jason cruz

New Album Out: Sunny Deo And The Ninth Order’s Mystic String

Hope your new year started off on a good footing.

It’s with great pride that I announce the release of a newalbum that I worked on between the fall of 2014 and May of 2015. It’s called Mystic String and it features a diverse set of 10 songs which run the gamut from Pop to Rock to Jazz to even abit of World Music.

Working on developing the song arrangements with the band and producer as well as recording the drum tracks are certainly two of the greatest highlights in my career so far. I learnt so much more about recording with greater precision and consistency from working with a grammy-nominated producer, Duke Purisima, who presided over the production of this album; and grammy-nominated recording and mixing engineer, Jerry Chua, who designed the sound of this album. Jerry is also a very well respected drummer, thus alot of scrutiny was naturally placed on my performances!

All in all, this album captures some of my best drumming in the studio so far in terms of creative drum parts, versatility with different styles, time, feel, and consistency. I certainly look forward to doing another album with this band and this production team.

Here’s the link to previewing the album online and purchasing it as a digital download:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sunnydeoandtheninthorder.

Feel free to give me your feedback on the album!

 

 

 

Advertisements

TED Talk: Learning a Musical Instrument and Brain Development

http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins

Old stuff but timeless information on how learning to play a musical instrument positively affects your brain.

I’ve certainly learnt so much more about myself playing the drums and that has helped me build a rather successful career overall. With the ups and downs that come along with the music business, I developed tenacity, focus, sharper intellect, better problem-solving skills, and above all versatility through my intensive study of various musical genres and their drumming styles.

Learn a musical instrument today! Take the time to find out which of these instruments resonates with you. You don’t have to aspire to be a pro, although that would be awesome.

If drums is your thing and you’ve never ever sat behind a set of drums, time to take a trial lesson. Call me at 98291901 or email me at treshombres6@gmail.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Recording Projects: The Black Monolith and The Ninth Order

Hey folks,

Hope your start to 2015 was a great one. If it wasn’t, have faith, keep pushing in your chosen direction, make adjustments if necessary, believe in yourself, and things will get better as the year progresses.

I’m excited to announce that Black Monolith’s first album will be due for completion by end of March. We’ve also just done one gig for an Arts-event which was very well received. We have another gig coming up, an acoustic one, at Lasalle College Of The Arts.

I’m currently in the midst of another recording project for a Pop/Rock outfit called the Ninth Order. The band comprises:

Sunny Deo – Lead Vocals / Principal Songwriter

Kevin Mikhail – Lead Guitars

Sean Rezel – Rhythm Guitars

Bobby Chan – Keyboards

Muhammad Sultan – Bass

Yours truly – Drums, Percussion.

These guys are another great bunch to work with. Its a very relaxed and fun atmosphere – two things you need to make great music.

This project marks the first time that I’m working with an established producer. He’s none other than Mr. Duke Purisima, who’s a 2013 Grammy Nominee for his work on Arun Shenoy’s album, Rumbadoodle. It is a great honour and privilege to work with someone of those credentials, and it gives me both security and confidence in my contributions to the album. His advice helps alot in improving the drum parts and my performances that have been recorded so far have been above even my own expectations.

Watch this space for updates!!!!

To Fill-In Or Not To Fill-In??

I wanted to write this short post to address the above question that plagues the minds of many beginner drummers.

The only advice I’ll offer is this:

STEAL ideas from other drummers. Yes. STEAL. Then, over time and experience, make those ideas your own.

I am assuming you already understand the function of the fill-in and its musical purpose. Fill-Ins have to be CLEAR, IN TIME, CONFIDENT, and APPROPRIATE to the music you are playing.

Your teacher can only show you the mechanics of how to execute a fill-in. In lessons introducing fill-ins you’d go through 4 bar, 8 bar, and 16-bar exercises for this, meaning that you fill-in on the last bar of each sequence whilst you play time for the rest of the preceding bars. To play fill-ins with taste and musical purpose however is something you need to develop largely on your own over time.

The only ways to develop confidence and tastefulness in your fill-ins are by:

1) Listening to tons and tons of records and getting ideas from the drummers who played on those records. This way, you’ll gain rhythmic vocabulary, phrasing, as well as learn how different drummers approach fill-ins by way of where they put their fill-ins within the song.

As you analyse the above things, ask yourself why did these drummers phrase and put the fill-ins in places where they did. Discuss these with your teacher and your drummer friends as well. I do alot of these type of discussions with my students, and these are some of the most fun parts of teaching for me.

2) Experimenting with those fill-in ideas on the drumkit once you’ve got them transcribed (either by writing it down or by ear)

3) Over time and experience, finding variations on those fill-in ideas to make these your own ideas.

There is no other way about these above 3 steps.  Use this guideline for the rest of your entire playing career and you will reap amazing results.

If you feel you need a couple of lessons to help you get started on fill-ins, you can contact me at 98291901 or email: jason@pulseofmusic.com for more information.

Cheers and Keep Drumming!

Velocity and How To Use It To Your Advantage In Your Drumming Technique

Dear Drummers,

This short post is aimed at those of you who are feel you are working too hard at the drumset to execute the ideas you want to express musically. Oftentimes, it is due to a lack of understanding of how fast or how slow we are throwing the sticks down to the drum or how fast or slow the pedal is striking the bass drum.

I wish to break down in this post the concept of Velocity as applied to drumming technique:

Velocity is generally defined as “the speed of an moving object in a given direction”.

