Sample This

If you don’t yet know the drum intro to “Palm Grease” off Herbie Hancock’s 1974 quintessence of funk, Thrust, then go learn it now. Yes, right now. It won’t take long. Seriously, I’ll wait…

…Alright, Now We Can Talk.
If you still think that Red Hot Chili Peppers is funk, then you cheated. Go back and join the rest of us later. Mike Clark, though an already established jazzer, was thrust into notoriety through that album as a quintessential funk drummer alongside Stubblefield, Modeliste, Purdie, and Garibaldi. Rightly so. Still, that is only part of the story. In our exclusive Q&A with Mike, it’s clear that he defines himself as a bopper first and above all. Surprisingly, he talks about funk as something he’d play “to make money when I couldn’t get jazz gigs,” and when refering to Thrust says casually that “people still ask about that from time to time” at clinics. His recent release, Blueprints of Jazz Vol. 1 is evidence enough of where his heart and musical allegiance lie. Fate placed him in the East Bay of San Francisco when it was a stanky crucible of a new and singular funk sound and drumming style. He brought his own jazz sensibility to it and became funk drumming’s unwitting hero. And years later, one of the most sampled drummers in hip hop production.

Party at Sexton’s Place
Mike will be in L.A. for a clinic at Chad Sexton’s Drum City on Saturday, September 19 at 2pm. You can hear what he’s into and where he’s going now from the man himself. He tells us that his clinics “are also a hang and are usually lots of fun, so it’s not a mental exercise for sure.” And it’s free. This one’s a no-brainer, people.

Oh yeah, and he may even play the intro to “Palm Grease” if you ask him nicely.

Steve Krugman

Weather Masters

“Master class” gets thrown around lately more than a Frisbee on any campus quadrangle, or blame for the current economic crisis. The meaning of the term has been rendered common through overuse and overstatement. I went to a yoga master-class recently for which “master” meant “twice as long.” When talking about 6-hour interactive workshops with Peter Erskine and Alex Acuña, the words are merely descriptive and defy exaggeration. Yes, even at 3 hours.

The L.A. Jazz Pro Connection has aligned a stellar constellation of master classes in August at Upstairs at Vitello’s jazz room that just happen to burn brightly out with consecutive showings by Erskine and Acuña, September 22 and 29, from 10am to 4pm. Hollywood Drum supports these events as a unique opportunity for drummers in L.A. to directly access the vast knowledge and experience of two truly masterful and influential drummers.

With our Q&A with Peter and Q&A with Alex, we find out a bit more about the classes, but mostly about the masters.

Steve Krugman