SCI’s Jason Hann Tells Us His Top 10 Favorite Percussionists

first_imgWith The String Cheese Incident set to make their debut at the renowned Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, NY (tickets), we asked percussionist Jason Hann to give us a little taste of his musical influences. In turn, Hann wrote out a list of his ten favorite percussionists, spanning genres, eras, countries and more. No stranger to the rhythms of the road, Hann has been an integral part of Cheese’s iconic sound, and his work in EOTO, with Isaac Hayes an the legendary Brothers Johnson only furthers his love of percussion-based music. Read on for Jason Hann’s ten favorite percussionists, and be sure to enter the contest below to win tickets for their upcoming run at the Kings Theatre from August 13-14!Indigenous percussion instruments are a lifetime of study in order to incorporate the history and breadth of expression that these instruments can produce. A percussion instrument is really any object you can pick up, but many modern percussionists might take random sounds and play them in a way that fits into film scores, sound design, and avant guard music. I didn’t include any vibraphone or marimba artists in this list, as it’s so specific, melodically, I felt like I would have had to include piano players as well. My favorite part about percussion is that you can go to any region in the world and chances are, they have a unique percussive instrument that has a deep history to it. Many of these places are creating their own voice and bringing it to the rest of the world as they combine their rich heritage with modern forms of music. Not ranked in any order, and far from any complete list…Don Alias – he’s my favorite percussionist, if anyone needs a quick answer. I remember when I was first starting to pay attention to percussion on recordings, I would hear something and run to the album cover to look at the musician credits. Don Alias’ name would always come up. Such great parts and vibe on everything, and his interaction with the music while grooving always felt like the most musical for my taste. You can hear him on Jaco and Miles Davis recordings, and he also plays some of the grooviest drumset playing you’ll ever hear on Joni Mitchell’s “Shadows and Light” live recording. Check out Jaco Pastorius’ “Word of Mouth” recording to hear a great example of his playing. Giovanni Hidalgo – Puerto Rican percussionist taking conga technique to levels way beyond the original style of the instrument. But that’s what master drummers do. He learned to apply drum rudiments to the congas from José Luis Quintana (Changuito) – the famous and most innovative congero from Cuba – and has continued to add new techniques to his repertoire. Known for being on Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum recordings as well, but maybe introduced to most of the world while touring with Dizzy Gillespie.Zakir Hussain – virtuoso tabla player from India, the son of another legendary Indian percussionist, Alla Rakha. One thing about tabla players who play music for a living, there is already a stunning amount of technique and depth of rhythmic phrasing that you need just to accompany another classical player or dancer. To achieve a level of mastery and push beyond the language of the instrument is something Zakir has done. You can hear him on Diga Rhythm Band, Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, and Shakti recordings. His work with Tabla Beat Science (Bill Laswell) puts tablas in a modern dub setting. Aloke Dutta is another tabla player that pushes tabla to new mastery levels. He only plays solo tabla as there was a time in the early 1900s when playing tabla in India was revered as a lead instrument of India, more so than the Sitar. Aloke is more known as the tabla teacher to amazing drummers like Terry Bozio (Frank Zappa) and Danny Carey of Tool. He has done some solo performances opening for Tool.Assane Thiam – the Tama drum is one of the lesser known percussion instruments in the West. It has lots of strings that attach 2 heads of a drum onto a body of a drum. It’s held under the armpit or by the drummer’s waste. The strings are squeezed with one arm to change the tension and pitch of the drumhead, while the other strikes the head with a curved stick, and imitates the language of the region that it is played. It’s more commonly known as a “talking drum”, though there are many styles of “talking drums” such as the larger, lower, melodic drums of Ghana and Nigeria that you would hear in music by such artists as King Sunny Ade. Assane Thiam plays the Tama “Talking Drum” in the style that they play in Senegal, Mali, and Gambia. It’s a smaller drum with amazing hi pitched articulation that can cut through the loudest of Sabar (traditional drums) drums of Senegal. Assane has released his own recordings which feature the Tama, but he can be mostly widely heard on the recordings of famous Senegalese singer, Youssou N’Dour. The clarity he displays on the Tama within a band or traditional setting is unparalleled for my ears. It’s like a musical guide for the drums to follow. Check out his solo recording “Li Tama Di Joy Wax La” if you can find it. I also got to see Tama player, Petit Madou, from Mali play a 30-minute solo tama party at the Festival in the Dessert in Mali, that had the whole Malian community dancing and singing with his every phrase. He plays with Habib Koite.Naná Vasconcelos -a true soundscape master of sonic