Topic: CD, DVD & Book Reviews (by members)  (Read 16123 times)

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Bart Elliott

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CD, DVD & Book Reviews (by members)
« on: January 01, 2008, 02:00 AM »
Share your opinion(s) on various recorded media (entertainment or educational) by writing your own review of recently acquired CDs, DVDs and Videos ... even live concerts you've attended. Be sure to give the pros and cons ... and let us know your final thoughts ... whether you recommend it or not and why.

Please list the title of the CD or DVD in the SUBJECT heading of your post.

To read the official]Drummer Cafe CD & DVD Reviews  by Bart Elliott, click]here .

If you are looking for some of the best prices on CD, VHS and DVD recordings, use the search feature in our]Drummer Cafe On-line Store ,]Amazon search engine  or]eBay Portal .]Read CD & DVD Reviews (by members) from past years.

Steve "Smitty" Smith

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Vandals Live DVD: With Josh Freese-Cam
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 11:35 AM »
If you’re a Josh Freese fan, or simply a fan of great drumming, you’ll want to pick up the CD/DVD called]The Vandals - Live at the House of Blues (2004).  The DVD has a special feature that allows you to watch the entire concert from the perspective of a stationary camera pointed right at Josh Freese (the camera is positioned to Josh’s left, facing his hi-hat). There’s also a screen-within-screen shot of his bass drum foot action.  It’s super cool to watch the entire gig via the Freese-cam, as it never leaves him – even for the routine between-song stuff like Josh drinking water and soda, catching his breath, taping his fingers, tuning his drums, etc.  And of course, the drumming is phenomenal. This is not the progressive Josh of A Perfect Circle or Sting (which is awesome); this is the rapid-fire punk rock Josh, and boy is he flying on this performance.  Great stuff!

Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Frank Briggs' China Ranch
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 01:48 PM »
My review of]China Ranch  here at the Drummer Cafe.

I first learned of]Frank Briggs through his Mel Bay instructional book, and was puzzled how this virtuoso drummer wasn’t included among the pantheon of great American set players. He is every bit as skilled and versed as legends such as Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. What he has lacked is a high-profile venue to showcase his art.

His new CD,]China Ranch , may very well be that launching pad to notoriety.

The list of drummers who successfully lead jazz projects is a short one, but it’s rare to find such a skilled composer and arranger such as Frank. This effort is reminscent of a different era of jazz fusion, when players played music and there was more concern for the art than the commercial viability of the project. Fans of ground-breaking acts such as Weather Report and Allan Holdsworth will find a kindred spirit here, and there is no shortage of players among the guest list; Steve Weingart, Ric Fierabracci, Frank Gambale, Jimmy Earl, and Jeff Babko are just a few of the “who’s who” of elite players gathered for China Ranch.

You would expect a drummer to give himself room on his own CD — and there is no doubt a wealth of stretching here to linger over — but the pleasant surprise is the strong quality of composition. The freedom the musicians have never overwhelms the music.

Tracks such as China Ranch and Desert Flower stand out as excellent cross-over material with a nod towards the past, where ballads such as Melonie and Riverwalk are welcome retreats to thoughtful melodies.

Like his hero Tony Williams, Briggs leans strongly towards the original jazz-rock idea, and avoids old fusion pitfalls such as out-dated synth sounds and crass funk jams. This is an earnest musician playing earnest fusion. Clearly, Briggs had a broader vision here than to merely blow his own horn — or bang his own drum — and is able to communicate it in an age when jazz fusion sorely needs a return to its roots.

Todd Norris

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Re: CD & DVD Reviews (by members)
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 10:53 PM »
Just received]China Ranch  as reviewed by Gaddy above.  I'm not as eloquent as our dear Gaddy, nor can I say anything better than he just said, so let me just put up a big DITTO THAT!  Absolutely killer CD.  His playing is so controlled!  Get this. 

Bart Elliott

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Billy Ward on Bill Champlin CD
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2009, 05:37 PM »
I'm going to do a formal review of this CD very soon but since I'm moving rather slow, I wanted to go ahead and mention it here.]Bill Champlin  -]No Place Left To Fall]Billy Ward  sounds great on this album. If you are looking for some Billy-isms you won't be disappointed! Nice feel and sounds throughout.

You can listen and purchase MP3s]HERE .

