be described as “AABA,” and if I were to identify the section at 5:43, I would call it “the first B section of Cannonball’s solo.” Next vocab item: “Blowing.” This is a slang term for soloing, because at the beginning of the Jazz movement only horn players took solos (the rhythm section just played the groove and chord changes). So the only people who were soloing were people whose instruments needed air, so “blowing” became what they did during the solo section. Nowadays, I would say something about “blowing” even to a bassist, who of course doesn’t use any air. “Blowing” is just slang for all solos.

Lastly, for the concluding the solo thing, you have to think melody. These players aren’t just trying to demonstrate their chops and technique on the instrument, they are trying to compose MELODIES. This means that you want to listen to how cool the lines sound as music, and don’t just watch for instrumental fireworks. This is one of the most common misunderstandings about Jazz… that the players are always trying to floor you with their unbelievable speed and agility on the instrument. That’s boring for most musicians, because the amount of technical prowess you possess is a direct result of your practicing time, but your improvising represents something deeper… like your personality and your intelligence, so to speak. That’s why Miles is hailed the way he is, because his solos are notorious for the sheer EMOTION they deliver. He squeezes every drop of sadness out of every note that’s supposed to be sad, and so on. Try listening to his solo on this tune with that in mind.  You’ll maybe be able to hear his “conclusion” a little more clearly.


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