expression from Brazil. When I think of his playing, I can see the story he’s telling. It’s always a story. He creates moods with sounds and takes me through the forests, along the rivers, sitting with the tribes. His main instrument is the Berimbau, which has a long stick connected to a gourd with wire and played with a smooth stone in one hand to control the pitch, while a smaller stick strikes the wire, and controls the resonating gourd by bringing it to the body to give it a “wah wah” effect. One of my favorite recordings he plays on is “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls” by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. His “Africadeus” recording from 1973 is one of those “turn the lights out” recordings that you’ll want to spend time with.Airto Moreira – another Brazilian percussionist. Seems like Brazilian percussionists, in particular, have this sound quest that always goes beyond the drums that are featured in their indigenous or popular Carnival settings. Airto just swims in all of the instruments and sounds from the region – that includes the sounds of the Amazon rain forest. He’s combining his voice along with sounds, and instruments and always creates an entire percussion section on his own, whether he’s playing percussion or combining it with drumset. Everything he picks up is another expression played with fluidity or recklessness, depending on the moment he’s creating. All sounds are fair game: bird calls, shakers, tree branches, pandeiro, surdo, repinique, caixa. Having been with Miles Davis, Weather Report, and Chick Corea’s Return to Forever project, Airto is one of the most influential percussionists by far.Paulinho Da Costa – from Brazil, maybe the most recorded percussionist of all time. You probably hear him playing on something at some point in your day. He’s played on over 2000 albums and over 150 films. From films like Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park, to modern TV shows like American Horror Story. I remember before I was playing percussion, I would pick out his parts that would jump out on Michael Jackson’s debut “Off The Wall” recording. The way his percussion parts were arranged in that setting was sooooo deep for me. Lots of parts that just added to the groove and never got in the way of other parts. Just about every album I checked out the liner notes on, I would see his name. When I actually started playing percussion, I went back to all of those records and listened with a more sensitive ear to what he was doing. He’s also played on Miles Davis recordings, all of the Michael Jackson recordings, Madonna…really too many to list. All Music Guide has him with over 900 artists playing all styles of music.Kim Duk Soo – from Korea. At the age of five he was getting awards from the the Korean president for his performance of traditional drumming from Korea. If you haven’t seen Korean drumming it’s one of the most incredible visual and rhythmic treats. the drums are hourglass shaped Janggu, strapped in to be played horizontally with drum heads on each side, played with sticks. The technique crosses sticks across the drum, while the drummer moves their head in a circular pattern to note the breathing cycle that is their method of keeping time. You know that you’re inside of the music if your head pattern allows a 5-foot ribbon attached to your hat to do circular and figure 8 patterns while you play. All of this while dancing at the same time. This dance also involves all of the drummers whirling and doing flips while everything else is going on…and Kim Duk Soo single handily brought this traditional farmers music to the world stage. Shunned as “music of the farmers” and not considered valuable to cosmopolitan Korea, Kim Duk Soo made it so popular in Korea again through his group SamulNori, that colleges continue to have national competitions the way the US has Drum and Bugle Corps competition between elite marching bands. I was fortunate to go study in Korea with Kim Duk Soo in 2 different years and participate in his international drumming competition.Manolo Bedrena – from Puerto Rico. My dad was always playing Weather Report records when I was young. Badrena is on almost all of the different eras of that band. There’s so much about his playing that I love. The way he jumps into phrases, does a certain thing that seems to move the whole band to the next level. You can almost hear the band react to certain things that he does, and it feels right. I wasn’t sure if I was just making that up in my head but I got to see him with Joe Zawinul’s band in the mid 2000s and, watching his interaction with other musicians, it confirmed so many things that I pictured from listening to the recordings. He has such a creative way of having one hand in the world of congas, while his other hand plays timbales and bells at the same time, whether there’s a stick in his hand or not. Super musical at all times. In those settings with Zawinul, Weather Report, or Sixun where he can be creative with no rules on how a type of music is traditionally played, is some of my favorite playing.Djembe – Ha. I just wanted to list this as an instrument and list different players to look up. You can do a similar thing for any percussion instrument. You can follow recordings for the conga drum back to the 1930s and there were moments in American culture where percussionists like Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria had an incredible influence