RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Summer Workshops and Upcoming Events — May 2022

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 23, 2022

    CALIFORNIA
    Camp Fareta 2022
    When: June 6–12, 2022
    Where: Central California
    Course of Study: We are so grateful to once again be able to come together to celebrate the beautiful African dances and rhythms that we love so much. We hope you will join us in our village of dancers and drummers! Many of your favorite artists will be returning, led by our artistic director, Youssouf Koumbassa, from Guinea, West Africa.  There will be a beautiful mix of dance and drum styles from Guinea, Mali, and Senegal (and maybe more). There will be classes at different levels, to help you learn at your own pace.  There will also be dundun dance classes and singing classes.  We may be adding other dance and drum styles, so stay tuned for updates.
    Faculty: Artists who are likely to attend include M'Bemba Bangoura, Bolokada Conde, Wadaba Kourouma, Fode Bangoura, Mangue Sylla, Bongo Sidibe, Marietou Camara, Marie Basse Wiles, Ibou Ngom, Idrissa Gueye, Djeneba Sako, and Moussa Traore. New this year are Aicha Camara and Khadijah Koumbassa Sakho. We'll also have Mohamed Kouyate and Boka Kouyate providing beautiful music for us, and Monette Marino will teach women's drum classes.
    More Info: dancingvillage.com/camp_fareta.php

    NEW JERSEY
    Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Seminar
    When: June 6–17,2022
    Where: Asbury Park, NJ or virtually online
    Course of Study: The 43rd annual Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Seminar invites college-aged and older percussionists to join in for two weeks of study with marimba virtuoso and pioneer Leigh Howard Stevens. Choose to participate in-person or online and get experience that will shape your playing for the rest of your life. The faculty of world-class musicians and educators will cover a variety of topics including: technique, memorization systems, tone production, repertoire, acoustics, practice techniques, career development, history, and more! While the space for online participation is unlimited, there are limited spots available for the in-person experience in New Jersey. 
    Faculty: Michael Burritt, Warren Wolf, Susan Powell, Eric Sammut, Hyeji Bak, John Parks, and Tatiana Koleva.
    More Info: mostlymarimba.com/lhs-summer-marimba-seminar/

    ILLINOIS
    Northern Illinois University Percussion Camp
    When: July 5–9, 2022
    Where: DeKalb, IL
    Course of Study: Open to middle school and high school percussionists, the NIU Percussion Camp celebrates world-class faculty working with students in workshops, classes, and ensembles on the charming NIU School of Music Campus with a small footprint in students’ summer music and family schedules. Percussion students who have completed grades 6–12 at all levels of experience perform in concert percussion ensembles, samba bands, steel drum ensembles, participate in classes on snare drum, drum set, timpani, and keyboard percussion, attend faculty recitals, and more. The week concludes with a final concert for parents and friends. 
    Faculty: Bret Kuhn – snare drum, drum set; Gregory Beyer – timpani, concert accessories, Brazilian percussion; Yuko Asada – steel drum ensemble; Steve Lundin – middle school percussion ensemble, Ugandan percussion/Amadinda; Ben Wahlund – high school percussion ensemble, workshop director, faculty ensemble director
    Additional Faculty and Counselors: Angela Kepley – keyboard percussion; Daniel Jack – snare drum
    Tuition: $700; includes t-shirt, name tags, dorms, all meals, and activities; scholarships and early registration discounts available.
    More Info: niu.edu/external-programs/summer-camps/percussion.shtml

    GERMANY
    The DG European Jazz Intensive
    When: October 13–17, 2022
    Where: Groovekiste Drum Academy, German Rhineland region
    More Info: danielglass.com/2021-euro-jazz-intensive/

  • Impressions of Art Blakey: A Conversation with Carl Allen by Ryan Bond

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 20, 2022

    Art Blakey

    Legendary drummer, mentor, and bandleader Art Blakey, born under the name James Edward Blakey on October 11, 1919 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, influenced drumming and jazz communities for many generations. In 1955 Blakey and Horace Silver co-founded the Jazz Messengers; the following year, Silver left the band, leaving it to Blakey, who led the Messengers until his passing on October 16, 1990.

