(Drum roll) ..... And the #SOTWLA Drum Yoda Award goes to.....
Vinnie Colaiuta for a perfect balance of musicality + technical ability. With hundreds, literally hundreds of album credits with some of the most influential artists over the past 4 decades, having won a total of 18 'Drummer of the Year' awards from Modern Drummer magazine's annual reader polls and last but not least having been inducted into the Modern Drummer "Hall of Fame", Vinnie really has earned the moniker of Drum Yoda. Don't believe me? Still not convinced? Then checkout this clip of the Jedi Master in action at the Baked Potato in Studio City, CA.
The true definition of "KILLING" = Tasteful solid grooving while listening & complementing within the context of the song and groove while displaying an extraordinary command of your instrument.
Don't just try to shine and be noticed all the time. There is a time and place for that (NAMM) lol. Seriously though, we all know that "chops" can wooo a crowd for a short instance but to truly be a Jedi Master we must strive to be more than just flashy. We should be graceful, expressive and no matter how unspeakably difficult it should seem effortless(aka swag).
#2. Music is a team effort. Your goal is to enhance the overall musical moment you are creating together as a unit.
I recommend you pickup this great drum book of Vinnie Transcriptions by Marc Atkinson:
I hope this blog inspires someone out there to push themselves to the next level and sheds some insight as to what it takes to be great. I'll leave you with this Anecdote from Steve Vai about Vinnie from the Frank Zappa days.
"I'll tell you a really great Vinnie story. He's one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early '80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation." Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like "The Black Page" except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there."
"Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like "The Black Page." And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, ruffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar."
"It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing."
Post some video comments below of other Jedi Master drummers that aren't just chops focused but serious Groove killers too!!!
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