Jeff Porcaro

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Julia Stoff

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doesn't end here
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On the
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prasa > Modern Drummer, 1988

Modern Drummer, 1988

Jeff Porcaro

Star Licks Master Series

Rick Van Horn

This is one of the best, most unpretentious videos I've run across in a long time. Its quality is derived from the fact that Jeff Porcaro keeps the subject matter limited to what he does as well as or better than anybody else around: locking down a groove in a musical and interesting manner. Jeff adds a few educational tidbits about grip, hi-hat and bass drum technique, and the use of accents and dynamics, but his primary focus is on how he creates and plays his patented grooves. He demonstrates straight 8th- and 16th-note feels (including samba variations), and shuffles. With the aid of Michael Porcaro on bass and David Garfield on keyboards, Jeff explains how he creates his drum patterns--breaking each one down clearly--and how those patterns affect the music being played. The musical examples are long enough to establish each groove effectively without overdoing it. Each musical example has a corresponding pattern written out in the booklet that accompanies the tape, so you can learn by watching, listening, and/or reading.
From a production standpoint, the video is well-constructed. Two basic camera angles are used: one full-front when Jeff is addressing the viewer, and one overhead from Jeff's left when he is playing. The latter angle clearly reveals Jeff's work on the hi-hat and all the drums, while a split-screen inset of his bass drum foot covers his pedal work at the same time. You don't miss a thing.
One point should be made in the interest of accuracy. Although the liner notes indicate that this is a 60-minute tape, I timed it out at almost exactly 30 minutes. In a way, I almost didn't mind, since there isn't a moment wasted, and since this 30-minute tape contains more solid information and inspiration than many 60-minute tapes I've seen. But the fact remains that the tape isn't as long as it is stated to be.
Besides being solid as a rock on everything else he plays, Jeff Porcaro is the absolute master of the shuffle feel. He proves this in this video by playing several shuffle patterns that display suprising variety and multiple applications. This is by no means an all encompassing video, but if you want to learn how a studio giant does what he does best, it's here for you.