Tag Archives: drums

It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro, The Man and His Music

it's about time jeff porcaro

One of the most recorded drummers in history, Jeff Porcaro was a music superstar. With It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro, The Man and His Music, author Robyn Flans provides insight into Porcaro’s musical career. Starting with his childhood and formative years, the book recounts his establishment on the L.A. scene, rise to stardom with Toto, and legendary career as one of the most sought-after studio drummers in the world until his tragic death in 1992 at only 38 years of age.

It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro, The Man and His Music, by Robyn Flans, Hudson Music, www.hudsonmusic.com.

stick bag

QUIVR Tour Dekade Edition Drumstick Bag

The QUIVR Tour Dekade Edition drumstick bag by GruvGear has all the design features of the original version plus a new, detachable drumstick sleeve allowing drummers to hang up to seven pairs on their floor tom and an additional large flat inside pocket which can be used to store up to 14 more sticks. Features cargo pockets for storing drumming accessories, thick and padded adjustable backpack straps, updated locking strap hooks, and Gruv Gear’s Global Recovery Tag.


Symphonic Snare Sticks

The weight of laminated birch paired with the much larger shaft diameter make Greg Zuber’s new Nothung concert snare stick a truly unique offering to the Vic Firth Symphonic Collection. As the principal percussionist of the MET Orchestra, Zuber, of Local 802 (New York City), needed a stick that could cover a wide array of musical situations, so the oversized acorn tip, longer taper, and thick shaft were designed to work together for maximum versatility for general orchestral playing.


Ludwig speed pedal

L204SF Speed Flyer

Built to Fly

Ludwig speed pedal

The new Ludwig L204SF Speed Flyer single foot bass drum pedal features an improved beater with traditional speed sizing and increased weight, improved heel with smooth action bearings, improved toe clamp to reduce hoop damage with secured grip, new ergonomic wing bolts and attached drum key, improved baseboard for added strength, orientation marks for easier cam adjustments, and anti-slip cam features
for maximum stability.


In the Jazz Club and Classroom, Percussionist Nasar Abadey Inspires

Just after this photo was taken in 2010, Nasar Abadey of Local 161-710 embarked on a month-long Supernova tour to East Africa sponsored by the US State Department. (Photo credit: Jos A. Beasley.)

This month, Nasar Abadey, drummer, bandleader, and educator will receive the DC Jazz Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, alongside Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés.

Abadey, of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC), has played with masters of the jazz world, among them fellow DC union members Andrew White and Lennie Cuje. Abadey was tapped by Sun Ra in the early 1970s in New York City. “I was sitting in with McCoy Tyner’s band at a club called Slugs’ on the Lower East Side. When I left the bandstand, Sun Ra’s manager he asked if I was interested in playing with Sun Ra. I said, ‘Well, sure.’ He said, ‘Meet me at Penn Station tomorrow at noon.’”

Named Best Drummer in Jazz in 2011 by the Washington City Paper, Abadey went on to play with other greats, like Stanley Turrentine, David Sanchez, Charlie Rouse, Gary Bartz, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Porter, Frank Morgan, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Jones, and Bobby Hutcherson.

Back in 1976, Abadey was playing gigs in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, when he got a call out of the blue to play with Ella Fitzgerald. Throughout his long career, he’s built a solid reputation as a sideman with many groups. He has recorded and performed with innovators Malachi Thompson and Joe Ford (saxophonist in Abadey’s group Supernova).

With Supernova, Abadey performs jazz steeped in hard bop, modal, and avant-garde, often incorporating traditional African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, and Afro-Brazilian influences. He is also founder and artistic director of the 16-piece band Washington Renaissance Orchestra (WRO).

For a time the family lived in Buffalo with his mother’s cousins, the Dunlops. Frankie Dunlop was the prodigious drummer who famously played with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, among others. He says that Frankie practiced every day in the attic and became one of his main influences. Abadey was just six years old when Frankie put a set of sticks in his hands and showed him how to start playing.

“I didn’t know who he was. He left Buffalo when I was seven years old and I didn’t see him again until I was 13. I had a transistor radio and I heard the song ‘Monk’s Dream’ on a jazz program and I said, ‘Wow, the drummer sounds like my cousin Frankie.’ When they announced the group members, the drummer was Frankie. I remembered his sound.” They reconnected when Abadey moved to New York City. He’d often visit Dunlop in his Harlem home where Dunlop would tell him stories about his years playing with jazz legends. 

Abadey who has lived in Washington, DC, since 1977, embarked on his own career in jazz that placed him in a class all his own. Drawing on influences from powerhouse drummers such as Tony Williams, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, and Elvin Jones, he built a solid career as an artist and teacher. Now, he is one of the mid-Atlantic region’s premier jazz drummers.

