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Drums & Percussion

The Drummers Collective 25th anniversary


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On Sunday, November 24 Drummers Collective celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an incredible evening of music in front of a sold out audience of 1,200 people. The audience included people who had come from as far away as the U.K., Switzerland, Germany and Brazil, as well as representatives from many percussion and bass companies that have supported the Collective through the years. The Collective, which was founded in 1977 in NYC, has been a haven for musicians from all over the world who have come there to grow and to learn from the incredible players who have made up the Collective faculty over the years.
The festivities began with performance by, Kenwood Dennard, who was part of the school in the early years, and continued with outstanding performances by three different Collective Faculty Ensembles, featuring Michael Lauren, Kim Plainfield, Leo Traversa, Memo Acevedo, Bob Quaranta, Irio O'Farrill, Fernando Hernandez, Cliff Korman, Tim Ouimette and Louis Bauzo.
As part of the faculty presentation, the late Frankie Malabe was honored. One of the original teachers at the Collective, Frankie was a conga player, and a dedicated teacher who epitomized the philosophy at the Collective and in many ways, set the tone for years to come.
Next up was Dave Weckl, and his great band, featuring Tom Kennedy on bass, Steve Weingart on keyboards, and Gary Meek on sax. Dave performed a truly burning set of original material, one James Brown tune, and a drum solo that brought the house down. Dave's band demonstrated exceptional musicality, and Dave himself showed all of the swing and explosiveness that he has led to his being recognized as one of the top drummers of his generation.
Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and John Patitucci, along with the brilliant Cuban keyboard player, Oriente Lopez, followed, and played an astounding set that showcased the astounding rhythmic artistry of El Negro and the beautifully expressive bass playing of John Patitucci. The music was subtle and swinging, and at the same time, incredibly intense, with more rhythm and music coming from three players than you would expect from twice that many.
Victor Wooten was up next, and he came out and mesmerized the entire audience by himself, demonstrating the staggering level of musicality and virtuosity, that he has become known for throughout the world. Vic then introduced Felix Pastorius, son of the late, great Jaco Pastorius, who performed a beautifully rhythmic solo, with a sound and a touch incredibly reminiscent of his father. The Bass Collective presented Felix and his brother Julius with an award, "in memory of the great contribution to bass playing made by John Francis 'Jaco' Pastorius."
Then, Steve Smith took the stage alone, and offered a brilliant performance that encompassed everything from an incredible solo on just a hi-hat, to a beautiful brushes solo and a tour de force on his "jungle kit", that left everyone spellbound, all of which could have been conceived and performed by no one other than Steve Smith. Then, to top it off, Victor joined Steve and the two of them played an amazing piece of music that, incredibly, the two of them had written and rehearsed, two hours before show time!
Steve Gadd and the Gadd Gang closed out the day. Steve was introduced by Rob Wallis, by showing a clip of Steve when he was nine years old on the Mickey Mouse Club, playing incredible drums and tap dancing! Rob, Paul Siegel, and John Castellano (directors of the Collective) then presented Steve with an award from the Collective, "in recognition of his unique contribution to drumming and music."
Steve started off his set solo, with a brilliant rendition of "Bye Bye Blackbird", which he sang while playing incredibly swinging brushes, and then did the rudimental solo, based on "Crazy Army", that he's become known for. The Gadd Gang, featuring Cornell Dupree on guitar, Eddie Gomez on bass, Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax, and Larry Goldings on Hammond B3, in their first performance together in ten years, capped everything off with a set of soulful, R&B, including songs like "Way Back Home" and "Honky Tonk", as well as a beautiful samba, that featured just Larry and Steve.
All in all, the day, which was videotaped for DVD release in spring '03, by Hudson Music, added up to a truly historic assembly of talent and emotion, and will not be forgotten for many years to come.

Steve Smith performing solo
12/2002 Pro-Music-News

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