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Gig Bag: The latest must-have gear

New Sonor Martini drumkit plus books and more cowbell!

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Sonor Martini Drum Kit

Sonor Martini Kit

If you’re one of the innumerable drummers out there stuffed into corners at nightly restaurant and bar gigs, here’s a kit for you. Sonor’s new Martini kit features small, portable poplar drums with big sounds: a 14-by-12-inch bass drum, an 8-by-8 rack tom, a 13-by-10 floor tom and a steel snare measuring 12 inches across and 5 deep. Completing the kit are Sonor’s tuning lugs and fittings, REMO drumheads and a retro Emerald Isle turquoise sparkle finish (with natural-grain bass drum hoops).

New Drum Books

Legendary drummers are defined by a body of work, sure, but also by iconic beats. Wise Publications’ Jazz, Funk & Fusion proves that point by distilling 31 great percussionists down to their trademark rhythms. The 40-page book moves pretty much chronologically, from swing trailblazers Chick Webb and Papa Jo Jones through bop architects Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, groovemasters Clyde Stubblefield and Bernard Purdie, fusioneers Billy Cobham and Airto Moreira, session aces Steve Gadd and Steve Jordan and many more. The accompanying CD contains helpful demonstrations that could serve as ideal material for one of JT‘s Before & After listening sessions.

For a contemporary rhythm tandem looking to improve its hookup, Mel Bay has released Drum and Bass Synchronicity: The Ultimate Rhythm Section Workout. This 76-page guide by former New School compatriots Jason Prushko (drums) and Corey Dozier (electric bass) features 50 brief groove exercises, with parts transcribed in standard notation and tab and accompanied by an illustrative CD. If your ultimate goal is to replace Peter or Kenny Washington in the Bill Charlap Trio, Synchronicity isn’t for you: These exercises, many in odd time, occupy the proggy, fusiony musical space shared between hard rock, funk, hip-hop, Caribbean and Latin traditions and, yes, jazz. But seeing how jazz is currently defined in large part by stylistic melding and multitasking, this book is more practical than it might seem.

Speaking of rhythmic challenges, drummer Steve Lyman’s A New Approach to Odd-Times for Drum Set (Mel Bay) aims to streamline the process of mastering metrically advanced rhythms. As Lyman correctly notes, “Where meters such as 7/4 and 5/4 were once considered difficult, now they seem almost commonplace. What has erupted, though, is an increased knowledge and usage of odd-time signatures consisting of both the eighth-note and sixteenth-note levels.” (If you’ve spent any time in jazz venues in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in the last decade, you’re already familiar with this phenomenon.) Lyman places all his examples in the context of 4/4 time, and breaks apart complex meters into core rhythms.

New from Hal Leonard in its Big Band Play-Along series is Jazz Classics, with nine arrangements by United States Army Band veteran Mark Taylor plus Sammy Nestico’s take on “Moten Swing.” Other tunes, notated as clean lead sheets and accompanied by a CD of full-band performances, include “Bags’ Groove,” “Blue ‘N Boogie,” “Doxy,” “Song for My Father” and “Straight, No Chaser.” Jazz Classics is also available for the other big-band instruments.

El Negro’s Signature Cowbells by Pearl

Acclaimed Cuban drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, an alum of bands led by Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paquito D’Rivera, Michel Camilo, Carlos Santana and others, has gotta have more cowbell. (Sorry-we couldn’t help ourselves.) His signature line by Pearl features five different-sized cowbells, all made of carbon steel with a black-powder-coat finish and sold individually. Recently redesigned, some key older features stand, including both round and flat surfaces and a swiveling mount for low-interference playability. New for 2013 is a Quick Release bracket that attaches to any 3/8-inch post, allowing the cowbell to drop in and out of place easily via two pins.

Originally Published