john blackwell


DVD Review – John Blackwell: Master Series


     John Blackwell is the third in the HMMS (Hudson Music Master Series) line-up and unfortunately it’s much the same as his first DVD. Like I said last time, John Blackwell is one of the best drummers of his kind today, but he is not a good teacher or clinician. It pains me to say this but if you watched his first DVD then you pretty much have already seen this DVD. This DVD has more and longer music and it has special guest Marcus Williams. It has more stories about touring with guys like Prince, it has more printable pdfs (which are very nice) but for all intents and purposes it’s the same DVD. It covers the exact same topics as his last DVD but the thing is that he doesn’t cover it much better then he did the first time around. 
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New John Blackwell DVD from Hudson

Source: Harmony Central

Hudson Music announces the latest addition to its Master Series of drum instruction DVDs – John Blackwell: Master Series. The third title in the popular series features one of today’s top R&B drummers and showcases the playing that has earned him the drum chair with such high-profile artists as Justin Timberlake and Prince as well as international acclaim in his own right.

The three-hour DVD is divided into two main sections. In the first section, Blackwell performs with an all-star band and then explains and demonstrates the drum parts. Not only does the master drummer discuss the way the song and groove evolved along with the specific techniques that are involved in the performance, he demonstrates the patterns at normal and slow speeds to provide students with a deeper, fuller understanding of the parts and their musical context.

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Tony Royster, Jr. Moves to Sabian


It’s been a busy few months for endorsements as John Blackwell and Chris Layton moved to Zildjian. It looks like Sabian has just secured drumming prodigy, Tony Royster, Jr.

“HHX cymbals are my sound,” commented Royster. “I love the smooth responses of the Evolutions, the hot tone of the Xtreme and Legacy crashes, and the multi-hole design and wicked sound of the O-Zone, which is the real kicker! With SABIAN I’ve found a great range of sounds that cover everything from hip-hop and heavy metal to jazz and fusion. I didn’t know it before, but I know it now; SABIAN has it all.”

Added Christian Stankee, SABIAN artist relations manager (USA): “Tony Royster Jr. is one of the hottest young drummers on the planet. Not only can he play, he can groove, which is why he’s so popular at drumming events and, even at his young age, he’s playing serious gigs such as Jay Z. Tony is a great modern drummer and a perfect player for SABIAN.”

Who can forget Tony’s 12 yr-old video clip?



DVD Review – John Blackwell: Technique, Grooving, and Showmanship


John Blackwell Jr’s DVD was one of Hudson Music’s first “High End” DVDs. Double disk, tons of special features, great camera work, shot at Bear Tracks studios in upstate New York. You know, the high end ones. It was the first Hudson Music DVD I ever owned (I have since given it to goodwill) and it was also one of the worst drum instructional I’ve ever owned. Now before you start throwing things at your computer screen, just hear me out. This isn’t a knock on John Blackwell as a drummer or as a musician. He is awesome as both… but he just wasn’t good at teaching in this DVD. He might be a lot better now or better in different settings but he just wasn’t good at communicating or teaching in this DVD.

It’s a crying shame because he’s definitely got a lot of things that I would love to learn from him. For example his Bass Drum technique is awesome. We’re talking Jojo Mayer and above level of playing with his right foot. But he basically says “I’m rocking the foot but not sliding it, now watch.” He then proceeds to blow your mind with the awesomeness of his right foot. He then plays a couple of grooves that show you that this stuff can be used in a musical context… then he moves on. AAARHHHGGGHHH!!! It’s like watching a magic trick. You see him do it but you don’t know how! Anyways, seeing as I went into the technique section I might as well cover all of them right quick… and “right quick” is really all I need. Read more

John Blackwell and Chris Layton Now with Big Z

I’m not sure how this shook down, but according to, both John Blackwell and Chris Layton have left Sabian and are now endorsing Zildjian cymbals.

Commented Chris Layton: “I’m very excited to be playing Zildjian Cymbals. After trying some of the Armand Series cymbals Mitch Mitchell was using last year on the Experience Hendrix Tour, I found myself searching for the sound I started out with, which led me to Zildjian.”

John Blackwell commented, “I’ve always loved Zildjians – my dad always played A Zildjians, so I grew up playing them. After hearing the crispness of the Hybrids and other lines like K Constantinople and the Armand Series, I was hooked. And the people at Zildjian are like family.”

I’d guess the Sabian folks are none too happy, and I wonder if they have to give all those Sabian cymbals back?

Drummer Talk 11/17/2005 – PASIC 2005 Recap (Part II)

PASIC Recap Part 2 (of 3) and we discuss the John Blackwell, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Jason Bittner, Akira Jimbo, and Terry Silverlight clinics, as well as talk to Trick Drums and DKDT listener, Jerod Phillips!