In 2006, Abadey was asked to join the faculty of the Peabody Institute. “The process of education has been an organic kind of thing. Each semester, each year, I find myself incorporating more into what I teach and how I teach. As a result, I become a better musician and drummer,” he says.

“I like to think of music as going in many directions simultaneously—poly-directional.” Which he calls “multi-D”: multi-dimensional and multi-directional, a term that is also easy to pronounce and remember in any language. “It helps the listener understand that they are experiencing various dimensional realms while listening to music. I like to think the music is more complex than traditional forms of jazz.”

Abadey invokes plenty of John Coltrane’s automatic technique, which he says allows the music to lift off into a spiritual zone. “The unknown can always render something new because it is the unknown. How your spirit interacts with the creative endeavor,” he says.

He encourages his students to go to his gigs to hear him play so they know that what he’s teaching is not abstract. He adds, “It’s also important to articulate the source of a particular rhythm when I play it and understand it when I hear it played. I look at Africa as the source and different rhythms from Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico.”

Throughout his career, the union, which he joined at 18, has provided support. He says, “With the union, you’re associated with an organization that has what every musician needs to indulge their art and the backing to make sure we’re getting proper wages, benefits, and pension. When you get gigs, you will not be paid below a certain amount. All those things are in place. Plus, you have legal representation.”

In addition to Supernova and the Washington Renaissance Orchestra, Abadey leads the Renaissance Trio (rhythm section) and the Washington Renaissance Orchestra Octet. In between gigs this summer, he is working on a project writing for strings for his 11-piece Supernova Chamber Orchestra.

Springs for Percussion Quartet

Springs for Percussion Quartet

Springs for Percussion QuartetSprings for Percussion is a fascinating piece that demonstrates the ability of percussion to work up kinetic energy through pattern repetition and then “spring” into action. Each of four percussionists uses two drums and a set of three chosen percussive “instruments”—woods for one, metals for another, glass for the third, and plates or flowerpots for the fourth. The instruments should create “relatively harmonious cacophony.” Repeated rhythmic passages grow in intensity before springing into new patterns, and this is repeated throughout.

Springs for Percussion, by Paul Lansky, Carl Fischer Chamber Music,

The Roberto Quintero Signature Congas

The Roberto Quintero Signature Congas

The Roberto Quintero Signature CongasThe Roberto Quintero signature congas from Gon Bops are made from premium fiberglass shells, California Series Contour Hardware, and custom REMO Skyndeep heads. The drums create a perfectly balanced sound—deep, resonant bass tones and loud, cutting highs. The congas come in conga, tumba, and super tumba sizes, plus paired 7-inch and 8.5-inch bangos. “Roberto Quintero is one of the world’s premiere congueros, and working with him to develop these outstanding drums was an honor,” says Gon Bops Brand Manager Luis Cardoso.


Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drumset: The Essentials

Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drumset: The Essentials

Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drumset: The EssentialsLocal 406 (Montreal, PQ) percussionist Aldo Mazza wrote this method book from his 16 years of experience facilitating KoSA study programs in Cuba and working with many important Cuban drummers in developing rhythms. He presents popular, authentic rhythms along with conga “language” exercises to build sound and groove. The book comes with a disc of 75 play-along audio tracks and 30 video clips, plus, access to charts for two original songs composed and recorded in Havana by Cuban drummer Giraldo Piloto and his group Klimax.

Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drumset: The Essentials, by Aldo Mazza, KoSA Publications, www.kosamusic.com.

Classic Fit Drumheads

REMO’s Classic Fit Drumheads

Classic Fit DrumheadsREMO’s Classic Fit Drumheads are designed for oversized drums built prior to the mid-1960s. They provide classic sound and ease of head replacement for classic kits. Though they have a slightly narrower flesh hoop and step design, the heads maintain a standard outside diameter that does not interfere with the counter hoop. Classic Fit heads are now available with REMO’s Ambassador Coated, Clear, or Fiberskyn film in sizes 12, 14, 16, and 18 inches. They also come in Snare Side Ambassador Hazy 13-inch and 14-inch. Bass drum sizes are in the works.


Sublime Birch

Sublime Birch

Sublime BirchCrush Drums & Percussion’s stunning Sublime Birch series delivers full and fat tones found in vintage drums with the advantages of modern shell hardware and design. All shells are made of hand-selected 100% North American birch known for providing full, fat tone. The Sublime Birch series is available in three configurations and three finishes, plus there is a full line of add-on drums.