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Mixed Reviews - Gadd, Body Percussion and SkyGel

70 Strong - Steve Gadd Band

Named in honour of the man himself who has just entered his 7th decade on earth and has influenced almost every drummer to have walked on the surface of the planet, this is a fine jazz record.

There really isn’t much that needs to be said regarding the calibre of musicians on the release, each and every one of them distinguished in their field brings to the table something both unmistakably themselves but also perfectly balanced with the rest of the band. 

Alongside Steve are his regular collaborators including Walt Flower (Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Larry Goldings (Keyboards/Accordian), Jimmy Johnson (Bass) and Michael Landau (Guitars).

There are really some nice hooks on this record, one example of this is “Sly Boots” which features a great ¾ groove before shifting into a compound time feel and back again with subtle but very effective guitars from Michael Landau. The end of the song features a repetitive ramp with some exquisite soloing by Steve and for me this is a particular highlight of the record.

I also really enjoyed Steve’s brush work on tracks like “Desu”. It’s a great example of simple but beautiful brush playing in a slow ballad, in which the brass takes the lead.

Like previous records from the Steve Gadd Band, this is an easy and enjoyable listen and provides a nice introduction into modern jazz playing, drawing on the years of experience and finesse acquired by some of the best musicians in the genre.

My recommendation is hardly necessary for fans of jazz or Steve Gadd in general, but I’d highly recommend you check this out. 

BFM Jazz

Rob Crisp

Body Percussion, Sounds and Rhythms – Richard Filz

I remember being at karate class when I was a young boy and doing an impromptu drum solo on my body which I thought everyone was enjoying. As it turned out they didn’t enjoy it and I was duly punished with press ups.

My initial reaction when I received this book was one of amusement, as finally it seemed someone has written a book about a subject I felt I mastered at the bright young age of 12.

Clearly, I hadn’t!

This book is extremely well presented and thoroughly thought out.

It features a lot of pictures to accompany different sounds that can be played on the body; thigh, chest and cheek being just three. “Rubbing” sounds are also used to replicate scratching of records on hip hop grooves and other legato sounds.

Accompanying the book is a DVD featuring examples of all of the techniques, grooves and solo pieces, again a well produced product as you would expect from Alfred. I will admit, watching a grown man dressed in black, rapping and playing rhythms on his body certainly garnered a reaction from me, although perhaps not the one the author would appreciate. 

I had never really asked the question as to how many sounds can I get from clapping or rubbing my hands together. To be completely honest, I only play drums on myself now when I’m lacking an actual set of drums. Or a table. 

There are basic rhythms written out to begin with, using standard notation which eventually evolve into styles from rock through to blues and eventually Latin rhythms. The author also suggests many well known songs which are appropriate to play along with.

Towards the end of the book there is also a section of solos, written to be played on the body and taking the different sounds previously practised into account.

As a book it’s well thought out, well produced and a decent offering and could be fun for young drummers, perhaps those in primary schools where equipment is sparse. Ultimately though I’m not sure how many drummer friends of mine would opt to practise this over The Art of Bop or the New Breed.

Rob Crisp

Sky Gel  Damper Pads

The market for dampening gels and accessories keeps on growing and now Sky Gel have entered the fray.

The set I have been given are black in colour and the pads are all oval shaped. Each one individually partitioned from the others by a thin piece of plastic.

As much as that prevents them sticking together initially, once I’d taken each one out and used them I couldn’t be bothered to put them away like that, and I doubt many others will either in the end of gig rush to pack down.

The makers of Sky Gel point to their adhesive quality which allows them to stick to not just the top of the drum but also the resonant head as well. To give them their dues, they do stay firmly attached to bottom of a drum; at least when they’re fresh out of the packet. 

Washable and reusable, these are extremely similar to others on the market and do the job just as well as the other big brands.

One small thought I had and really the only slight negative is the case they come in.

I tend to take my gels off before packing down and the case with these gels in particular doesn’t clip together, it’s just a soft plastic lid that pops over the top or the container. It’s silly really, but it may sway you in one direction or another when there is so little between these and many other dampener gels on the market.

Rob Crisp

Hi Rob. Thank you for your Review. I agree with you on the little case - changes from july 2016 on there will be News. Soft-Plastic-Box in oval shape! We will Keep the Little plastic Sheets between the gels :) Best Regards UK Distributor: The Music Shipping Company
Sibi, 28 June 2016

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