    Art Blakey played with Hank Mobley, Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Wayne Shorter, Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Watson, and many others. He was awarded the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame Readers’ Choice Award in 1981, the Best Instrumental Jazz Performance Grammy in 1984, the 1985 Gold Disc from Japan’s Swing Journal in 2001, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, awarded posthumously. He was inducted into the Newport Jazz Festival Hall of Fame in 1976, the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1991, the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and 2001, and the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2014. 

    This article will discuss Blakey’s influence as a band leader and sideman and his mentorship and influence on drummer Carl Allen and his generation of musicians. Stories and all quotes herein are shared from interviews this author conducted with Blakey’s mentee Carl Allen on November 7, 2021.

    Milwaukee-born drummer, bandleader, entrepreneur, and educator Carl Allen is credited with more than 225 recordings. Allen grew up listening to multiple musical genres. After hearing Benny Carter play the saxophone, jazz became his focus. “When I understood how the music communicated and changed, it was jazz for me from then on,” Allen says. “This sense of curiosity has, to a great degree, governed my life.” Allen’s tours have taken him all over the world and he has nearly 70 credits as a producer. Allen’s teaching career includes 12 years at the Juilliard School from 2001–13. The last six of those years he served as the Artistic Director of Jazz Studies. He has given countless masterclasses and clinics at major institutions such as Berklee College of Music, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, Oberlin Conservatory, University of North Texas, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and in Australia, Holland, and New Zealand. Allen received an honorary doctorate in 2012 from Snow College (Ephraim, Utah), and later taught there as Adjunct Faculty. He accepted a faculty position in the Fall of 2021 as the William D. and Mary Grant/Endowed Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    I first met Allen in 2012 at a Juilliard Jazz Workshop in Ephraim, Utah. Allen continued to visit Snow College each semester, teaching and mentoring students during my undergraduate studies until I graduated in 2019. Throughout that time, our friendship grew through performing, teaching, and long drives to and from the airport.

    Ryan Bond: Art Blakey had a great sense of humor, and there were always a few mysteries about him. What can you tell us about that?

    Carl Allen: First of all, Art was a genius of a musician. There are so many things that are still a mystery about him. Freddie Hubbard and Benny Golson and many others said that nobody really knows when Art was born. On record, it says October 11, 1919. But the reason it was a mystery is because he was adopted. I hate this word, but he was an orphan, and Art used to use that term all the time. There was still some ambiguity about when he was actually born.

    RB: You celebrated several of Blakey’s birthdays with him, correct?

    CA: I remember hanging out with Art on his birthday at one of the famed clubs in New York called Sweet Basils. I said, “Art, Happy Birthday! So how old are you now?” Art said, “I’m 65 years old.” I said, “Oh man, that’s beautiful.” So, the following year I’m hanging out with Art again on his birthday at Sweet Basils and of course I said, “Art, Happy Birthday! So how old are you now?” Art replied, “I’m 65 years old.” I said, “Hmm, that’s interesting math.” So later I called Freddie Hubbard at home, and I said, “Hey listen man, I was just hanging with Bu, it’s his birthday and he says he’s 65” Freddie responded, “Man, he says 65? He was 65 when I was in the band.” So, who really knows how old Art really was?

    Blakey started his musical career as a pianist, and he had to make a quick transition. Art was playing piano at a club in Pittsburgh, and some gangsters entered the club. Erroll Garner came into the club and the gangsters told Art, “Get off the piano so this man can play. You go over and sit behind the drums.” Art wasn't a drummer, but that started his drumming career.

    Allen met Blakey for the first time in 1979 at the Jazz Gallery club in Milwaukee. In 1982 when Allen joined Freddie Hubbard’s group, Allen shares “That’s when Art and I really developed a relationship.” At the age of 63, Art began his big influence on Allen, who was 21, and his musical career. Not only was Blakey a role model and a great mentor, he taught life lessons and gave opportunities to many musicians.

