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Tiger Bill Reviews
The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary
as taught by Alan Dawson
By John Ramsey
Book with 2 CDs
Some of the greatest drummers in the world have studied with Alan Dawson. Although he is no longer with us, his recorded music and his students are his legacy. This book/CD was produced by John Ramsay, a long-time student, who provides us with a compendium of Dawson's teachings allowing all of us the chance to study with the drumming legend.
Let's Check it out.
Chapter 1 - Rudiments: Alan was big on rudiments in his lessons and author/student Ramsay not only includes the rudiments that Dawson taught but the actual work schedule that Dawson supplied for his students to follow. Included are Dawson's chopbuilding exercises and his "Rudimental Ritual" in which he had his students practice rudiments using brushes on the drumset over a boss nova foot ostinato.
Chapter 2 - Four-Way Coordination: I've always loved taking drum books and figuring out ways to modify them for new challenges. A while back I wrote a four-part series of articles for Modern Drummer Magazine on the subject. John Ramsay tells us that Dawson had more than forty ways of interpreting the eight pages of syncopated exercises in Reed's Syncopation. In this chapter, Ramsay provides us with a good cross section of Dawson's variations.
Chapter 3 - Single-Stroke Roll Exercises: According to Ramsay, Alan Dawson described the single-stroke roll as being the most difficult of the American rudiments. This section contains some of Alan's exercises for developing the single-stroke.
Chapter 4 - Soloing: "Alan was always mindful of trying to balance his lessons and studies equally between technique and musical ideas" says Ramsay. One of the ways Dawson did this was to have his students practice soloing over standard song forms while singing the melody out loud. In addition to soloing over song forms, Ramsay includes examples of many of Dawson's own solo and fill ideas including "Boston Eights" taken from a tape of Alan's 1987 performance, Alan trading solos with the Sonny Rollins Trio in 1965, and others.
The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary as taught by Alan Dawson: The Bottom Line
Whether or not you are a fan of Alan Dawson's style, you'll find something of value in this book. Not only will it help improve your sight reading skills but it will increase your overall technique and four-way coordination as well.
I highly recommend it for drummers of all experience levels from beginners through advanced.
This book and dual audio CD combination, from Alfred Publishing, is well worth its retail price of $24.95.
Purchase it at a considerable discount online: The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary As Taught by Alan Dawson
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