Billy Ward

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Re: Billy Ward on Bill Champlin CD
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 11:42 AM »
I'm going to do a formal review of this CD very soon but since I'm moving rather slow, I wanted to go ahead and mention it here.]Bill Champlin  -]No Place Left To Fall]Billy Ward  sounds great on this album. If you are looking for some Billy-isms you won't be disappointed! Nice feel and sounds throughout.

You can listen and purchase MP3s]HERE .

Hey Bart - I'm looking forward to this!!!  thanks - recording that record was quite an experience!  My father had recently passed away, and we did all the tracks in four days.


NY Frank

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Re: Frank Briggs' China Ranch
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2009, 09:35 PM »
I'm very, very late to the party, but I had to come here and comment.
I'm just discovering Frank Briggs' China Ranch, and it's really, really beautiful. 

Larry Rankine

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Re: CD, DVD & Book Reviews (by members)
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2009, 03:55 PM »
Recently picked up the newly released DVD of the]Yanni Voices  concert and it's great!  Having been to the live performance of this concert it brings back fantastic memories (evidenced by my avatar) as well as showcases the talent that you find across the board with his orchestra!  And "The Voices"   Leslie Mills, Nathan Pacheo, Ender Thomas and Chloe are simply amazing!  Even if New Age music (and Yanni in particular) is not "your cup of tea" there seems to be something for everyone in this performance......besides Charlie Adams on the drums is, as always, super!  Check it out if you get the chance!  You won't be disappointed!   ;D

Paul DAngelo

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Re: CD, DVD & Book Reviews (by members)
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 05:17 PM »
I just watched what I thought was an excellent “rockumentary” called]It Might Get Loud ” featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White.  The format was basically a “living room” set where the three guitarists sat around and talked and played.  There was also a basic bio of each of the players.   I thought it was extremely fascinating and entertaining.

The first thing I was amazed about was exactly how good Jack White is, I really had no idea.  He has a real passion for what I call “real” music (blues based) and just has a really great attitude. 

Jimmy Page’s bio fascinated me also in that I really had no idea what a real session musician he was before joining The Yardbirds.  He indicated in the video that he had to go into a session and play straight from the score with no rehearsing and then realized that he was actually recording “Muzak”!  The other great thing about Page’s bio was that they showed the mansion where Led Zeppelin IV was recorded and they showed the famous massive space that was used to record John Bonham’s drums on “When the Levee Breaks”, one of the greatest recorded drum sounds I’ve ever heard.  It was fascinating to me just to see it.

I like U2 to a point and I enjoy The Edge’s guitar playing, but his playing does not come across as naturally as either Page’s or White’s, due to the incredible amount of effects that he uses when he plays.  But then again, he is The Edge.

One last item I have to point out is a scene where Jimmy Page puts on a 45rpm record of Link Wray’s “Rumble” and sort of air guitar plays along with it.  His enjoyment is so pronounced on his face, he looks just like a little kid enjoying something for the first time.

Anyway, if you have about an hour and 40 minutes to spare, this is WELL WORTH your time.

Daniel Heier

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Sting and Santana
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 12:18 AM »
Over the past two weeks, I have been fortunate enough to see to huge concerts. Sting and Santana. Both concerts were held at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN.

Sting did not just come with his band, but also the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As Sting said, it is his biggest band yet. This tour was a celebration of his most popular songs that had great string arrangements. He did play a handful of Police songs: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Roxanne, Next to You, King of Pain, and Every Little Breath You Take.

The arrangements were done very well for his songs and really brought out different aspects of his songs. For example, in Roxanne, they played it very relaxed, slower, and he sang the melody down an octave for the most part. Not because he can't hit the notes (watch the 2007 Police reunion tour, he is still capable), but because it fit the mood better and really brought out the lyric of the song.

As a percussionist, this show was awesome for many reasons. He used two percussionists that were in his band, and there were two prcussionists in with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. No drum set at all which allowed for some cool colors. Lots of hand drums, shakers, cymbals, and some electronic triggers.

Check out this video about the Symphonicity tour.


Santana was another great show to see, especially being a percussionist. With Dennis Chambers, Karl Perazzo, and Raul Rekow, I sat in amazement most of the night. Perazzo really impressed me though. The way he drives the band, his amazing timbale solos, and singing while he played just left me going "How did he do that?" all night! What a great musician.

