DVD Review – Akira Jimbo: Wasabi

     Akira Jimbo’s first offering to the drumming public is his video Wasabi. Wasabi is mostly about the Wasabi Method Akira developed to help him change up his playing. The Wasabi Method consists of four basic parts used to spice up a groove or lick you’ve heard somewhere else. Incase you were wondering about the title, Wasabi is a very popular spice in Akira’s homeland, Japan. Because the video and method are about spicing up your playing it makes sense that they would be named after a spice, no?Akira’s Wasabi method is very simple, unlike some systems by some Austrian drummers. Step 1: take cool groove or lick. Step 2: apply different wasabi parts in any combination or manner you see fit. Step 3: keep the cool combinations. Done. The four Wasabi parts that make up the Wasabi method are as follows. 

Part 1, Change note value

Part 2, Change instrument source

Part 3, Change starting point

Part 4, Add another pattern

     Very broad very open suggestions with lots of room for interpretation and easy to mix and match the different methods. The problem is that the method is so simple that there really isn’t much to demonstrate. So almost as soon as he starts talking about the Wasabi Method he’s done.

     After the Wasabi Method he talks about how he practices. There are some good ideas in this section. He talks about how you should always use all four limbs in any practice routine because it improves independence and it’s more realistic. If you have to stop moving your feet in order to do something cool with your hands that makes whatever the cool thing with your hands is much less useful. So practice the cool thing with your hands while your feet are doing something so you can operate all your limbs at once in any given context.

    He also says that your practice pattern should be musical because: A) it’s musical so therefore potentially useful, and B) mechanical patterns begin to grate at your nerves very quickly and drain your stamina. Musical patterns are fun and invigorating.

    The specific exercise patterns he uses aren’t really what’s important in this section. What is important is that you note how he came up with the patterns in the first place. He analyzed the problem he was having and then created a musical pattern that forced him to work on that specific issue. I.E. My left hand control is really bad. Solution, create a musical pattern that requires a lot of left hand control. With a little thinking you can create your own exercise patterns and solve your own issues.

   The DVD pretty much goes down hill from here… the next section is a bunch of random topics that are briefly touched on and then the credits.

   Time for the breakdown.

For content I give it 1 mics of 3. The Wasabi section and the practice section have many good ideas but most are broader and have a do-it-yourself kind of aspect. Thus once you watch it once or twice there is no reason to keep the DVD around. If it were a video game I would say it lacks replay value.

For presentation I give it half a star. Akira’s got a Japanese accent to be sure but he’s not difficult to understand. It’s not a joy to watch but it isn’t horrible either. The reason it got the half star is because they really did a good job of breaking up the movie with music and the musical examples aren’t too long or too short.

For extras it gets a half star. There is a very short behind the scenes featurette, a gear tour, and a demonstration of the left foot clave.

in total Wasabi gets 2 mics. 

I wouldn’t buy it… i’d rent it if i really wanted to see it. I covered most of the content in text during my review, so if you do choose to rent it you might get a “I already know this” kinda feeling.

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