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Funky Drumming Meets Education
Groove Alchemy (Hudson Music)
Martin Kasdan Jr.
Galactic's Stanton Moore is not only one of the world's funkiest drummers, he is a dedicated educator. His Telarc CD Groove Alchemy was reviewed here in May; this month we take a look at his instructional DVD and book of the same name.
While the DVD/book Groove Alchemy is obviously aimed at drummers, these releases should be enjoyable to anyone who loves soul and funk music, especially that of James Brown and the Meters. The book provides not only lessons to players, but also a fascinating narrative study of the styles of such seminal drummers as James Brown's Melvin Parker ("Out of Sight," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"), Clyde Stubblefield ("Cold Sweat," "Funky Drummer") and Jabo Starks ("Sex Machine," "Super Bad").
Moore, a New Orleans native, grew up under the spell of Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste of the Meters ("Cissy Strut," "Right Place, Wrong Time" with Dr. John), whose techniques and innovations are discussed. The DVD contains similar narratives, while providing visual and audio examples of the beats.
In addition to the solo demonstrations, Moore is joined by his bandmates from the Stanton Moore Trio, guitarist Will Bernard and organist Robert Walter, for workouts on many of the tunes from the CD. These provide valuable examples of how to integrate the drum patterns and exercises with other musicians to form an organic whole.
Drummers who read music will gain much from both the book and DVD together. Non-reading drummers and even non-musicians can appreciate Moore's obvious love of the music and respect for his predecessors (while encouraging creativity) in both media. And if you just want to hear the music, you can't go wrong with the CD.
Find out more at, well, stantonmoore.com.