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DVD Review – Stanton Moore: Take it to The Street: A Traditional Approach to New Orleans Drumming

Before I begin the review, I have to make everyone aware of a policy change that I will make effective as of this review. From now on I’m going to review DVD’s with more then one volume (like this one) each on their own individual merits. I realized in my review of Joe Morello’s DVDs that I barely mentioned the first DVD at all in my review. Granted, my opinion at that time (and it hasn’t changed since) was that there really wasn’t much to talk about. Still, it merited it’s own separate review. I will still talk about the relationship between the (or more) related products, but my score at the end will be reflective of the product as it stands by itself.

And now, on with the review!

(Note: I haven’t seen the second video in the “Take it to The Street” series as of the writing of this piece.”)

I like Stanton Moore. His drumming is awesome and musical. I wish I could say I liked this DVD nearly as much as I like him and his music.

The big problem is that there isn’t much instructional content and it feels like it’s over way, waaaay too soon. Maybe that’s all there really is to traditional New Orleans drumming. I don’t know. What I do know is that after seeing this video I would be hesitant to shell out 20-30 bucks to buy this thing. It only took two viewings to get everything I could get out of it. It’s not one of those books/DVD’s that you can go back time and time again and find something new each time.

The video has lots and lots of musical performance sections. There are five educational sections in this DVD and nine non-educational sections. Of those non-educational sections, six of them are musical performances.

Now, I will give credit where credit is due. He does a very good job a demonstrating what makes something sound New Orleansy (add that to your book, Merriam-Webster) and that which he does cover is pretty well explained. When he demonstrates “playing in between the cracks” you know exactly what to shoot for and what to avoid after he’s finished. He talks about using the different areas of the drum and using different degrees of buzz when you play the snare drum. He then demonstrates a couple specific rhythms, and then talks some more about moving in between swung and straight feels.

The DVD would be over here but he has the “Special Bonus Section” featuring johnny Vidacovich. Why the decided to call it a “Special Bonus Section” is beyond me. it’s still an instructional segment that’s part of the main feature, hardly a bonus. The only difference is that they have a guest. Maybe they should have called it the special guest section instead? Name issues aside, this is one of my favorite sections of this DVD.

Basically it’s Johnny telling Stanton, “Hey, try playing this” and Stanton goes “O.K.” They come up with some very cool ideas in this section for fusing traditional New Orleans drumming with different styles of music, like funk and latin.

One more song as the credits roll.

Then you get a tour of Stanton’s gear. Why this wasn’t treated as bonus footage is beyond me.

Then we’re done… for real.

Time for the breakdown.

For content I’m having a hard time deciding what to give it. It’s as if a history teacher had to cram all of the Civil War into a 30 minute period of a 60 minute class. If the focus of the DVD had been broader it would have made sense because Stanton would have to move on to other subjects. The whole DVD is about traditional New Orleans drumming, but I still feel like I’m getting the thirty minuet version.

I’m going to give it 1.5 mics. What I do get is well taught but I’m left feeling short changed at the end.

For presentation I’m going to give it half a mic. The video is easy to watch but it suffers from a too high ratio of non-instructional to instructional content.

For extras I’m going to give it half a mic. The oddly placed gear tour is pretty good. Stanton doesn’t just talk about the kit he plays in the video, he also talks about the drum kits you see in the background and what records he used each of them on. Pretty cool, but that’s the only bonus feature you get. No, the section with Johnny V doesn’t count.

So there you go. 2.5 mics.

I’ve got no witty way of ending this review so I’ll just say “bye.”

Bye.

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