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Snare Drum / Multi-Percussion Solos and Duets

Garage Drummer

multi-percussion solo with soundscape
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Composer: James Campbell
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Horizontal bass drum (20”-24”), medium-low tom, medium-high tom, snare drum, bongos, small suspended cymbal (splash or trash), resonant “trashy” metal (opera gong), crotales (low octave preferred), a bass bow, dry cowbell.

Program Notes:
Garage Drummer was inspired by my memories of rock band jam sessions (commonly known as garage bands) held in various household basements and garages during my career. The occupants of the host household, at first, notice little more than random noises and feedback seeping through the walls of their living room. As the jam session unfolds, the drummer’s experiments with sounds, grooves, and fills increase with confidence and join a cacophony of wild guitar, bass, and keyboard riffs. As usual, the drummer not only ends up driving the band, but also drives the occupants out of the house! I have to say that I’ve served on both ends of the experience as a drummer and a parent. Garage Drummer won first place in the 2005 PAS Composition Contest and was premiered by Rob Parks (JBC).

"“Garage Drummer” was the winning composition for the 2005 PAS Composition Contest for a multiple percussion solo with CD accompaniment. In the program notes, Campbell says this work was inspired by various experiences playing jam sessions with rock bands in garages and household basements. “Garage Drummer” is scored for a quasi drumset of bass drum, two toms, snare drum, bongos, cowbell, splash cymbal, gong and crotales.

The work starts rather sparsely with the performer and CD exchanging tame riffs. These exchanges become gradually more linked together until a driving sixteenth-note groove is established in the soundscape, providing an underpinning for the drummer to lay down some licks with bundle sticks. Rather than bombard the listener with extremely fast notes, Campbell uses exquisite phrased sixteenth notes in groups of five, seven and nine to cut across the meter. One of the most interesting sections of the work features a static sixteenth ostinato that is frequently interrupted by killer grooves in the quasi-drumset. The work returns to the sparse material from the opening section as a short coda, but allows the drummer one last eight-bar stiff groove to close the piece.

“Garage Drummer” will appeal to all percussionists who got their start playing grooves on the drumset. It is one of the most fun and well-written multiple percussion works in recent years.” — Scott Herring Percussive Notes, April 2006

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Related Artists

James Campbell James Campbell
University of Kentucky
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