    CA: Art looks at me and he says, “Come here. Let's see. Yeah, Terrance here tells me you're playing with Freddie now.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve been playing with him for about six months or so.” Art said, “You know, Fred is a former Jazz Messenger.” He kind of looked around, then says, “Well, you know, since he's a former Messenger, and you're playing with him, you're now a Jazz Messenger.” I thought I was going to pass out!

    RB: You credit many of your early gigs and first record deal to Blakey?

    CA: I was on tour in Japan my very first time, 1987, with Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. We were in Tokyo after the concert. This gentleman comes to me in the dressing room, introduced himself, and said, “My name is Makoto Kimata. I'm with Alpha records, and I’ve produced records for Art Blakey. I'm friends with Art, and he told me that I should give you a record deal.”

    Allen thought that the other band members were playing a joke on him, so he checked the hallway, and no one was there.

    CA: I made a deal with Kimata and did five records with him as a leader and produced over 50 more with him.

    Blakey didn’t just influence drummers; he also had an influence on many musicians. Allen shares that he feels many musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Jackie McLean, and more tend to have a similar personality to Art. “When you spend significant time around a person, they become a part of you,” Allen says. Other musicians started to dress nicer, learn all the details of the music, and present themselves to be more like Blakey. Most of the musicians in Allen’s generation either played with Art Blakey or they played with someone who played with Art Blakey. Ray Brown once told Allen, “At some point all of the musicians, younger and older, were influenced by Art.”

    In Allen’s early years, he would be at the jazz club every night when he wasn’t working. He would see Blakey play all the time, but he wasn’t the only drummer there watching for inspiration.

    CA: There would be about 15 to 17 drummers just kind of hanging in the corner. These drummers would often include Cindy Blackman, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Ralph Peterson, Billy Drummond, Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash, and more. It wasn't until after Art died that people like Devon Jackson and Donald Harrison and others would tell me, “Yeah, Carl, you were probably one of the more consistent younger drummers who were always there watching Art.”

    Blakey is one of the great musical mentors, due to his long leadership of over 30 years with the Jazz Messengers and his influence on musicians. Allen had a great relationship with Blakey and considers Blakey a mentor. The impact of having a great mentor can change someone’s life.

    CA:  You know, sometimes a mentor is not trying to be your friend. I think younger musicians need mentors. Not only do they need mentors, they need to want to have a mentor. You can't force yourself on someone to be their mentor, and a mentor is not someone who's always going to tell you what you want to hear. They're not someone who's going to be concerned about if your feelings are hurt or not. Art would tell me some stuff sometimes, and I would just look at them like, “I thought you cared for me. How could you talk to me like that?” One of the great lessons that I learned from Art is that this is a community that you have to earn your way into. Art told me, “Just because you play drums, it don't make you one of us.bDon't get it twisted. We're not equal.” I was like, “Whoa.” He said, “You know, you're my competition.” I started laughing. I'm like, “Art, what are you talking about?” He says, “You don't see me as competition because you look up to me and you respect me and blah blah blah, but what do you do for a living?” I said, “I play drums.” Art says, “What do I do?” I said, “You play drums.” He said, “Yeah, essentially at the end of the day, we're both dependent on our phone ringing and for us to be able to work. And we both do the same thing. You're my competition.”

    This conversation instilled a sense of urgency in Allen that continued to drive his success in music and in life.

    Blakey’s playing has many significant characteristics such as his famous press roll, left-hand shuffle, bossa nova with a boogaloo-like pattern on the ride cymbal, “dropping bombs,” and more. Allen relates the story that “Igor Stravinsky wrote a piece and he wanted Art Blakey to play his press roll in it. I don’t remember what piece it was, but it speaks to how legendary Art’s press roll was. I would liken it to somebody maybe taking the phone book and ripping it in half. That's what it sounded like listening to Art play a press roll, it was that thunderous. I mean, the press roll sometimes would get so loud you would feel the stage shaking. It was unbelievable.”