Santana performed his greatest hits including Black Magic Woman, Oye Coma Va, Evil Ways, etc. He also covered Sunshine of Your Love by Cream! Santana proved he is human on the guitar by messing up a part in Black Magic Woman. He covered it so well I never really thought about it until the guitarists I hung out with afterwards also pointed it out. But Santana took his mistake and actually improvised off of it for a bit to cover up, really showing some more of his jazz musicality. Speaking of which, Santana also performed Coltrane's A Love Supreme.

The great thing was the encore was basically the Dennis Chambers show. He performed a drum solo that made everyones head spin. The only dissopointment was the sound guy did not have a good mix on the drums at all. The only time I heard the ride cymbal was during his solo. The bass drum was too loud in the mix, which was noticeable during his solo because when he did flourishes between the toms and bass drum, it sounded bad because the toms were really low in the mix and the bass drum was cranked. Other than that, it was enjoyable. The only thing I wish Dennis did different was he could of varied some of his fills rather than playing 16th note  triplets or 32nd notes on the snare non stop. But that is just personal preference.

The performance was entertaining and I was glad to finally see Dennis, Raul, and Karl live. What a treat! I definately went home and started you-tubing Dennis Chambers with Santana. Fun Show!


Todd Norris

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Drum Aerobics and Daily Drum Warm-ups by Andy Ziker
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 09:25 PM »
I picked up Andy's books a week or two ago and have begun to work through them.  It's still early, but I really like what I see so far. 

Drum Aerobics:  The book is designed to connect the physical aspects of drumming to the need to woodshed difficult concepts. What I like most besides it's easy to follow layout is that by simply working each exercise in order you get a mix of coordination, grooves, and solos/fills.  Rather than a page full of notes, each exercise is in its own "box" and comes with descriptions and tips.  The accompanying CDs have recordings of all pieces, plus a full CD of play-alongs.  Some pieces may be elementary to advanced players, but the way he describes the applications of how each exercise can be expanded should give most players a challenge.  He even includes a detailed section on stretching and drummer health tips. 

Daily Drum Warm-ups:  Like Drum Aerobics, this book is designed for a daily exercise.  Although the book is named Warm-ups, many of the ones I've tried so far can be used as indefinite workout material, particularly the ones designed to strengthen your weaker hand.  In my opinion, this book can keep any drummer busy for years.  If you master a particular piece, you can then use the dozen foot ostinatos at the back of the book to work on your independence.  I will definitely be using many of these exercises for my pipe band snare drummers.  He includes a detailed description of hand/grip technique, and of course, the obligatory CD of all exercises is included as well. 

I highly recommend these books.  Each contains a wealth of information, and are a great complement to each other. 


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DVD Review: Rudimental Beats (video by Bill Bachman)
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 10:52 PM »
I am pretty much an instructional drum video junkie!  And I do not want to quit.  I love watching instructional drum set videos by masters such as Steve Smith, JoJo Mayer, Jim Chapin, John Riley, Tommy Igoe, and Dave Weckl.  Plus, I have studied about 20+ other instructional drumming videos.  And while each video was worth the purchase price to me, lots of drummers just want to buy the essential one or two or few drum set videos.

In my opinion, this video, Rudimental Beats is one of the essential few.

For those of you who have not heard of it, read on.  When it comes to a streamlined approach to learning or improving hand technique, I like this video by Bachman as well or better than any other I have ever seen, including videos I have seen from the masters!  I like the way Bachman addresses the essentials of hand technique within the context of common sense, physics, and physiology all while being able to clearly demonstrate what he teaches with his own great hands.  He understands muscle memory and how we learn best.   He covers what to practice and how to practice for hands.  Bachman has a logical and teachable point-of-view which just resonates (pun intended) with me.

Matt Ritter called Bill Bachman, The Hands Doctor.  That sums it up well.  To me, Bachman is The Hands Doctor.   This video is as much for drum set players as marching or concert drummers.  Great job, Bill Bachman.

Bill Bachman

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Re: CD, DVD & Book Reviews (by members)
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 08:21 PM »
Thanks for the great review! I'm glad the video is serving you well.   :)

If you're looking for books to go along with it, check out my book "Stick Technique" for the fastest road to great mechanics and "Rudimental Logic" if you're interested is also developing tons of vocabulary.