I can usually assess the value of an educational DVD based on how quickly it causes me to reach for the remote, hit pause, and start practicing. I made it only about five minutes into the first full chapter (“The Right Hand Holding Position”), to the point where the German drummer/clinician Florian Alexandru-Zorn introduces pressure accents within basic full-circle sweeping patterns, before I decided to grab my brushes and get to work.
In the remaining 187 minutes of this jam-packed two-disc set, Alexandru-Zorn covers two other types of sweeping accents (acceleration and a combination of pressure and acceleration) before moving into a variety of more advanced yet stylistically open-ended patterns for playing 16th-note and triplet sweeps, half-circle sweeps, half-circle/full-circle combinations, and linear side-to-side motions. He also covers various vertical sounds (open tap, closed tap, sweeping taps, rimclick adaptations, and flex strokes). The remainder of disc one discusses how to apply the different brushstrokes to a variety of musical styles, and play-along MP3s are included for your own practice.
Disc two comprises interviews with various professional drummers and brush adaptations of those drummers’ favorite sticking patterns, plus chapters on sweeping the rudiments, using the right equipment, and recording brushes, along with several performance tracks. Also included is a large foldout poster with diagrams of various patterns discussed on the DVDs. If you’re new to playing with brushes, or if you’re a seasoned pro and you feel stuck with just a few stock strokes, check this out. There’s enough here to keep you inspired and practicing for a long, long time. (Alfred)