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Review of Keith Carlock’s “The Big Picture” DVD by Skip Hadden

Brief Overview: An excellent presentation of Keith Carlock’s playing style with detailed explanations of his ideas and techniques through solo demonstrations, music playalongs with guitarist Oz Noy, with the band, Rudder and live performances with the guitarist Wayne Krantz and bassist Tim Lefebvre.

 Hello Everyone, I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you on the Keith Carlock DVD “The Big Picture” and how I use it in my labs. I have been interested in seeing this release since I first heard of its development. Keith has been an artist that I recently added to those players who I present in a Fusion Drum Styles lab. The lab covers players throughout the time period of the style, from the late 60’s to now, and his addition helps with the current era. Keith represents where drumming is going in this century.

 The DVD presents “The Big Picture” through the smallest of details. It is laid out in a demonstration, questions and answers format that works really well in bringing you as the viewer into his presentation. It allows you to identify with those in the audience and relate to his playing as though you were there. One aspect that I found really helpful was Keith’s going back through his development as a player discussing what he listened to and how he identified with it. He elaborates and shows how he brought it into his playing and then into the music he performs with others. Beginning by playing simple phrases and then making them more complex or combining phrases together, he also demonstrates making the groove deeper not just more complicated.. A concept definitely worth the effort to keep in mind!

 In the lab context I show the clip of him performing the New Orleans/Second Line groove at 19:40 through 24:17 of Disc 1 and relate it to the information in the ebook pdf. from  4,  5,  and 8.  I find that it helps at this point to demonstrate one or two things I observed in Keith’s performance and break those down. The next step is asking the students about what they perceived and have them perform that.

 Another lab which has benefited from the addition of the material in the DVD is ”Lead Sheet Interpretation” where we work on playing grooves and soloing within song forms and how to phrase in a more musical manner. I try to get students to think and phrase more like a saxophone player, someone who pushes air to get out the phrases. I then relate this to the information in the ebook pdf. from 12. There is further information in regard to this topic in the clip section of the 6 stroke roll at 1:07:03 on Disc 1. It also ties in the use of rudiments and how they can be applied, but I primarily use it to reinforce the 8 bar phrase idea again.

 I have found this DVD to be useful in private lessons in several ways. One is for unlocking control and development of triplet grooves. I use the most basic of sticking, just alternating and how it can be applied on the set; in shuffle grooves; it is on Disc 1 at 2:23:26 and then again 2:24:16 – 2:25:45.

Another topic I use with private students is the material about steppin’ in with the hihat, or the use of the hihat as another snare.  Along the same development path is the use of the hihat in phrases in place of the bass drum. Students of an appropriate level could perhaps be exposed to the 4:3 segment and the ebook material from 12.

 One other lab that I present in which I have been able to use the DVD is one entitled “Acoustic Characteristics of the Drumset,”where students learn how sticks, heads, drums and cymbals are constructed and how they effect our sound. The lab also includes a component on tuning of the drumset. Keith points out how he was inspired to develop other sounds on his snare and I use the clip from 1:11:53 to 1;36:34 where he discusses his sound in general to elaborate this topic.

I use a substantial amount of media, both audio and video, in the thirteen different course offerings which I present and I follow this sort of examination of them and their use in all of them. I don’t play media for long periods of time. Rather, I use it to illuminate and reinforce points of subject matter, along with audio examples and playing demonstrations, and the experience of playing and/or grasping ideas on printed pages. In this way I cover the pathways of learning through the audio, video and kinesthetic experience.

 In closing I hope that I was able to be of some assistance to my fellow educators by illustrating some of the ways that I have benefited from the use of Keith Carlock’s DVD “The Big Picture.” It is a very worth while educational tool. It’s inspiring, it’s entertaining and I have found it to be of invaluable assistance in helping my students relate to the world of music.


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