on popular music in the US through the conga drum. It’s really in just the last 20 years that the djembe drum has spread to the rest of the world, with it’s largest impact in the US being mostly seen at drum circles, while the culture of serious study that supports it is much greater, but not as often seen. It seems like every 5 years, though, I hear another evolution of phrase and technique on the instrument. There weren’t many recordings to check out when I was younger. I would order from overseas music catalogs to get all of the Les Ballets Africans, Mamady Keita, and Famadou Konate recordings. Now, there’s a ridiculous amount of resources for hearing new djembe music coming out of that area of West Africa (Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal) as well as hearing players that have moved to the US. Some of the players that have made me rethink what’s possible on the Djembe are Moussa Traore (Mali), Bassidi Koné (Mali), Sidiki Dembele (Ivory Coast) …so many more on the list. Weedie Braimah (US/Ghana) is part of the new generation that’s taking it to another level.I’d also like to address some players that play the smaller, middle eastern/North African, goblet shaped drums known by names such as Doumbek, Darbuka, Darabukkeh, Tombak and Tablah (not to be confused with the pair of drums from India called “tablas”). Hossam Ramzy might be one of the most well recorded of these artists, releasing many solo recordings of middle eastern percussion, as well as playing with Robert Plant during his exploration of Middle Eastern music. You can see these drums as usually the smaller and lighter drums at a drum circle that look like mini djembes, but the traditional/classical way of playing these instruments is as deep as any other instrument can get. The traditions of these instruments go back to 1100 BCE with a continued evolution by younger generations. The finger and snap techniques on these drums are so intricate in getting so much expression out of the drum. Check out artists such as BURHAN ÖÇAL (Darbuka), ‪Erdem Dalkiran (Darbuka), Misirli Ahmet (Darbuka), Mohammad Mortazavi (Tombek), and the young Servan Gider (Darbuka).Win two tickets to see The String Cheese Incident at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, NY by entering the contest below!last_img read more

Missing From State Plans to Distribute the Coronavirus Vaccine: Money to Do It

first_imgThe C.D.C. advisory group has also stressed the importance of a campaign to persuade the public to take the vaccine, noting that messages were likely to be more effective if they came from community leaders than from the federal government. North Carolina says its campaign will use “photos, video, and personal testimony of celebrities, leaders of historically marginalized populations, and other trusted messengers receiving vaccine as early adopters.” As soon as the F.D.A. approves a vaccine, the C.D.C.’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to issue recommendations, already in the works, on how it should be distributed. It will almost certainly say that health care workers should be the group with the highest priority for vaccination, followed by essential service workers, people with high-risk medical conditions and those older than 65.But states will be allowed flexibility within those guidelines; Maryland, for example, plans to include its prison and jail populations in its “Phase 1” priority group. State officials also have to figure out whom to focus on within priority populations if they get less vaccine than they need.During the C.D.C. advisory committee’s meeting last month, some members said they wanted to ensure that information about any safety problems would be made public quickly. The Department of Health and Human Services has said its goal is to start shipping a vaccine within a day of F.D.A. authorization. Until now, the F.D.A. and the C.D.C. have maintained one data system for patients or providers to report bad reactions to vaccines. They plan to supplement that system with a smartphone-based tool that checks in with individuals who have been vaccinated to see whether they have had any health problems.- Advertisement – Record-keeping requirements will also be an overwhelming task, officials said. The C.D.C. wants to track, in real time, the age, sex, race and ethnicity of everyone who is vaccinated — states usually provide such data quarterly, at best — so it can analyze how well the vaccination campaign is going among different demographic groups day by day and make adjustments if certain populations or regions have low vaccination rates. The C.D.C., which holds frequent planning calls with state and local health officials, is also still working on persuading states to hand over the personal data of their citizens. In its data use agreement with the states, the agency has requested each vaccine recipient’s name, date of birth, address, race, ethnicity and certain medical history.“States have never had to report that to the federal government,” said J.T. Lane, the chief population health and innovation officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, adding that his organization was seeking clarity on exactly how the information would be used. In particular, the organization’s members worry that the information could be used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to track undocumented immigrants.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

