Chris Belin Drums - Traveling Drum School & Freelance Drumming
My Blog

December 2012

Album spotlight : Diana Krall- Christmas Songs

 I’d say most people would agree music plays a huge part in the holiday season, from the traditional carols and jingles to our favorite artists interpretations of standards, or even some new compositions with a holiday theme. Regardless of genre preference anyone can find holiday music to fit their tastes these days.
    For the past few years I’ve been breaking out my Diana Krall album “Christmas Songs” to get into the spirit. Originally released in 2005 the collection features classics like “Jingle Bells”, “Winter Wonderland”, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, among others. All the versions are great and I would highly recommend the album to any Jazz fan, but favorite part of the record is the drumming of Jeff Hamilton. His playing, especially his brush work on “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is top notch, tasteful, and inspiring. Jeff has been one of my favorite Jazz players in recent years. He’s well respected as a drummer and also as a band leader.  I always enter a heavy brush phase after listening to this album. Here’s a sample clip of his Jeff's brush work I really dig. He also offers up some great techniques tips, which I use all the time in my playing. Hope you all enjoy! 
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Jeff Hamilton - "brush stroke technique demo & song"
just amazing...

 *The Positive Spin on Drums weekly blog will resume on Monday January 7th, 2013 due to the holidays. Hope everyone has safe & happy holidays! 

Dave Whaley Benefit @ Club Diesel

    Last night The New Mingle performed at Club Diesel in Pittsburgh. The show was dubbed “Violence Wont Silence the Music”, a benefit for Dave Whaley. For those who are unfamiliar, Dave was assaulted on the South Side a few weeks ago and was badly injured. There has been news coverage on this as well as benefits held to help raise money for Dave and to bring awareness to the increasing violence that has been occurring on the South Side.     
    The New Mingle, Matt Calvetti & myself, both found out about this incident the day after it happened. We’ve both known Dave for over 10 years. Dave is a fellow Pittsburgh based drummer and works at Dave’s Music Mine, one of our favorite record stores. We already planned on donating to the cause but then we got the offer to do the Diesel show. We gladly accepted and it turned out to be an awesome night! Most importantly money was raised and the show made press. Plus besides supporting Dave, the overall cause was something I firmly support. The south side has changed a lot since the days when I first met Dave. There has been increasing violence and a consistently bad vibe there, mostly on the weekend nights when the bars & clubs are packed. I started to really notice this in the late 2000’s and since then have mostly just been there during the daylight. Even walking the streets before the show yesterday I noticed trash and beer bottles littering the sidewalks, remains of last nights ruckus i’m sure. Action needs to be taken to clean this area up. I took the Pgh bus tour for fun a few months back and when we got to Carson St., the tour guide said there was 150+ bars on this street, more than any other street in the USA, even Bourbon St. in New Orleans!  A lot of people I know are like me in avoiding this area. I signed a petition at the show to make this more aware to those who can hopefully bring some much needed security back to the south side, especially for the sake of the residents and businesses.
     Musically, every band was excellent! There was such a diverse mix of groups, everything from Pop Punk / Alternative to Synth Metal to laid back vintage R N’ R to great tribute groups performing Rush & Rolling Stones tunes respectively. I’m a fan of all music so I had an awesome time! We had a great middle slot and during our performance I noticed a camera crew filming us as well as the crowd. I heard after the set we may make the channel 11 news. Then I got a text around 10:15 saying we were on the 10 PM news! Totally missed that but luckily they replayed it after the Packers game around midnight. I thought it was a great clip. They got a quick interview with Dave, as well as one of his close friends / organizers of the event. He had who some very nice, and very true, words about Dave. Right after that the cameras got some quick individual clips of me and Matt performing (no audio but we were playing “In the Audio Ocean”, a song from our EP, which can be downloaded for free on our Reverb Nation page). I unintentionially rocked my variation of the classic drummer face for the cameras, performing on Matt Kastner’s sweet DW silver sparkle drum set. For all the drummers out there, he had the toms fitted with the Evans chrome heads, which sounded killer!  Matt K. and I have been friends for years, but have never shared the stage together. He's a great player and his band, Second Empire, rocked the house.  
    I searched all over the web for the news clip from last night, but I can’t find anything. Someone please send me one if you do. I do have a VHS version (kicking it old school!).  There are still clips online from the original incident on the KDKA & WPXI websites. Below is the link to the official Dave Whaley support page where you can donate, buy an official t-shirt, get info on where to sign the petition, find out about other benefits, or find links to all the bands who've taken part. The New Mingle reverb nation link is also below. Our entire EP is downloadable for free!! Hope you like! 

Dave Whaley Support Page;

The New Mingle:

A Musical Good Time In Chicago

 Tipping the bucket percussionist, downtown chi-town  
  I had a truly amazing time in Chicago this past holiday weekend. Not only did I get to see so much of the city with my awesome girlfriend Natalie, I also got to experience some great music related moments as well. Here’s a few highlights I recommend any musician, especially drummers, who visit the windy city should definitely check out.    
    Chicago, IL has a well documented musical history. There are tons of famous artists, bands, & venues from or based there. Doing a google search can lead you to many destinations throughout, which I did on my first trip a few years back. The Green Mill jazz club & Steve Maxwell’s drums is what I checked out last time, both awesome!!       
     For this trip, Natalie & I bought tickets for the Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theatre. This is a musical based on a famous December afternoon in 1956 where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, & Carl Perkins had a jam session @ the infamous Sun Studios. We ordered tickets online & when we arrived we realized the seats were front row! I had an awesome view of the drums as well!! Dan Leali was the drummer for the night. He played very tasteful, capturing the proper tones and feel of the music. He did all that on a great sounding vintage Ludwig, appropriate for the setting of the musical.

Jazz Record Mart, 27 East Illinois St. Chicago.      
    The next morning I searched Chicago record stores on the web. The first hit was Jazz Record Mart, which was about two miles from our hotel. When I walked in I was blown away; a Jazz based music store carrying mostly vinyl records! I didn’t think a place like that existed!!  There were CD’s too, but many more records. There was some R&B and a few Rock titles, but it was seriously Jazz based. New & used stuff, rarities, must-haves, and so much more. I picked up a Grover Washington Jr. record for $2.99, which includes a 15 min instrumental version of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”. Good stuff! The staff was really cool & knowledgeable as well. I couldn’t spent the whole day there no prob!       
    This trip was more about a quick romantic boyfriend / girlfriend get away, not focused around visiting all the music related stuff and performing. I'll be back because there's much more to experience. No matter where we went, there was music appreciation everywhere. Whether it was musicians performing in the streets, advertisements for bands playing, Piano stores in the downtown area, or just seeing a people walking around with guitar cases, Chicago is without question a very hip place for music.

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