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Dave Weckl: The Zone

As the marketing info states, this two-disc CD/DVD set is “a perfect gift for anyone who has ever dreamed of playing the drums; or anyone who wants to play better!” It should be added that this product would also be the ideal introduction to the world of Dave Weckl. The audio CD features selections from three of Weckl’s releases as a leader-Rhythm of the Soul, Synergy and Transition-and includes “Tee Funk” and “Serenalin,” two tracks previously available only on Japanese versions of the albums. The DVD “sampler” contains highlights from Weckl’s three-part Carl Fischer instructional video series, A Natural Evolution. Keep in mind though that the term “highlights” is misleading here, as this is really a “teaser” in the truest sense; for any in-depth inspiration and information, one would have to buy the full-length videos. Most segments are only two to three minutes long.

Technique is the focus of part one, as guest expert Freddy Gruber (who has also influenced Steve Smith, Neil Peart and Adam Nussbaum, among others) appears in a cameo illustrating the proper stroke. As such matters as body position, wrist/arm movement and grip are discussed, the overall message is that physical technique is merely a means to an end, which should be an organic, relaxed feel allowing for full musical expression. The highlight of the DVD occurs during this segment, some partial performance footage of Weckl on a Yamaha Hipgig kit in an acoustic jazz quartet setting with saxophonist Ernie Watts.

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