My mother called the other day to congratulate me on the recent appearance on the Tonight Show and mentioned her overwhelming love for the tune we played.  Her name is Rosa and her middle name is Lee, but my dad always referred to her by both, so when you say them together, it sounds like Rosalee or Rosalie.  Anyhow, she was incredibly moved by the tune, so I’m sending this one out in respect and love for my mother, Rosa Lee Parmen.  Here’s the groove for Rosalee.

For this video, I’m playing my 1960’s Rogers “Mercury” Drum Set…
14 x 20 Bass Drum
8 x 12 Rack Tom
5 x 14 “Luxor” Snare w bandana over the top
14″ Istanbul Agop “Traditional” HiHats
21″ Istanbul Agop “Mel Lewis” Ride w two rivets

Rosalee Groove

It’s a simple 8th note funk feel for the verse sections, with accented downbeats on the hi hats. The second section is a pre-chorus where I switch to 16th notes on the hats before going to my ride cymbal for the main chorus and the beat becomes more syncopated. If you listen to Funky Drummer by James Brown, you will hear Clyde Stubblefield playing the funkiest 16th note beat you’ve ever heard and this was my inspiration for this groove.  And I believe that youtube took down the original video for our performance, most likely due to a licensing issue, so here it is from a different site.

CRB — Leno

Thanks, y’all!


Think Melodically

I’ve received a lot of feedback lately from folks saying they would like to see more videos and lessons on this blog and I have to say that I’m extremely flattered.  Thank y’all so much for your wonderful words of encouragement and I will do my best to continue posting my grooves, ideas and stuff I like to play, hopefully without too much boring commentary thrown-in!  The two I’d like to share today are coming from a little bit different place than some of the others, as they have more of a melodic thing going on, where I’m playing rhythms that are not only supportive of the tune but also accentuate the guitar parts and play off of that.  For me, learning the melody of a song is extremely important and really helps to determine exactly what I’m going to do or say…how my own voice will be heard and still lift up the tune at the same time.  With this first groove, which is from The City Champs tune, The Set-Up, I am playing an 8th note pattern on the hi-hats but accenting the downbeat, and if you listen to the track…

you will notice the rhythm that the guitarist, Joe Restivo, is playing before the melody comes in has a similar accent happening throughout.  Here’s the groove for The Set-Up

Taking that same melodic approach, here’s Chinatown

My playing got a little sloppy and bombastic there but you get the general idea.  The guitarist and I are actually playing a very similar rhythmic pattern together, creating a nice sonic bed for the organ melody to lie in.  Awww…

Again, I wanna say how much I appreciate everyone who has paid a visit to this blog and made comments, I’m having a great time with it.  I’m not much of a clinician, so if anyone has something specific they’d like to know in regards to a particular sticking or various permutations, feel free to inquire and I’ll do my best to answer whatever question you might have.  Oh, and please don’t hesitate to purchase some of the bands’ music, here…we’d love you for it!

Much Love & Respect.


Hodgepodge: a heterogeneous mixture : jumble <a hodgepodge of styles>


My mind is kinda racing around at the moment, lots of stuff going on and some of it is related, while the rest is just random thought.  Thinking about what I gotta do this week, paying bills, getting the oil changed in the car, phone calls, emails, letters, eating good, sleeping good, getting some kind of exercise routine together and yes, practicing some drums.  All of this is running around up there in my dome and it’s just a big ‘ol jumbled mess, making me wanna do nothing.

Tuesday evening, I arrived back in LA and was pretty exhausted after my long day of traveling…the never-ending good-bye with the fantastic Tulsa folk, two flights, and half-hour drive back home wore me out.  Haven’t wanted to pick up a pair of sticks at all but a friend of mine recommended I listen to a Mel Lewis interview from the late 8o’s, which led to watching videos of Baby Dodds and that really got me going.  Then, I listened to a recent Tom Waits interview from NPR and that blew my mind, completely and (although inspired) I still didn’t really feel like playing but at least my head was in the right place.  Well, earlier today I sat and watched Elvin Jones, Different Drummer and low and behold, finally got fired up enough to lay down a little ditty.  My camera was about to give me fits and even though it’s low quality, I got it figured out, sat down at the little Rogers kit and this beat rolled outta me.  I call it, The Hodgepodge.

A Word About Boogaloo

Without saying too much, I’ll can honestly tell y’all that this music, which I like to refer to as boogaloo (call it soul jazz, dance jazz, funky jazz, Latin funk, jazz funk or what have you), changed my life completely.  I had grown up listening to early rock-n-roll, the blues, rhythm & blues, country and most definitely funk…James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Rufus Thomas, etc.  As I got a little older, I started to get into jazz some time in the late 80s, early 90s, when a friend turned me on to boogaloo, and more specifically, a Lou Donaldson record, Alligator Bogaloo.  From that moment, I was hooked.  The drummer on this album, listed as Leo Morris, converted to Islam and changed his name to Idris Muhammad (which he is now known) is one of the baddest cats I’ve ever heard and when I started to study what he was doing, how he was phrasing underneath these solos, his swing…everything just clicked, right down to the very tones of his drums.  I felt like I’d finally found something that was going to help guide me and put me on the path to discovering my own sound.  Listen to this…

Anyhow, I said I wouldn’t talk too much, so here is a quick video (my first attempt with my new Flip camera!) showing you a basic boogaloo pattern… [very] loosely based on Idris’ groove on the title track of this album.  Hope you like it and stay tuned for more to come.  Peace.