Alexey Marti

When I was in New Orleans last winter, I was fortunate to see the wonderful Cuban percussionist Alexey Marti a couple of times: once at Snug Harbor with his own band and another time with Herlin Riley as part of a fundraiser for CubaNOLA at the New Orleans Jazz Market.

His music, playing and personality are wonderful to experience and he deserves all of the success and respect he’s getting.

Check out his band in the WWOZ studios last week. You may recognize Oscar Rossignoli from Extended Trio (see my post on Brad Webb) on piano. He’s a busy guy in New Orleans and plays with many groups.

If you don’t have Alexey’s new album Mundo, do yourself a favor and get it. We have it on quite often in the house while cooking or having friends over.

Brad Webb – New Orleans Drummer

I first became aware of Brad Webb as part of Extended Trio and got to see them play in St. Paul, MN a couple of years ago.

I didn’t know anything about the group, other than that they were from New Orleans, which was enough for me. Later I’d find out how lucky I was to see them this far north. They’re all incredible musicians and rarely travel up this way as a group.

I was immediately taken with the whole band and watching Brad play is infectious. He’s got such a contained energy and his ideas flow freely.

I got to talk to him after the show and learned that he has a deep classical music background and studied at New England Conservatory.

He also showed me his beat up ride cymbal (I think I remember him telling me that he found it near a shed in a rural area) and introduced me to LA Backbeat drumsticks, which are made in Louisiana.

Brad Webb Making Faces

Aside from playing in Extended Trio and other groups, Brad Webb is a composer and has his own group that’s active in New Orleans.

Brad’s new album was just released. Get it on Bandcamp.

Drumsville at the New Orleans Jazz Museum

New Orleans Jazz Museum Drumsville

Some good news for jazz fans and drummers traveling through New Orleans this winter. Below is some info from the New Orleans Jazz Museum website.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum presents
DRUMSVILLE!: EVOLUTION OF THE NEW ORLEANS BEAT

New Exhibition at the Jazz Museum Celebrating the Development of the Drum Set and Evolution of Drumming Traditions in New Orleans opened on November 8, 2018 and runs through March 15, 2019.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum will debuted a new exhibition, Drumsville!: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat on November 8, 2018. The exhibit will celebrate both the New Orleans Tricentennial and International Drum Month, along with the development of the drum kit in New Orleans and the ongoing evolution of rich local drumming traditions.

Continue reading “Drumsville at the New Orleans Jazz Museum”

Johnny Vidacovich, New Orleans Drummer

I’ve been lucky to visit New Orleans a few times over the last year and since it’s Mardi Gras tomorrow, I wanted to give some love to Johnny Vidacovich.

Johnny is a legendary New Orleans musician and teacher, with students like Brian Blade and Stanton Moore. I was able to see him at the Maple Leaf over the holiday break and stand just a few feet from him while he grooved until 3am. He has a standing gig there every Thursday. Don’t miss it if you’re in New Orleans!

I was even fortunate enough to find a copy of the New Orleans Drumming DVD sealed and new at the Louisiana Music Factory. I couldn’t believe it!

This is a classic instructional DVD that features Johnny, Herlin Riley, Earl Palmer and Herman Ernest. A streaming version is available to purchase.

If you’re stuck on finding the DVD, it’s worth seeking out, though the New Orleans Jazz and Second Line Drumming book/cd is more affordable and contains a lot of the same info.

I will likely post more about Johnny in the future, but for now you should go check out his interview on Drummer’s Resource and then seek out the recordings he’s played on…and check him out live when you can.

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming is a fantastic 4 CD box set released by Proper Records that covers the eras “from Storyville to 52nd Street” and includes 95 tracks recorded between 1923 and 1948.

I’m always surprised when I meet a jazz drummer who doesn’t know about this set of discs, so I decided it’s time to write a quick post about it.

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming

I first heard about this set during an interview with Kenny Washington on the Drummer’s Resource Podcast (a fantastic interview worth checking out). Kenny mentioned that Engine Room is out of print, so I got obsessed with finding a copy. Luckily, it’s still pretty easy to find, though the price of used copies can vary a bit. I’ve purchased a couple of copies off of Amazon and I’ve seen them range from $30 to $200, though I paid about $50 for each of my copies.

The booklet included with the set is around 50 pages and includes wonderful liner notes by Joop Visser. This alone makes it worth finding a physical copy.

The eras represented:

Disc 1: New Orleans & Chicago styles
Disc 2: Swing
Disc 3: Big Band
Disc 4: Modernism

It’s worth noting that there are two different versions of the packaging. The differences are trivial, but here’s a list if you’re curious:

  • The earlier 1999 set was thicker overall due to the use of plastic jewel cases
  • The latter 2005 release was thin and used cardboard sleeves
  • The UPC code is the same on both sets
  • The booklet is essentially the same in both sets, containing the same information and liner notes. One is a few pages longer than the other, but it’s just because there were added pages for record label promotion.
  • The 2005 set is listed as digitally re-mastered, though I’m unable to hear a difference between the two sets.

Finally, here are some photos of the two sets: