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The great drummer/vocalist Levon Helm has died. In honor of this, everyone should 1) at least TRY playing the snare hand stick butt-side (upside down), and 2) check out this interview of Levon by Steve Jordan.


Today’s lesson in super killing pocket is brought to you by a young Steve Jordan and his shuffle groove…

Note the quarters only on the ride, and the ILL snare tone.

Yamaha’s got some cool new drums in the Club Custom series, and the main attraction here is a “new” wood called Kapur.  And then we have the Brady guys using exotic woods from Australia, and the recent popularity of non-maple kits (birch, mahogany, bubinga).  It really seems like drum manufacturing is going through a material evolution, following the design evolution in the late 90’s. I’m super interested to hear these new Yamahas, as well as anything else that may come from this new direction in drum-making.

You all know how much I love Steve Jordan’s playing.  And frankly, everyone else should love it too.

But regardless whether or not you love it, you’re going to learn something from this interview with him in last month’s DRUM! magazine.  In other news, it just occured to me that the word “drum” in all caps with an exclamation point after it is an odd name for a magazine, though I guess it fits.

Apparently John Mayer played a full hour-long set at the Ed Sullivan Theater last Thursday, during the taping of the Letterman Show, but the performance was only broadcast in it’s entirety on the CBS website.  So, check out to watch it.

I have to say, Mayer himself doesn’t sound very good, but the band is killing it, and Steve Jordan especially (of course).

Those of you who read this blog know what a Steve Jordan fan I am, so you can guess how disappointing it is to find out only TODAY that Jordan was playing drums (and MD-ing) last night’s Emmy Award Show on CBS.  I totally missed the whole thing.  Dang it.

But, I did manage to find this footage of the band’s studio prep for the show, which also includes some great insight into the LA session scene.  I’m not having any luck finding actual band footage from the event, but you can at least hear them on this clip of the opening number.  Note how Jordan sounds so comfortable playing a groove that’s so far from what he’s known for.

The short blog hiatus continues. I promise it will be SHORT, though. I’ve got some cool stuff in the works for the future, but for now I’m doing lots of practicing and reading and relaxing and so on.

In the meantime, the John Mayer Trio will be on Conan tonight. I wonder if Steve Jordan will still use that set up with the little kick drum off to the side…

6/5/09 Update: Confirmation on the little aux kick drum, even though he didn’t use it.  And… somebody needs to tell Conan’s front of house engineer that the guitar is not supposed to be the hottest part of the mix.  Pearl Jam, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, JMT… the show is 4 for 4 so far on mixing the guitar to WAY too loudly.

Ok, here’s the deal…

I realize I post stuff on this blog about John Mayer a lot.  What can I say… I like him.  I’m not a groupie or anything – I just respect his musicianship/songwriting.  That, and Continuum is one of my favorite records ever.  If I am totally honest, though, the main reason I’m so into his stuff lately is STEVE EFFING JORDAN on drums.  Seriously, I love Steve Jordan’s playing, and Mayer’s music is the main place to see Jordan at work for the past few years.

I’ve seen Jordan’s instructional DVD a couple times, which is rad.  I also have a live Mayer DVD that has Jordan on a few tracks (Where The Light Is), but aside from that I’ve not found much footage of him.  So, I am super pumped to have just now discovered a bazillion clips of him on youtube that I’ve not found before.  I spent the last few hours watching them, and the good ones are listed below.  Do yourself a favor and watch them ALL before you go to sleep tonight, and I bet you will wake up to find you are a better drummer because of it…

Some vintage Steve Jordan – a television performance w/ Jeffy Healey, circa early 80’s… (I feel like this might be from SNL during the era when Jordan held that drum chair). UPDATE: a recent commenter pointed out that this might in fact be Omar Hakim on drums, not Steve Jordan. Interesting.

Recording John Mayer’s “Stitched Up” with Herbie Hancock – this is a clip from a documentary on Herbie’s mulit-collaboration album from a few years ago called Possibilities.  The Jordan footage ends around the 5:30 mark…

Recording Sting’s “Sister Moon” with Herbie Hancock – another segment from the Possibilities documentary, this time featuring Sting, Cyro Baptista (perc), and John Patitucci (bass).  The pattern in the groove on this tune is sick.

Demonstrating a Sheryl Crow track – a clip from Jordan’s instructional DVD, The Groove Is Here.

Jamming with Danny Kortchmar and Bernie Worrell – this is apparently an outtake from The Groove Is Here.

Jamming in John Mayer’s home studio –  I found this video on Mayer’s blog, which is dedicated to chronicling the creation of his new record, Battle Studies.

Another jam from the Battle Studies sessions

Performing “Don’t Need No Doctor” w/ Mayer and John Scofield – Jay Leno show

JMT… “Who Did You Think I Was” – the official video release of the first “John Mayer Trio” single.  This performance totally rips.

JMT… “Wait Until Tomorrow” – the Hendrix tune on Jimmy Kimmel, from back when the John Mayer Trio was first formed.

JMT… “Bold As Love” – more Hendrix, this one from a Tsunami benefit teledrive.  Check out Mayer’s response to his own mistake at 2:51…

JMT… “Cissy Strut” – the Meter’s tune from another teledrive, this time for Katrina.  Jordan rocks a cocktail kit on this, and manages to actually make it sound super hip.

JMT… “Out Of My Mind” – another performance from the early days of JMT, from the Live @ Launch program.  The image is pretty grainy, but the performance of this tune is one of the best I’ve heard.

JMT… “Come When I Call” – a blues tune from the Where The Light Is DVD.  The pocket on this is huge, and Pino’s playing is just unreal.  Snare hit on “1” at 2:28 is oh so perfect.

Finally, there was apparently a JMT television performance that has some affiliation with “Network Live,” as I found a handful of videos from the same show all bearing that logo.  The “Jam” is my fav, but unfortunately the audio/visual timing is a little off on that one…
“I Got A Woman”
“Good Love Is On The Way”

Video #2 on the home-recording of John Mayer’s forthcoming Battle Studies album. This is fresh off the press… he posted this on Twitter just over an hour ago…

John Mayer just posted a link to this video on his Twitter page. It appears he’s beginning work on another album this week, and it also appears that he’s doing the whole thing at his house. I have to say that I am HUGELY PUMPED that Steve Jordan is again producing and playing drums on the record.  That guy rules so much.

PS.  Another random John Mayer story: Monday he twittered a link to this performance of 4’33, the groundbreaking “Chance Operation” work by John Cage.  Mayer comically suggested that the link was “in observance of 4/20,” but the piece itself is absolutely no joke.  Cage has been hailed as the 20th century’s most influential and important Amercian composer, and is a household name among fans of the avant garde.  A good documentary on his life and work can be viewed here.

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