‘We are at war’: France imposes lockdown to combat virus

first_imgAnyone flouting the restrictions, in place for at least the next two weeks, would be punished.”I know what I am asking of you is unprecedented but circumstances demand it,” Macron said.”We’re not up against another army or another nation. But the enemy is right there: invisible, elusive, but it is making progress.”He said tougher action was needed after too many people ignored earlier warnings and mingled in parks and on street corners over the weekend, risking their own health and the wellbeing of others. In France the coronavirus has killed 148 people and infected more than 6,600.Army mobilizedUnder the new measures, soldiers would help transport the sick to hospitals with spare capacity and a military hospital with 30 intensive care beds would be set up in the eastern region of Alsace, where one of the largest infection clusters has broken out.Macron said he was postponing the second round of local elections on Sunday. Because the government’s sole focus needed to be fighting the pandemic, he said he was suspending his reform agenda, starting with his overhaul of the pension system.The government would, when necessary, legislate by decree to fight the coronavirus, he said.Coronavirus infections and fatalities in France and Spain have been surging at a pace just days behind that of Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe where hospitals in the worst-hit northern regions are stretched to breaking point.Seeking to offer further reassurance to businesses, Macron said the government would guarantee 300 billion euros worth of loans. The loan guarantee plan would be submitted to parliament in coming weeks and would be retroactive, a finance ministry source said.Rent and utility bills owed by small companies would also be suspended to help them weather the economic storm, he added.”No French company, whatever its size, will be exposed to the risk of collapse,” Macron said.  French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and said the army would be drafted in to help move the sick to hospitals.France had already shut down restaurants and bars, closed schools and put ski resorts off limits, but Macron said measures unprecedented in peacetime were needed as the number of infected people doubled every three days and deaths spiraled higher.In a somber address to the nation, the president said that from Tuesday midday (1100 GMT) people should stay at home unless it was to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or for medical care.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Breakthrough in the Horizon, Sports Finally Get Attention at Nigerian Economic…

first_imgBy Kenneth EzagaToday in Abuja key players in the sports industry will take to the stage at the Nigerian Economic Summit to articulate the nationwide economic and socio-cultural impact of sports. Listening will be an audience comprising the leading lights in the nation’s public and private sectors.The local sports industry has struggled for attention and investments since the turn of the century, but recent developments suggest that things may be changing. Less than a fortnight ago the Nigerian football hierarchy also met with the national economic management team headed by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. It is the first time there has been this level of engagement between the leading sports players and the nation’s top economic brains. Hopefully they find common ground as sports have an almost infinite power to add real gross value to the GDP of nations. The economic bounce at the weekend in Uyo when the Super Eagles clashed with Zambia to seal their 2018 World Cup place, tells a story that can be replicated every weekend in towns and cities across the country. There was increased business for airlines, hotels, food outlets, beverages, local transportation, media, banks and more.It has to be more than mere coincidence that the world’s leading economic giants are countries that also invest heavily in sports. Indeed, of the top seven finishers at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – the USA, England, China, Russia, Germany, Japan, and France, six were among the globe’s seven largest economies. Africa’s leading economy, South Africa, is also by far the biggest investor in sports on the continent.In fact, IEG, the global authority on sponsorship, says sports events hold the largest market share of global sponsorship dollars, accounting for a whopping 66%, followed by entertainment and attractions which accounts for a mere 11%.There are different reasons why progressive countries prioritise sports: one is the industry’s ability to create jobs across a broad spectrum of society, and the other is its power to unify nations locally while inspiring immense national pride on the international stage. The latter can be seen in the never-ending battles for superiority among leading nations like the United States, Russia, China, and others. Some dub this the ‘sports arms race’.Let’s quickly examine how a sports culture creates wealthier societies. First, by helping to unify a people sports aggregate their strengths and inspires passion to achieve much more together than in polarized societies like Nigeria. Secondly, sports help people lead healthier and more disciplined lifestyles. Healthy and disciplined people achieve more at school and at work.Ours is a country in dire need of a sustainable sports culture. It is surprising that sports does