Contemporary Jazz

Welcome To Groove Class

13 APR 10 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Considering that he travels internationally to teach the globally popular drumming techniques of his native New Orleans, it's only natural that veteran skin master Stanton Moore's latest Telarc release Groove Alchemy would mix business with pleasure.

Complementing the 12-track set featuring jams with B-3 great Robert Walter and guitarist Will Bernard -- Moore's partners in crime on his two previous Telarc dates Stanton Moore III (2006) and Emphasis! (On Parenthesis) (2008) -- is a multi-media presentation including an instructional book and DVD. You'll be having so much fun grooving that you may not even know that Moore is offering a souped up history lesson. All three elements of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield and Zigaboo Modeliste. These may not be household names, but their impact on '60s soul as rhythm section anchors of James Brown's band (Starks, Stubblefield) and The Meters (Modeliste) is unmistakable.

Moore in turn traces the influences of these masters back to the grooves popping out of Nawlins in the earlier part of the 20th century. Funk fans don't have to take a midterm. Moore says it's cool to just enjoy the ride. But he's insistent that drummers who stop in should know how he came up with these beats and get a better grip on where they came from -- hence, the instructional portion of the presentation. His digs into the history of New Orleans sounds are an extension of his love of the city. Like much of the music that defines pre- and post-Katrina, Groove Alchemy features a rich emotional range from up-tempo Mardi Gras festive to melancholy and even dark and haunting.