Best of Drumming: 2012

  • Posted on: 5 January 2013
  • By: sheldonkreger

2012 was a fantastic year for music. Many, many musicians created some of their best work to date. I've had my eye on several of my favorite musicians and know that the work they released in 2012 will proudly stand out as masterpieces as time passes. Here at Pro Drum Blog, I'm going to share my favorite moments in drum history of 2012. There were some incredible touring groups, as well as album releases which continue to inspire me to practice. Be sure to comment and let me know what I missed - too much music, not enough time!!!

Top Albums of 2012 - For Drummers

As drummers, we have developed ears which look for very particular things - the sound of the drums and cymbals, the complexity of grooves, the authenticity of different feels, etc. Here's my list for top albums in 2012, in no particular order.

Karizma - Perfect Harmony

It's been more than 10 years since a release from the Los Angeles based jazz fusion supergroup, Karizma. I was losing sleep in the days leading up to this album release, because I knew that producer David Garfield had put many years of work into this project. It was extremely exciting for me to hear Perfect Harmony, and I even wrote a review of Perfect Harmony a few weeks after its release.

There are many new tracks and a release of some live footage with Carlos Vega and Jeff Porcoro. We don't get treats like this often!

Vinnie Colaiuta and Oscar Seaton on drums. Micheal Landua on guitar. David Garfield on keys. Jimmy Johnson on bass. MANY MANY others. Seriously, buy this.

Lee Ritenour - Rhythm Sessions

Anybody who has followed Ritenour's career knows that he has always brought together the greatest musicians and producers in the music industry, with the aim of creating music that sounds great to a general audience. Rhythm Sessions is no exception. The production is the highlight for me, but it's hard to overstate how much I've enjoyed the compositions, as well.

This was a *perfect* holiday gift, since I knew that all of my friends - musicians or not - would find something groovy on this album.

Another exciting element to "Rhythm Sessions" was the contest Ritenour held before its production. By reviewing hundreds of videos, Ritenour and team brought in a keyboardist, drummer, and guitarist from outside of the typical LA recording scene.

The songs range from pop music like "Maybe Tomorrow" (Vinnie Colaiuta) to shuffles like "The Village" (Dave Weckl). Many tracks also feature Will Kennedy, Sonny Emory, and Oscar Seaton. My personal favorite is "L.A. by Bike." I first heard Sonny Emory with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers (a fantastic album), and I was excited to hear more of his energetic playing on this album.

Alex Machacek: Fat

After spending weeks obsessing my mind over Machacek's 2010 collaborative effort with Marco Minnemann, "24 Tales", I opened my Rhapsody account to find a new treat: "Fat." Although I had never heard of Herbert Pirker (drums) or Raphael Preuschi (bass), I was confident that Machacek would bring in some of the greatest talent in the jazz fusion world. I remember later opening my Facebook feed to find a comment from Machacek, speaking of how these two musicians are so little-known, but so incredible to play with. It's refreshing to see how great talent is being recognized by top level performers like Machacek and Ritenour.

Overall, the album has a yin/yang feel, with bursts of warmth and joy juxtaposed against dissonant chords and dreary tones. Analytical listeners will find great pleasure in the complex compositions, which feature Machacek's signature syncopated orchestrations - mind numbing phrases played in unison throughout the trio.

My favorites here are the bass solo track "Ton Portrait", Herbert Pirker's solo over the vamp on "What a Time to Be Me", and Machacek's airy, dark, and complex guitar work on "The Life of Herbert P."

Again, this album represents a tremendous amount of effort from a group which has been playing together for many years.

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