Robby Ameen, Jessie Carballo, & Richie Flores Clinic

3:02 Waiting to start

3:06 Pearl rep out to introduce the performers. Plugs gear. All three guys endorse different cymbals: Sabian, Zildjian, and Paiste. He’s talking way too much of the Reference kit. They are in the shimmer of Oz finish. Now bios about the players.

3:08 Players take the stage and launch into an up trading drum solos piece. Ameen and Carballo trade licks. Flores is obviously the director as he uses conga licks and roll-offs to send the trio into different directions. Wow! Hoe does someone play that fast on the congas?! He directs both players to play diferent clave patterns and he solos in between them.  Each player takes turns soloing in between the claves.  They trade 32nds between each other – drum kit to congas to drum kit.  Ameen has kept a rhumba clave with his left foot (on a cowbell)under the solo this entire time!  Carballo, being the youngest, seems to be about heat and double kick around the kick.

3:22 They slow down the groove into a swing-style piece. Ameen and Carballo trade 4s.  Ameen is more about taste than Carballo seems to be .  Flores steps in with a fast, melodic conga solo as the drummers swing under it.

3:26 From the mic, Flores directs them to play a straight-ahead, funk thing.  Ameen swings but superimposes a backbeat funk groove.  It seems like they don’t really know what’s going on.  Flores is trying to direct Carballo to do something, but I don’t think he gets it.  The thing sounds like it’s about to fall apart.  The settle into a full on funk groove while stopping time at the end of the phrase before punching back in.

3:29 While still continuing the groove, Carballo takes a solo.  It’s mad chops.  Flores waves Ameen off and Carballo is free to solo untimed.  More double bass chops.  He lays down a fat groove in 7 before launching back into heat around the toms or kick.  Flores now directs Ameen to take a solo.  He keeps foot ostinatos going while blowing heat.  Flores enters with conga heat.  Carballo comes back in and and keeps groove.  All take turn playing solos.  It seems most of these solos consist of going as fast you can up and down the instruments.  Now the players and bouncing bursts of 32nds between each other and end with a unison lick.

3:37 Ameen takes the mic
Ameen: We’ve never actually played together except last night on tables … until they told us to stop!  With Afro-Cuban and Latin music  you can keep layering things on top of it.  What were doing was really playing off of the clave.  We were using the clave as our basis, as a time shifte to get to different tempos and feels.

Flores: Can I explain to about Salsa music? (Demonstrates different salsa paterns on the conga and adds triplets and double time to the pattern. He then splits up up among 2, 3, 4, and 5 congas.)

Carballo: This is the first time I get to perform with 2 drummers in one setting.  It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of chemistry to have to keep time.

Flores: Questions?

Q: For Carballo, where did you learn to play?  The street?
Carballo: I learned a lot in the street.  I also have a church background, but it’s definitely a lot from the street.

3:44 Play another piece.  Starts with huge syncopated, unison licks before setling into a 6/8 Afro-Cuban-esque groove.  There is so much happening on stage, it’s really hard to comprehend it all.  Ameen is laying down another clave cowbell and going on top of that, Flores is going berserk on the congas, and Carballo is hammering away on the HH.  The piece ends with a unison lick that obvioulsy Carballo doesn’t know ad he is reigned to sitting quietly as Flores and Ameen bash away.

3:50 Thank yous and it’s over.