    Blakey’s left-hand shuffle pattern can be heard in many recordings, the most noteworthy being “Blues March.” His shuffle pattern and feel were unlike any drummer before. Benny Golson convinced Blakey to write a blues and that he should play it in a march style. Blakey didn’t think it was going to turn into anything special, but it became one of his most performed pieces. Allen shares, “I was trying to figure out how Art got his left hand to play that shuffle. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

    Blakey and the Jazz Messengers play a version of the song “Pensativa” by Clare Fischer on their Free for All album. Blakey plays a bossa nova with a boogaloo-like groove pattern on the ride cymbal. “It became so much a part of Art’s signature that people ask drummers to play “Pensativa” like Art. Something as simple as that conceptually is how he created a whole new kind of dance.”

    Blakey’s playing style was consistent throughout the years; it didn’t change much with different bandmates. Drummers tend to adapt their playing style to fit the size of group they are playing with. It didn’t matter if Blakey played with a trio or a big band, he was consistent.

    CA: Art played in a small group like it was the condensed big band. I'm talking about how he orchestrated and set up the band. Listen to any of those Jazz Messengers records; he wasn't playing like he was with a sextet. He was playing like there was a full trombone section, trumpet section, saxophones; it’s just how he heard the music. As a drummer, there are certain ways that one would typically set up a large ensemble versus a small ensemble. Art played in a small group like it was a big band. He set up a figure three and a half beats before the figure.

    Blakey was a colossal influence on jazz and drumming communities and will remain a legend forever. His music, playing, presence, and mentorship affected many people’s lives and continues to do so today. Here are a few songs and albums that Blakey plays on that Carl Allen considers essential listening: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Free for All, Buhaina’s Delight, “Blues March,” Hank Mobley’s Soul Station, Cannonball Adderley’s Something Else, and Meet the Magical Trio with James Williams, Art Blakey, and Ray Brown that was released in the late ‘80s.

    Ryan BondRyan Bond is a percussionist in Las Vegas, Nevada where he is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) under the mentorship of Dr. Dean Gronemeier and Dr. Timothy Jones. Prior to completing a Master of Music degree at UNLV, he completed his Bachelor of Music at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah with an emphasis in Commercial Music. Ryan has performed with Opera Las Vegas among other notable ensembles, and with such artists as John Patitucci and Bernie Dressel while serving as the principal percussionist of the Grammy-nominated UNLV Wind Orchestra under the direction of Thomas G. Leslie. Along with his work as a performer, Ryan actively does clinics and teaches privately in the Vegas and Utah valleys. For more information about Ryan, visit his profile at orcid.org/0000-0002-1727-1769.

  • Time Management for Percussionists by Dr. James T. Lindroth

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | May 18, 2022

    Time management can be a struggle for many people. There is often not enough time to get everything done. Many people feel stress, anxiety, and even burnout due to the overwhelming responsibilities of being a professional musician, teacher, or music student.

    This article aims to help percussionists become more productive with their time by recognizing long-term goals for their careers and developing effective time management strategies. It is important to note that this article focuses on work-related activities and not personal or family priorities. However, concepts and techniques in this article can be modified to these additional non-work priorities and responsibilities.

    In Stephen Covey's groundbreaking 1994 book, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, he developed a matrix to help people understand how they use their time, prioritize activities, and use time proactively. It is an easy system to understand and use for educators.

    Box 1
    Urgent
    (Necessity)

    Things that require your immediate attention
    Meet important commitments / deadlines
    Something you have postponed
    Most things here cause stress and eventual burnout..

    Box 2
    Important
    (Quality)

    Long term goals
    Important things that will get you closer to being the educator you want to be in the future.
    Focus and plan proactive actions to reduce box one items. 

