This is a short post to wish all of you compliments of the season and best wishes for the new year.
Thank you for your support on this blog and for engaging my services in Music. I look forward to another fruitful year just as 2017 has been.
I wish that you and your loved ones be blessed abundantly in 2018 and may all your goals be fulfilled.
I am so glad to be back here with another post since my last one in February. Nope, I have not been under a rock or locked up in an ivory tower all this time. Instead, I have been having a great time accomplishing some stuff I always wanted to accomplish in my music work and in my part-time university studies, which I am about to complete the first year/first semester for.
2017 has been great to me so far, and I am so grateful for the new friendships I have forged through music, through my part-time studies, and through some interesting chance encounters. It has been certainly a more productive year than 2016. I have a good feeling that the new opportunities I have taken on this year will lead me down a richly rewarding path in my life – one that I think will actualize who I really am and what is truly my calling.
Some highlights from this year so far:
- Playing some really good gigs with some excellent musicians, most of whom come from overseas. These musicians include: Sean (SG – Gruv Therapy), Kevin (SG – freelance guitarist subbing at Brix. excellent and versatile), Manson (SG – bassist), Gavin (SG – The High Rollers), Paul (SG – The High Rollers), the two Patricks (SG – The High Rollers), Jasmine (SG – Sang with The High Rollers), James (SG – The Revival Band), Ricky (SG – The Revival Band), Martin (SG – The Revival Band), Peter (SG – The Revival Band), Christo (Australia – Stingray Martini), Harley (Canada – Stingray Martini), Daryn (New Zealand – Stingray Martini), Eirik (Norway – bass player I very recently connected with. Great Funk and Rock bassist), Phoenyx (USA – Brix resident band), Tre (USA – Brix resident band), Yendi (USA – Brix resident band), Inga (New Zealand – Brix resident band. Though I only did two gigs with her as she finished her contract after the 2nd gig), Kyle (USA – Brix resident band), Matt (USA – Brix resident band), Mark (Canada – Brix resident band, bandleader), Jocelyn (SG – actually I started working with her last year. Very good singer and multi-instrumentalist. Check out her work with The Dimension 5). Sadly I have to say goodbye to Fran (Belgium) who has to relocate to Geneva as her husband was recently posted there by his company. I worked with her on a couple of Top40/Rock gigs last year and this year. She was a great singer – versatile, powerful, and soulful – and her professionalism is something I greatly respect. I wish her all the very best.
- Part-Time University Studies which started on July 28th 2017. This is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life so far. It was not easy to get there, but I am getting to do it now because of help from so many sources, it is mind-blowing. Thank you!! You know who you are!! I have great lecturers and my fellow schoolmates are generally cool people who come from different professional backgrounds and walks of life to study this course that I am taking.
- My last NS Reservist training cycle!! 10 years completed!
- Making some important connections for future work.
- Some of my drumset students achieving some personal breakthroughs in their drumming studies, namely Paul and Kyan. Paul is a working adult with a young family and Kyan is a primary school student who has been taking lessons for about 2 years now.
- Last but not least, The Bellamy Brothers concert that I opened for with The Revival Band (Ricky, James, Martin, Peter)
What I have been practising lately:
- Jazz drumming – improving my time and sound on the ride cymbal, developing other comping ideas, soloing, and brush work from time to time.
- Basic Metric Modulation
- Refining my traditional grip – I was recently able to play clean rim shots with the trad grip in my live work. YES!!! I am now comfortable playing Rolling Stones’ songs for example using the trad grip like Charlie Watts does, and trying to cop his feel – which is not easy.
- Stick Control, Accent Control, Odd Subdivisions including Quintuplets, Septuplets, Nine-lets, Ten-lets
- Improving my Funk Grooves – mostly listening to some Funk drummers that I am focusing on like Steve Ferrone, David Garibaldi, James Gadson, and Bernard Purdie. I have been listening to alot of Steely Dan also – the whole discography – and have developed a newfound love and appreciation for their early 1970’s work and that of their original drummer, Jim Hodder (R.I.P). He had a heck of a groove.
