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November 2002

Pat Petrillo
Complete Drum Workout

Promising “hours of practice time, even a hundred years from now,” Pat Petrillo’s Complete Drum Workout is a “comprehensive program to help improve every aspect of your playing.” Starting with the snare drum, Petrillo concentrates on coordination, endurance and touch by presenting 15 exercises covering every rudiment group. This first section was most impressive, culminating with his band’s performance of “Big Hair,” a swampy groove showcasing Petrillo’s great hands.

The box notes that the second section contains 30 “groove variations,” but I counted eight, each superimposed over 10 different two-bar bass-drum rhythms—or maybe it just seemed like that many more since they were played over interminably cheesy synthesizer sequences. Part three concerns ghost notes and beat displacement, with “Swingin’ da Funk” utilizing concepts for R&B-inspired jams, go-go, hip-hop, gospel, new-jack swing and New Orleans funk (no mention of jazz anywhere on this tape). The difference between Petrillo’s examples of this groove played straight and “played swing” (besides his use of an auxiliary snare drum) was the insertion of one single “swingin’ 16th” note on the bass drum.

The basic fill ideas in part four begin with five licks played first on snare, orchestrated on the set and then placed in musical context on the tune “Rock Candy.” Following are five “split 16th-note fill ideas” played between bass drum and snare drum, orchestrated around the set and demonstrated in “Split 16th Practice Jam.” Flams are applied to fatten up fills, making them “larger than life” on “P’s Funky Tribute.” Next, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Mr. Petrillo grants that “the mysteries will be revealed” regarding advanced sextuplet figures—”slick fills you probably heard in some of the tunes on this video”—during “Jamalicious.” Although he acknowledges “the great Steve Gadd,” Petrillo seems to believe that these are “grooves [he] came up with.” Meanwhile, while fully realizing this is a drum video, music is music—and guitarist Carl Filipiak’s buried placement in the mix of his own tune (“The Lottery Incident” and the highlight of this tape) is frustrating.

The video concludes with Keith Larsen, product specialist and designer for Baltimore’s Maryland Drum Co., discussing Petrillo’s great-sounding custom kit.

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