Thursday, October 13, 2005

Larry Wright: Street Drumming to the Max!

Larry Wright online video

Larry Wright is an incredibly electrifying drummer, a force of nature. He is a bucket drummer who makes a good living playing in the subways in NYC. At age 2 he was already hitting things; at 5 he discovered his instrument, learning to get more sound out of a bucket than most drummers with a full kit. He was discovered in 1990 at age 15 by two filmmakers, and their 30 minute documentary about him aired on PBS. I was blown away when I saw it back then. He would compare and demonstrate variations from Santeria to Yoruba sacred drumming, as if channeled through jazz legend Lenny White. Since then he's appeared in commercials (Ford, etc) and movies (the opening of The Believers, for example) and in Alicia Key's "Karma" video. This kid is so hot, legendary drummer Gene Krupa went to meet him.

Watch his sticks; identify the fulcrum point, then think of the short strokes of Serrada.
Notice they don't come back too far, moving from vertical to horizontal with great precision.
See how relaxed his wrists are.
Same for his shoulders. Notice his upper arms hang naturally.
His concentration is complete. He has full control of speed, power, tempo and rythm.

How would you move to these rhythms?

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