Monday, March 26, 2012

Playing For a Cause + Clark Terry Benefit

One supposes a name like Rick Drumm is a "stage name";  after all, he is a musician who plays the drums.  Mr. Drumm's day job is President of D'Addario & Company, manufacturer of D’Addario guitar, bass and violin strings, Evans Drumheads, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, Rico Reeds, Puresound percussion products and Planet Waves accessories.  He had been a member of a fusion band in the mid-70s (along with guitarist Fred Hamilton and trombonist Mike Brumbaugh - more on them later) and continued to play, even as he worked.  In 2009, Drumm was diagnosed with cancer and, thankfully, after undergoing chemotherapy, the disease is in remission.  In August of 2010, Drumm went into the studio and the results can be heard on "Rick Drumm and Fatty Necrosis: Return from the Unknown" (self-released.)  Besides Hamilton and Brumbaugh, the ensemble features Corey Christianson (electric guitar), John Benitez (electric bass), Axel Tosca Laugart (keyboards), Frank Catalano (tenor saxophone) and Pete Grimaldi (trumpet). Right from the opening notes of "Fatty Necrosis Sings the Blues" (great title, although the term "fatty necrosis" refers to dead tissue left behind in the body after cancer treatment), one can hear that the ensemble is still playing "fusion", but there is as music jazz as funk;  the music as sections that really swing and others that burn.  Drumm's kit is "up in the mix" but he's a sensitive player, not heavy on the bass drum.  Benitez's bass is the real bottom in this music with his rumbling, full-toned, notes supporting the ensemble.  The program moves easily from the impressionistic, softer, tones of "Gentle Spirit" (fine trombone from Brumbaugh) to the rollicking attack of "Indi Funk" (love the way the group spreads the solo interjections around.) The interplay of the guitar and keys on the opening of "Just A Drop" is a sly lead-in to a hard-edged tune that features a sparkling acoustic piano and an impressive, melodic, turn from Benitez.  "Detours" is the longest track (10:09), a rambling ride that opens slowly but soon drops into a rhythmic pace not unlike the early Allman Brothers Band.  Everyone but Grimaldi, Benitez and Drumm gets to solo as the piece rumbles with the guitarists really wailing. The CD closes on "Return", a ballad that opens quietly with guitar and saxophone sharing the melodic work; soon, the intensity builds up in the percussion while Catalano responds with an emotional solo.  The piece "returns" to its more serene beginnings to fade out.

With the release of "Detours", Rick Drumm celebrates creativity, music and life.  25% of all the proceeds from the sale of this CD goes to Strike A Chord, "a registered charity in Australia and the USA that supports seriously ill and disadvantaged children who need inspiration and a distraction from their illness."  To find out more, go to  To find out more about how to purchase this CD, go to

As many of know, the great trumpeter and educator Clark Terry has had several surgeries to deal with complications from diabetes, the latest the amputation of his left leg on February 23 of this year.  His wife Gwen has kept the Clark in touch with the world via her blog on and it's good to read he is home and in good spirits.

On April 23, there will be a "Fundraising Concert for Clark Terry" at 7 p.m. in Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue in New York City. Suggested donation is $25 at the door or, if you cannot be there, you can send a donation. Checks should be written to Jazz Foundation of America with “Clark Terry account” in the memo line and mailed to the JFA at 322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY.  Mr. Terry, who turned 91 in December, has been a great ambassador for the music, appeared on over 900 Lps or CDs, and mentored numerous young musicians.  Let's do something for this great human being who has given so many music lovers so much good music to enjoy.  

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