So there you go!
I will be back soon for some more updates. Till then, take care and keep groovin’…
I just re-read a feature interview from the October 2014 issue of Modern Drummer magazine with the legendary drummer from Deep Purple, Ian Paice. He’s a huge hero of mine.
Here’s what I think is a great piece of advice for younger drummers that he shared, given his 50+ years being a professional musician in one of the iconic Rock bands of the world:
“If you like playing drums, do it because it makes you happy. If you can find a few friends around you, form a little band. If it goes somewhere else, treat it as a bonus. When we started, we never thought that it would be our careers. We were just kids having fun, and that was enough. For the few of us who had it and had the luck, it became something else. I’ve said before, success is a strange thing. You go chasing it and you won’t find it. But if you stay true to yourself and enjoy yourself and make yourself happy, you might find that success taps you on the shoulder from behind. But you can’t force it.
There are some fantastic young players around the world, and it seems that the industry’s against them. They can’t be pigoenholed; they can’t be put into little pockets of music. The industry doesn’t want to be bothered. Play what you like, play what makes you smile, play from your heart, and just keep on doing it and enjoying it. And if you never leave your garage – if your drums stay in your garage and you just batter the crap out of them – the very least you can do is make yourself smile, because you still have something that most of the world doesn’t have or understand.”
– IAN PAICE, DRUMMER FOR DEEP PURPLE, AND ROCK LEGEND.
I had a blast last Monday being part of the opening performance for the Bellamy Brothers’ debut Singapore concert on their current tour.
The Bellamy Brothers and their band were really nice to us, and we thoroughly enjoyed their excellent, world-class playing. A big highlight for me was chatting with the drummer, Rocky Marvel, after the show, and for him to tell me that he liked my playing, was beyond awesome. He was so gracious in answering a couple of questions I had about his drum setup and it was just two drummers exchanging thoughts about the instrument we both love to play. Before our conversation and photo taking were over, he gave me the pair of his signature model sticks that he used that night and his namecard! How cool is that?
I wish the Bellamy Brothers safe travels through the rest of their tour and to many more years ahead of fine music they have to give.
I wish to thank the following:
The Revival Band – Martin, James, Peter and Ricky.
The Kallang Theatre Management
The Moulmein-Cairnhill Ukelele group
Thank you all for your wonderful warmth and hospitality. It was a joy and honour to play alongside all of you. I hope we get to do this again!
Should have done this earlier, but here’s a pic of my recently set up facebook page.
Let’s engage!! Hope to see you there! Great drumming related content is shared there, I promise!
I’m also available on Instagram too! Same name: @jason_cruz_drums.
The two pictures above sum up one of the best gigs I ever did in my close to 9 year journey as a musician: The My Squad Is Better Than Yours TV show by Mediacorp’s Channel 5. In summary, it is a TV music competition show pitting various local celebrity performers and entertainers in group and solo categories.
Here’s a video clip from one of the contestant’s, Jermaine Leong’s, solo performances on the “Rock week” episode, which was taped live on 14th September 2016 and broadcast on 18th September 2016 at 9.30pm.
She did a fantastic rendition of the late Prince’s iconic song, Purple Rain, and I was so happy to be back there on the drums supporting her on this performance.
I do hope Prince approves of our version!!
Although Jermaine’s team didn’t win in this particular episode we were on, this particular performance is well considered a true highlight of the show, and I think it will stand as one for a long time to come. Let time decide that.
As far as my drumming goes, I think I have achieved a breakthrough in terms of capturing a more laid-back feel – something I have to work very hard on. It’s still a work in progress, but I think I have alot more confidence now to really master this feel.
I hope you enjoyed watching and listening to this clip. Do look out for Jermaine Leong’s music.