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Keeping It Simple by Bruce Aitken




Bruce Aitken is an award winning drummer, educator , and promoter of the successful Cape Breton International Drum Festival, which I was happy to have had an opportunity to play in 2005. Bruce now joins the ranks of authors and publishers with his DVD release that will, according to Bruce, "Take your drum playing to new heights by learning the subtle art of keeping it simple." Let's check it out and see!

A Practical Guide to Groove Based Drumming

After a brief introduction by Bruce, the DVD is divided into 12 main chapters, as follows:

Opening and Closing the Hi-Hat: Covers techniques involved in manipulating the hi-hat with the foot while playing on the hi-hat with the stick.

The Cross Stick: Using the butt end of the stick across the rim of the snare drum.

Ghost Notes: The fine art of playing ghost notes is demonstrated and shown in a groove application.

Good Morning Midnight: Bruce demonstrates the prior techniques on a track recorded with Andrea Curry.

Triplets and Swinging the Feel: Bruce explains the triplet, which is the basis of the swing feel and includes the jazz ride pattern and an exercise for easy development of the ride!

Mississippi Queen: A recording Bruce made with John Campbelljohn.

The 12/8 Feel: Bruce demonstrates the basic 12/8 pattern along with some variations.

Buzz Notes: Developing the buzz role in triplets, sixteenths, and short form.

The Train Groove: The groove Bruce considers one of the most important for young drummers to learn is shown with both sticks and brushes.

Shuffles: Developing the proper feel for various styles of shuffles and appropriate fills.

Sydney Steel: Bruce demonstrates the shuffle feel on a song he recorded with John Campbelljohn.

Bo Diddley Groove: One of Bruce's favorite grooves is explained and demonstrated.

Never Break Down: Much of what Bruce has covered so far is shown in practical application on a tune he recorded with Andrea Curry.

Rudiments to Groove: The Drag and Ratamacue are covered, broken down for easy learning, and shown as applied to the drumset.

Just Old Fashioned: Bruce takes us home with a tune he recorded with John Campbelljohn.

Bonus Chapters
Features songs you can play along with to practice the various grooves taught in the instructional portion of the DVD plus some new material including a groove in 7/8. Uses tracks Bruce recorded with other artists and tracks from Spencer Strand's CD play-along series Turn It Up and Lay  It Down.


Bruce Aitken's Keeping it Simple: The Bottom Line
Bruce covers some of the basic aspects of drumming on this DVD. While I recommend it for the beginner, drummers of all levels would do well to pick up on Bruce's pervasive message, playing drums can be lots of fun and rewarding by simply keeping it simple!

Until next time: Stay loose.

Stay loose!

Tiger Bill


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