Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Groove Transcription - Roger Hawkins, "Back Door Santa"

As this is TDB’s first Christmas, I thought it only right to present a festive post.

We all know and love this Yuletide classic. 

But many aren’t familiar with the history behind it.  The opening groove and horn line is a sample from a Clarence Carter record called “Back Door Santa”.

In typical Carter form the lyrics are a little on the raunchy side and don’t really have much to do with Christmas, but the important thing here is the drummer, who happens to be none other than the great Roger Hawkins.

Hawkins is one of the original members of The Swampers - better known simply as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section - one of the most successful and recognizable rhythm sections of all time.  He has appeared on many hundreds of recordings including Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Chain of Fools”, The Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There”, Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”, and Bob Segar’s “Old Time Rock & Roll”.

Here’s the intro and a practice loop to “Back Door Santa”, as well as the breakdown for your holiday practice session.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Dig This - Pat Martino Trio live at Lotos Jazz Festival

A couple years back I had the great pleasure of seeing this trio up close and personal at Ronnie Scott's in London.  

Prior to the show I hadn't actually spent much time listening to Martino's work.  I was mostly familiar with his illness and remarkable recovery story.  Martino suffered a brain aneurysm in 1980, and after two brain surgeries was left with almost no recollection of his family, friends, or who he was, let alone how to play the guitar.  He rebuilt his career from the ground up, and learned how to play again by listening to his own records.

I had some friends coming to visit me in London, and they wanted to see a show at Ronnie's, so I figured, cool, why not check out Pat Martino?  That night ended up being one of those nights where you don't even notice the crowd around you, the waitress walking by, or the fact that your drink has gotten completed watered down.  I simply sat mesmerized and enjoyed the hell out of this SWINGIN' trio.

With Martino were Pat Bianchi on the B3 and Carmen Intorre on the drums.  Pat Bianchi came dangerously close to stealing the whole show.  His left hand alone was better than many bass players, all while playing intense solo lines with his right.  I'm surprised we don't see more of this guy, to be honest.

On the drums, Carmen Intorre wasn't particularly unique or inventive, but he swung his ass off.  Carmen has obviously done his homework.  Besides have a killer feel that locked in beautifully with Bianchi's bass lines, his solo vocabulary was classic.  Nothing all that flashy, but never for a second could the time not be felt, which is more than we can say for a lot of players today.

So, enjoy.  I'm sure there'll be some transcriptions coming from this in the future as well.