DVD Reviews
Drummer Cafe

Over 25 Years of Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

Modern Drummer Festival 2001

The Modern Drummer Festival 2011 took place at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, and is wonderfully captured by Hudson Music in this 2-DVD package.

In a program packed with amazing performances and insightful educational segments, Gil Sharone (Stolen Babies/Dillinger Escape Plan) expands on concepts found in his Wicked Beats DVD, Trevor Lawrence Jr. (Herbie Hancock/Dr. Dre) performs in hiphop and fusion styles (with guest percussionist Taku Hirano), jazz innovator Jeff “Tain” Watts presents an incredible set with his stellar quartet, prog/metal star Aquiles Priester performs a blistering set of songs from Hangar and Freakeys, and, finally, drum superstar Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez performs with The New World Order, an all-star world music group put together just for the festival.

In addition to the main show, also included are two enlightening master classes. Jazz legend John Riley (Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) demonstrates rhythms that can be heard from various polyrhythmic perspectives, while top country drummer Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts) demonstrates and discusses stylistic versatility and rudimental concepts.

An extensive printable PDF eBook is also included, containing transcriptions of nearly 50 detailed transcriptions of drum parts and educational ideas.

“The most rewarding thing about having had the opportunity to film the Modern Drummer Festival for so many years, and the aspects of the Festival that make it great, are the diversity of the artists who are part of it, and the fact of how receptive the audience is to all of the styles of music presented,” said Hudson Music co-president Paul Siegel. “And this year was no exception: from the reggae and ska grooves of Gil Sharone, to the incredible metal energy and control of Aquiles Priester, and from the beautiful jazz feels of Jeff "Tain" Watts to the international grooves of Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, the Modern Drummer Festival 2011 was as exciting and as diverse as any we have filmed before.”

This DVD package presents not only a chance to relive the Modern Drummer Festival, but to study and learn the concepts presented by these great artists in depth and detail not possible just by attending the event.


The Modern Drummer Festival 2011 2-DVD set captures exactly what you would experience if you were in at the festival in person — well, as much as any video could possibly do. Hudson Music did a fine job of not over producing this DVD set. I do, however, have a few constructive critcisms about the overall production. Video wise, I'm not a fan of seeing the camera men in the shots; it's going to happen from time to time but on this DVD set I felt it was excessive. Then again you'll definitely feel like you were there; the audience was experiencing camera-men on stage too. I also felt that the HiHat, in comparison to the rest of the drumset, was mixed too hot throughout the entire DVD. I tried several different stereo configurations, so it wasn't my system. Lastly, I was unable to hear the first half of Taku Hirano's percussion performance with Trevor Lawrence Jr. — what can you do if the artist doesn't play to the mics?

Hudson Music's synopsis (see above) is correct and to the point, so there is no reason for me to go over what each artist did in their segment.

The total HD video run time is 5 hours and 40 minutes; the included PDF e-Book has several transcription examples from each artist's performance. 

Overall I was very pleased with Modern Drummer Festival 2011 DVD package. There was a perfect balance of artists present at the festival; certainly something for everyone. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for inspiration, education and entertainment. If you love drums, you're going to love this DVD package, regardless of what level you are in your playing.

Aquiles PriesterGil Sharone
Horacio HernandezJeff Tain Watts
Jim RileyJohn Riley
Trevor Lawrence Jr

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