    Box 3
    Urgent, but not important
    (Interruptions)

    These things are short term focused.
    Things that need attention but are not necessary.
    Things that appear to be worth doing that will not help you meet your long time goals.
    Cut these actions short, delegate them to others, or reject them.
    Box 4 
    Time Wasters
    (Distractions)

    Activities that distract you from being productive at work.
    Social media, social emails, smartphone apps.
    Activities that prevent you from being productive at work.


    We spend our time at work in four ways, based on two factors that define an activity: urgent and essential. Box 1 is urgent activities or things that require your immediate attention. Most of the things in this box cause stress because they deal with meeting deadlines or commitments, pressing problems, critical issues that arise, or something you have postponed. These actions are urgent, but they may not be essential to your overall career goals or growth as a musician. Many percussionists spend most of their time here. They are constantly reacting rather than planning. Too much time in this box can cause stress and burnout.

    Box 2 deals with your vision and long-term goals. What kind of musician, teacher, etc., do you ultimately want to be? Where do you want your percussion studio or career to be in the future? Once you decide on your long-term goals, list activities that bring you closer to that vision. These are the essential things you find most valuable. The issue with Box 2 is that these things tend not to be urgent and can quickly be put on the back burner. The goal is to spend more time in this box, which requires proactive focus and planning to reduce as much time spent in Box 1.

    Box 3 items are things that need to be completed but are less or not important. In this box are things that are short-term focused and require you to react rather than be proactive. These things appear worth completing but do not help you achieve your long-term goals. Many of the actions are nothing more than interruptions. Examples of these interruptions for musicians may include emails and text messages, irrelevant meetings, unnecessary performances, etc. Cut short your use of emails and text messages during the day, reduce or say no to unnecessary performances and meetings, and learn to delegate some of these activities to others. People who micro-manage struggle in this box because they feel the need to do everything and not trust others to complete the task.

    Box 4 is all the activities that waste precious time. Today, we have more options to divert our time than ever before. Social media, internet browsing, online shopping, and smartphones tempt us to stray from the essential things we should be doing at work. These activities are time wasters. Too much time in Box 1 dealing with urgencies and deadlines can cause high-stress levels such that any free time we have is usually spent in Box 4 to forget about work. The goal is to avoid Box 4 as much as possible.

    PLANNING
    Time is the most valuable resource. Once it is gone, you cannot get it back. Once you have placed all your activities into the four boxes, you can begin to plan. It is crucial to work from your calendar and not a to-do list when planning. To-do lists only work in Box 1, dealing with things that are urgent. Organize your schedule on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. If you organize daily, you are right back into Box 1. The focus is to eliminate and manage your activities, so most of your planning will include your Box 2 activities that are important to you. Remember, these are the actions that will bring you closer to achieving those long-term goals.

    Journals and notebooks can also be a positive resource for identifying and developing long-term goals. Carry a notebook or use an e-notebook app to write down important ideas, performing or teaching tips, or even thoughts to help you reach your long-term goals in Box 2. Then, go back and read through them often. Our minds are best used for processing ideas, not just storing information.

    Time management does not have to be a long and tedious effort. Focusing your energies on reaching your goals requires a constant re-evaluation and balancing of priorities and responsibilities. You cannot control the universe or consequences of actions. What you can control are the principles and goals you set for yourself. They are the compass to help guide you to success and happiness.

    LindrothDr. James T. Lindroth is Associate Professor of Music Education at Northeastern State University, where he serves as the Percussion Chair and Coordinator of Music Education. Dr. Lindroth earned his Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of South Florida and his Masters of Music degree in Music Performance and Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is an active performer and recording artist and is a member of the Central States Judges Association, where he adjudicates music festivals throughout the United States. He is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team and serves on the PAS Health and Wellness Committee. Dr. Lindroth’s scholarly research has been published in regional and national peer-reviewed journals, and he has presented research and workshop sessions at music conferences in the United States and internationally.

Contact Us

Percussive Arts Society
110 W. Washington Street Suite A 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499
E: percarts@pas.org