First mix of play-along track (without drums) for The Church Drummer Play-Along Tracks. Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Is Our God.” Very grateful to Steph Macleod, Dave Biddulph, Mark Cameron and Peter Crockett for playing on the track and to Frazer Knox for engineering and mixing.
DVD Shoot, Day Two 28/1/12
Felt much more comfortable today, and got a lot done. Felt a bit edgy explaining some rudiments but the section on tuning went well. I am most thankful to the team that helped out, Michal, James, Chris, Liza and Molly, they were all fantastic. Also thanks to Rev. Kenny Borthwick for being interviewed, he had a lot of useful things to say, including “most Christians don’t read their Bibles!”
DVD Shoot, Day One 27/1/12
So I had my first experience today of how Drum Instructional DVDs work…well, ones on a shoestring budget. I felt stressed, nervous, excited and exhausted all at the same time. I learnt a lot about how to talk on camera. I had a long day. 12 hours of basically non-stop shooting. Very new experience and totally out of my comfort zone. But I believe it’s going to be worth it.
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Another of my favourite drummers is Russ Miller. A well-known session player who has played with artists such as Nelly Furtado and Cher as well as on many soundtracks such as Lethal Weapon 4 and The Killing Game. His 2008 DVD/CD play-along release, Arrival – Behind the Glass, is a great instructional manual. I highly recommend it. In the DVD he plays different styles of music, many of them drum duets with legends such as Steve Gadd, Jeff Hamilton, Johnny Rabb and Rick Marotta . He then breaks down each song, along with the concepts involved. There are performances of each song on the DVD, as well as play-alongs of most of the tracks, with excellent charts and notation in the e-book to go with it. Here is an excerpt of his e-book, showing a unique perspective on timekeeping:
‘ Timekeeping: It is so important to be able to keep consistent time. It is very difficult to create a “Pulse” when the timekeeping is inconsistent. Time is not the beats per minute of a piece of music. That is only one part of timekeeping. Most players get the fact that the meter has to be consistent. It is very obvious when someone’s meter is having major problems. It is not so obvious when the second part of keeping time is having an issue. That is the “Subdivision” between the beats. Subdivision is the space between the notes that we play. Controlling this space is the key to everything that we perform. Your mind and body need to hear and feel what it is like to play in perfect time. We are not robots, but we should strive for being as solid as possible. If everyone in the ensemble has great time, it will always sound really tight. This is the reason great players can play a song for the first time together and sound so “rehearsed.” ‘
Russ Miller Arrival E-Book pp4-5.
Russ Miller’s Official Website
Review of “Arrival: Behind the Glass” from Drummer Cafe:
RUSS MILLER’S 3-DISC “ARRIVAL: BEHIND THE GLASS” DVD/CD SET COMBINES STELLAR PERFORMANCES WITH GROUNDBREAKING INSIGHT, INSTRUCTION AND PLAY-ALONG OPPORTUNITIES.
Presenting one of today’s leading drum artists along with a host of LA’s top studio musicians and more than a dozen of the world’s best-known drummers and percussionists, Arrival: Behind The Glass (Hudson Limited) by Russ Miller is an unprecedented, three-disc package that contains a full-length audio CD, a minus-drums play-along CD and a jam-packed DVD with artist interviews, extensive instructional content and documentary footage of these historic recording sessions.
“I had been working on the concepts and material for a new record more than two years when the idea of exploring how different musicians interpret rhythm and pulse came to me,” Russ explains. “Nine ‘superstars’ of the drum world agreed to be involved and we composed pieces featuring two full drumkit parts, based on the styles of the drummers I was going to play with. Then, those pieces became the inspiration for the songs with the band. This was a huge project and a very humbling, exciting and incredible learning experience for me.”
“Arrival”, the featured 80-minute audio CD, is Miller’s third independent record project and features ten new compositions performed by an all-star line-up of musicians, including world-class percussionistsPete Lockett, Luis Conte and Richie Gajate Garcia. Interspersed with these ensemble performances are nine “Rhythmic Conversations”- original drum duets between Russ and modern drum heroes Steve Gadd, Steve Smith, Jeff Hamilton Rick Marotta, Zoro Johnny Rabb, John “JR” Robinson, Akira Jimbo and Wolfgang Haffner.
A second CD containing minus drums tracks and printable transcriptions of both parts of the drum duets, gives players an opportunity to sit in with some of the greatest drummers in the world and learn a variety of challenging rhythmic concepts and techniques.
Completing the multi-media learning system is a 3-hour and 20-minute DVD in which Miller demonstrates and explains how to analyze, play and develop many of the musical ideas used in the Arrival pieces. The DVD also includes interviews with all the drummers and documentary footage taken throughout the 3-year production process. Additional bonus features on the DVD are split-screen video for multiple views of the recording sessions, DTS 5.1 surround sound and an e-Book with printable charts and exercises as well as Pro-Tools® data files that allow the listener to re-mix the tracks.
One of Los Angeles’ top studio musicians, Russ Miller has recorded with a wide variety of internationally-acclaimed artists. He has also performed on more than 300 albums including multiple Grammy® award winning recordings as well as the soundtracks of many feature films. The five-time Modern Drummer Readers Poll winner has also released two books, three videos and two solo albums while remaining active as a clinician and part-time inventor of drum accessories.
Check out this brief testimony from one of my favourite drummers, Gregg Bissonette. Gregg’s playing and attitude towards music is a constant inspiration. He is a well-respected session drummer based in L.A. There’s no doubt you’ll have heard his playing at some point, as he played on film tracks such as Finding Nemo and The Bourne Supremacy, as well as TV soundtracks such as King of the Hill and Friends. He currently tours with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band. Check him out!