One would have serious doubts whether the Rashid Medical Library auditorium has, in its existence to date, ever hosted a musician of the pedigree and caliber of American jazz fusion drumming legend Dave Weckl. The privileged few who attended the Dave Weckl Yamaha drum workshop and demonstration organised by Thomsun Trading Establishment, recently, surely went home awestruck, though musically enlightened and educated.
Having played with jazz greats such as Chick Corea, George Benson, Mike Stern, Diana Ross as well as greats like Paul Simon, Weckl was duly rewarded with his induction in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2000. Born in St. Louis Missouri, Dave came from a family that loved music and started drumming from the early age of eight. His father played the piano.
Dressed in a black tee and jeans, the 55-year-old drummer commenced his workshop demonstrating the finer nuances of the techniques of drumming, which he gracefully attributed to his teacher and guru, the late Freddie Gruber. He went on to explain how he watched, listened and was inspired by styles of drumming, adopted by legends, such as Buddy Rich, Zigaboo, Steve Gadd and Tony Williams and how he went on to incorporate some of those, in his styles of play.
He proceeded to answer questions on techniques, optimum drum set position, drummer's body position and drum sound production. Something as elementary as a stick position in a drummer's hands and the relevant effect it has on delivering sounds on contact with the snare drum, was a revelation to the few amateur and pro drummers in the audience. He offered further insights into his mindset on drum solos and correlated the expression of his playing to that of a verbal question and answer session. Setting one's goals and objectives along with religious practice was mandatory for a learning drummer to evolve progressively, he reckoned.
Ironically, this genius called himself "a boring drummer" simply because he considered that he belonged to the old school of drumming and was a "purist". However, jazz aficionados in the audience would rather allude to his dynamic and diverse style of jazz and fusion drumming that featured a wide range of syncopation, rhythm and expression that was on full display on the Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple kit, to the accompaniment of his prerecorded drum backing tracks.
Finally, the audience was privileged to have a patient Dave Weckl willingly sign autographs and pose for individual clicks at the end of the event. Upon leaving the venue, one defining statement by the legend put the recent Paris tragedy into perspective, "If every person in this world was a musician, there would be no terror in this world".
If these words couldn't leave a lasting impression on our minds, we guess nothing else could. Take a bow Dave Weckl.
By Constance Moraes
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