DVD Review – New Orleans Drumming

PhotobucketThis DVD is actually a three in one deal. It’s three older videos that they smashed together into one package. That’s why there are three different set of credits throughout the DVD. In this package you get; Ragtime and Beyond: Evolution of a Style, with Herlin Riley. Street Beats: Modern Applications, with Johnny Vidacovich. From R&B to Funk, with Earl Palmer & Herman Ernest, to round things out.

The DVD starts off with Herlin Riley’s segment. Herlin gives a history of New Orleans drumming and plays many different examples of traditional New Orleans music. He also gives his thought on the stylistic elements that make New Orleans drumming sound like New Orleans drumming. All from a historical context. Straight after Herlin, Johnny Vidacovich takes over. Johnny Vidacovich (the guy who taught Stanton Moore how to do his thing) talks about street beats. Beats that were played in the street… duh. This segment of the DVD is the part you want to go to if you want to learn how to add New Orleans flavor to your playing. After Johnny is done we move into the third video, From R&B to Funk. Earl Palmer starts off and shows how New Orleans drumming influenced him in how he played R&B. Herman Ernest does the same thing but he shows how New Orleans drumming influenced his funk playing.

An in-depth review would take way too long so I’m going to treat them as one package. Great thing about this DVD (and a trick Hudson Music should learn) is that there is an interviewer (the same guy) in all three videos. These guys aren’t professional speakers. Talking to a camera in a natural fashion is really hard unless you’ve practiced it a lot (or are Gregg Bissonette.) By putting an actual person in there for them to talk to, the process becomes so much more natural (and so much easier to watch.)

Another great thing is that when they play a musical example (of which there are many) they play it with an actual band. No pre-recorded tracks here.

Yet another cool thing is that the songs they do play are actual tunes that people actually listen to. For example, Fats Domino’s “I’m Walking” is performed by Earl Palmer (the actual drummer who recorded that track in the first place.) Music that you’d hear in New Orleans back in it’s heyday.

I don’t think I’ve ever explained how I rate DVDs so here goes. The first three stars are given on educational content, the 4th star is given on the presentation and ease of viewing, and the fifth star is given on extras and goodies.This movie gets 4.5 stars out of 5. It got all 3 for content, the fourth for presentation and half of the fifth star for extras.


The only extras in this dvd is the performance only feature and a couple of printable charts for 2 of the songs on the dvd. It’s kinda wimpy when compared to most of the Hudson Music DVDs. I gave it a half star because it did have something and I can’t give a quarter star (which is more appropriate.)This DvD is a must if you are at all interested in New Orleans drumming. Not only that but there is a book that goes along with the DVD as a supplementary source of info (sold separately).

I’m now off to get me some gumbo.


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