Idris Muhammad's Powerful Soul Drumming Finally Stilled
Idris Muhammad, legendary New Orleans drummer who held the drum chair for Ahmad Jamal for two decades and had an impact in styles as diverse as acid jazz, hip-hop, funk, pop, and traditional jazz, passed away Tuesday July 29, 2014.
Idris was one of the greats of New Orleans drumming, a club that includes Herlin Riley, Ed Blackwell, Zigaboo Modeliste, Johnny Vidacovich, and other innovators of jazz and funk. Muhammad, who was born as Leo Morris November 13, 1939, converted to Islam in the mid-‘60s. He once said that after that his drumming career and everything else in life fell into place. He married Dolores “LaLa” Brooks, who had been a member of the Crystals, in 1966. They had two children.
Muhammad will be greatly remembered for his role in the development of soul jazz playing on records by artists such as Lou Donaldson. His solo records such as 1974’s Power of Soul or 1998’s Right Now, reveal his command of a stripped-down, soulful, funky, and rock-solid metronomic style that was widely sampled and widely copied. He also played with a broad range of pop and jazz stars from Roberta Flack to Sam Cooke, to Pharaoh Sanders. He played on hundreds of recordings from jazz classics to pop hits such as the Dixie Cups "Chapel of Love." He got his start as a sixteen-year old when he recorded with Randy Weston in 1955 and continued playing right through this decade
Guitar Center Celebrates Times Square Digs
The Roots Kick Off Grand Opening Concert
Los Angeles, CA (July 23, 2014): Guitar Center has announced the grand opening of the retailer’s brand new store location in world-renowned Times Square, a store that is destined to set a new standard for style in music store retailing. Standing as the 262nd store nationwide, Guitar Center Times Square location is housed in what was the original New York Times building, updated with a modern look by award-winning design firm Eight Inc. (Apple, Nike). True to all Guitar Center stores, the Times Square location will foster a hands-on environment in which customers are encouraged to interact with the wide selection of instruments and a dedicated staff of unparalleled experts.
Guitar Center will host a Grand Opening Weekend, kicking off on Thursday night with a performance by hip-hop icons and current Tonight Show house band The Roots, across the street from the new store at the Best Buy Theater. Tickets will be given away at New York-based Guitar Center locations in the days leading up to the event. Locations and times can be found at http://guitarcenter.com/timessquare.
Guitar Center Times Square will feature a number of programs such as in-house lesson facility Guitar Center Studios, free Recording Made Easy classes, in-house rental department, a hands-on electronic music department, and onsite guitar repair service GC Garage. Innovative features unique to this location include a Fender custom shop where craftsmen tailor guitars to unique specifications, a boutique pedal selection in a stunning 360-degree display, and The Platinum Club, which showcases top-of-the-line, high-end luxury guitars.
"Guitar Center is one of the few brands out there working to inspire people to make music. They are able to survive in a culture that supports creativity and musicianship, just like us," says Questlove. "New York is where I reside and Times Square is the heartbeat of the city, so to have Guitar Center in the center of it all is an exciting moment for New York musicians.” store on Saturday at 2 p.m. The store address is 218 w. 44th Street, New York,NY 10036. http://www.guitarcenter.com.
Dennis Chambers Hospitalized
Jazz drumming legend Dennis Chambers, who has toured extensively over the years with artists such as Steely Dan, Santana, Parliament-Funkadelic and Mike Stern, is in the hospital in intensive care. Bassist Bootsy Collins confirmed the news today.
“Dennis Chambers is in intensive care,” Collins said via Facebook, “and they’re working on getting him off the respirator. They are filtering his liver, as it’s not functioning well.”
In recent performances, including gigs last week with Mike Stern at festivals in Europe, Chambers appeared much thinner than usual. Chambers is a former child prodigy, who began playing at age four and performing by age six. At 18 he joined Parliament-Funkadelic, playing with the band from 1978 to 1985, before joining the band of guitarist Jon Scofield.
Chambers is a ferociously talented drummer in any style. A highlight in recent years were his spotlighted solos with Santana during ‘Soul Sacrifice.’
Tim Alexander Suffers Heart Attack
It was announced yesterday on the Pucifier facebook page that on again/off again Primus and A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander has suffered a heart attack. He is scheduled to undergo open heart surgery next week.
This year Alexander announced the formation of Supergroup Escape The Cult, featuring members of Kamlath, King Diamond, and Merciful Fate. Last fall Alexander also made a heralded return to Primus, the band that originally brought his talents to the attention of drummers worldwide.
ProMark Introduces Three New Signature Sticks
ProMark has announced three new signature drumstick models designed in tandem with some of the drumming industry’s top players and innovators, Anton Fig, Bob Gatzen, and Will Kennedy. “ProMark is thrilled to work with these top drummer s,” says Rob Caniglia, ProMark Product Specialist. “We’re always looking for new stick offerings and what better way than to go straight to the players themselves.”
The Anton Fig drumstick will be released at the 2014 Summer NAMM show. It has a short taper making it a forward heavy stick that generates a lot of sound. Made of hickory, it features a large wooden barrel tip. The handle of the stick is treated in ProMark’s Pro-Grip solution for better grasp. “The thing about these sticks is that they are so consistent,” says Anton Fig. “You could just take any pain and start playing with them, and they feel great.”
The Bob Gatzen Balanced Groove stick has a unique design that features a long taper and a notch cut out of the handle. The notch shifts the center of balance of the stick towards the butt end. The stick is made of hickory, and it features a wooden barrel tip. “The sticks allow me to be more musical,” says Bob Gatzen. “They vibrate in your hand differently. The groove changes the center of balance and creates a different playing experience.”
Will Kennedy’s stick has a long taper which accentuates the rebound. It is made of hickory and features a wooden teardrop tip.