not have a place in the government’s 2017-2020 economic recovery and growth plan. Early post-independent Nigeria was different, we had a rich sports culture. This was reflected in government’s massive investments in the industry in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, the majority of the sports assets we have as a country today was built during that time, and at the time our facilities could compete with some of the best in the world. Back then our economy was also strong and it can be argued that domestic sports played its part as they were popular and generated a lot of economic activity.While most countries transformed their sports industries from the mid-1990s, ours lost critical support, leading to most of the facilities becoming rundown and outdated. Virtually all our stadiums, including the recently-built ones, are lacking the contemporary spectator-engagement facilities commonplace around the world today. In reality Nigeria is still some distance from handing sports entirely to the private sector, so government must continue to lead. Government leading the industry, however, is not entirely the same as government doling out free money to unprofessional crony administrators. There is a need for policies that encourage symbiotic public-private sector partnerships.In this regard we must applaud the recent bold efforts of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to shore up support for domestic sports. The minister’s call for local brands sponsoring foreign sports to pay a 30 per cent tax on their investment value for the development of the local alternative is a brilliant example of how government can, and should, lead. Some countries have even tighter controls over protecting their local industry. Only recently Chinese authorities sanctioned their football clubs paying lavish sums for foreign players to pay 100 per cent tax on any such contract, for the development of the local game.Some think that government should stop supporting sports financially under the mistaken notion that that is what happens in the developed nations. For all the financial success of English football, for instance, the British government still provides up to 30-40m pounds (N14-19b) to the FA to support the development of the local game every year. Hear the UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch threaten the FA with the withdrawal of financial support in 2016 over slow reforms: “We’ve made it clear that all sports governing bodies have to reform their governance codes,” she told BBC’s Sportsweek. “The FA is not excluded from that and, if they don’t, they won’t get public funding. It’s as simple as that. I could not be more clear about how I want to see governing bodies perform. The FA gets between £30-£40 million of funding and that can go elsewhere.”To be fair the Nigerian government already invests a bit in sports, but there is a need to not only significantly increase the investment, but to professionalize this support. Government’s investment must be made more transparent, with clear targets set that should drive enterprise. The economic team must see this as key to its plans for a post-oil economy. There is no better way to engage our exploding population of poorly-educated, poorly-skilled and unemployed youth. From the grassroots through schools and the professional class, this can create direct jobs for many like athletes and sports competitors; coaches and scouts; umpires, referees, and other sports officials; entertainers and performers; gaming and sports book writers and runners; agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes.More people will be off the streets and working; earning wages and boosting purchasing power. To get some perspective on this, in 2012 when South Africa was thinking its football future, then CEO of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Robin Petersen showed how football alone engaged three million people. According to the Brand South Africa website, Petersen was at the time “looking at new ways to fund development, so that the 330 local football associations, the 20000 clubs and the three-million players in South Africa, as well as schools, will become a breeding ground for new talent.”That figure would probably be closer to 15 million players in Nigeria. Government would do well to mandate giant parastatals to invest in sports. Behemoths like the NNPC, CBN, NCC, NIMASA, NPA, FAAN, should be made to invest a billion or two in the industry annually. Many of these organizations waste billions in corporate gifts like diaries, calendars, branded items, etc. Put the money in sports and put more Nigerians to productive work. Major private firms, especially our conglomerates and banks, should also be encouraged to do same through tax rebates and protection from unscrupulous administrators.2019 is around the corner and this government can expected tough questions about how their programmes have directly affected the lives of the common man. Sports will be a great way to create a “feel good” factor while putting many to work in a short time. It will also be a great way to unite the country. 1n 1995 Nelson Mandela turned to sports to try and heal his country’s deep divisions. Now more than ever Nigeria needs to borrow a leaf from the great leader.*Ezaga is a marketing communications professional, promoter of the Nigerian Tennis Majors and a THISDAY on Saturday columnist.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more