<i>Groove Alchemy</i> by Stanton Moore

Online Review Groove Alchemy Book bookDVD/BOOK/MP3 DISC
DVD $29.99, BOOK/DISC $24.99

The DVD of the well-structured, in-depth multimedia package from New Orleans drumming great Stanton Moore reveals a concise chronological history of the rhythmic foundations and evolution of funky drumming, beginning with James Brown and his drummers (mainly Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Starks) and moving through Zigaboo Modeliste, David Garibaldi, Mike Clark, and beyond. Moore explains how playing “in the cracks” between straight and swing feels changes everything about a groove. He performs authentic examples of many innovative funk, shuffle, and backbeat patterns and then applies his own Crescent City take on various combinations, incorporating them into stellar performances with his trio. Moore’s playing has grease, tension, and dynamics and breathes with life. Artsy camera angles and strategic backlighting create a visually interesting and relaxed nightclub atmosphere in rock legend Levon Helm’s studio, while helpful slow-motion features allow for deeper visual/audio dissection.

Sold separately, the 152-page book is a highly recommended companion to the video, featuring detailed transcriptions of the DVD performances, play-along drum charts, and educational insight from Stanton. Every written example in the book is also featured on the accompanying MP3 disc (600-plus audio clips), performed by Moore. A CD containing the songs from the educational package is available as well.

The entire Groove Alchemy set should prove to be an essential study for drummers interested in maximum groove potential. (Hudson) Mike Haid