Velocity has a direct influence on 1) the type of sound you produce on the drums, and 2) the degree of tension and relaxation in your technique.

i. Velocity Affecting Sound Produced On Drums:

When a stick is thrown slowly on the drum surface to produce a sound, the sound quality of that sound is thin. You hear more of the batter head of the drum along with the vibration of the snare wires against the resonant head (bottom side) of the drum, and less of the sonic qualities of the drum’s shell, the resonance of the metal parts, and the stick.This works well if you are playing rhythms that are less dense, but needs to be played with less fuller sounding tones, at slower speeds, and also at quieter volumes.

Throwng a stick down to the drum at a faster speed however will produce a fuller sound where you also hear an increase in volume. There is greater tonal detail of the drum which includes more resonance from the drum shell, the metal parts, and the stick itself (assuming you don’t grip the stick tightly). This works well obviously for louder volumes but also for quieter rhythmic passages which may require speed and greater dexterity.

As you can see here these differences in sonic qualities can be effected at ANY volume. Thus, for that matter, stick height and velocity are totally two different concepts but when combined together, you will not have to play in inefficient ways such as:

1) Lifting the sticks too high off the drums for volume and power

2) Whacking the drum harder to produce fuller sounds.

II. Velocity Affecting Technique

“Newton’s Third Law Of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

The above law of physics is the governing principle to this concept of velocity affecting technique.

We all know that good technique involves the rebound of the stick or the bass drum beater so that you do not have to do the extra work of picking the stick or the bass drum  pedal beater back up before making the next stroke. The question is how much rebound from either are you getting as leverage for the effort you put in?

Leverage is defined as “the mechanical advantage or power gained by using a lever.” “Lever”, in the case of drumming technique, is the use of the different joints in your hand  (wrists, fingers, elbow, and shoulders) and your feet  (ankle, knee, and hip).

It is very important to understand that a higher degree of relaxation at any volume and at any tempo when using either of these joints in your hands and feet will result in a greater amount rebound from the stick or the bass drum pedal beater, which will thus provide leverage for the effort you put in. Again, if you do it correctly, the effort you put in is not as much as you would think. Ideally, you would want a 50/50 balance between the effort you put in and the leverage you get from the rebound. 

How does this work?

If you throw the stick down slowly, the stick will not have enough rebound to bounce back up quickly. This means you will still have to pick the stick back up. Throwing the stick down faster instead with a relaxed grip allows the stick “breathing space” within your hand to rebound quickly. This allows you to play more efficiently and with less effort at any volume or tempo. The above principles also apply to bass drum technique.

In conclusion, depending on the sound you want to achieve, the density of your rhythms, and the speed and volume at which you play those rhythms, varying the degree of velocity will add flexibility to your existing technique that will eliminate doing everything from just one method, which can physically hurt you. 

Please bear in mind that you cannot have just one way of doing everything you want to do on the drums if you want efficiency and relaxation.

If you’re in Singapore and would like to take a lesson with me on this, I can be reached at: 98291901 or treshombres6@gmail.com.

Please also check out these great instructional books and DVDs on the subject of drumming technique. I use these resources in my lessons and in my own development. I have better technique today than I did 5 years ago and I will have even better technique 5 years from now if I continue to refine the concepts learnt from within these resources:

1) Playing With Sticks (DVD) – Jeff Queen (Hudson Music)

– There’s a segment where he explains the concept of “Velocity” in a very clear, common-sense, way. Although catered mainly to marching ensemble drummers , everything discussed in this DVD can be adapted to drumset playing as well.

2) The Next Level (Book) – Jeff Queen (Hudson Music)

– There’s a chapter devoted to “Velocity” along with other very comprehensive technical topics that can be employed by any drummer. 

3) A Natural Approach To Technique (DVD) – Joe Morello (Hot Licks Productions)

The late, great Joe Morello was one of those drummers who had the greatest technique in the world. In this DVD, he breaks down all the technical concepts with simple language, lots of wisdom, and dashes of humour.

4) Great Hands For A Lifetime (DVD) – Tommy Igoe (Hudson Music)

I use “The Lifetime Warmup” routine included in this DVD package in my daily practice. Very inspiring and challenging!!

5) Bass Drum And Hi-Hat Technique (DVD) – Michael Packer (Hal Leonard)

This instructional method helped me improve my feet on the bass drum and hi-hat pedals. 

Many of my students benefited from working on these methods in their lessons with me and in their private studies too!

Thank you for reading this post, I hope it will at least provide food for thought when you assess your technique.

New Studio Recording: Tommy Icarus by The Black Monolith

Link: http://theblackmonolith.bandcamp.com/track/tommy-icarus

Here ya go, folks…A new, hot one fresh from the Rock n Roll oven. This is personally one of my favourite tracks to record my drums on and I really like the results. It’s also a song I can connect with deeply on a lyrical level, thanks to the simple yet moving lyrics by lead singer, Zed Tan.

The Black Monolith will be rolling out it’s debut album in April this year. Be sure to watch this space for updates! It’s been a very nice experience working with these guys, and here’s to more.

Enjoy and ROCK ON!

Groove Essentials 10th Anniversary Video Competition

Hello!

About slightly more than a week ago, I entered the Groove Essentials 10th Anniversary video competition for the fun of it. International voting is now open to determine the finalists and the finalists’ videos will be judged by Tommy Igoe himself, the author of the Groove Essentials drumming instructional system.

If any of you would like to vote:

Look out for this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBJ4g-VD-E8#t=162

on this page:

http://www.grooveessentials.com/contestant-gallery/

and vote on the same page.

PS: Only one vote per day.

Thanks alot! Not sure if I’ll get anything but it was fun.I’m however hoping to get a Skype lesson with the man himself!

Shout out to Howard Lee for generously helping me with the recording and video.

Please feel free to share this post .