We met Dee at a panel discussion in downtown Brooklyn put on by an incredible group called Full Spectrum regarding Race & Gender. When she stood up to ask a question of the panelists she introduced herself as a drummer. That’s all it takes folks! And now … we bring you one of Tom Tom’s newest contributors – Dee. She has opened up for Hip Hop group Arrested Development along with The Filmore New York opening up for artists like Public Enemy and DMC. She also opened for KRS-1 at The East Village Radio Music Festival August 2008 with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble along with G-Starr Fashion show and other local performances. Here’s her take on staying in the pocket and magic.
I remember sitting in church as a young girl amazed and in awe at the drummers and musicians. I saw this magical affect the drummers especially had on the people in the organization. The excitement of shouting, dancing and praising God to the beat of the drummer was uplifting. When I couldn’t resist the mesmerizing rhythms created by the drummers, I had to get a piece of the pie. I was 13 and my church had a hi-hat, a snare and a kick. The sight of not a single Tom Tom was devastating as a beginner drummer. I wanted to jump on the drums doing amazing Paradiddles, Doubles, and rolls backward and forwards. After all, this was what I saw being done by many drummers with experience. Once I began playing to the rhythms of the organ player, I began to see the “Magic of the pocket”. The steady, clean, solid beat I realized was most important. Keeping time and playing with the musicians not against them. The consistency of a solid beat is what hypnotizes the audience and even you as the drummer. I especially enjoyed drummers like Joseph “Zigaboo” Modelestie of the Meters who mastered the New Orleans Funk pocket and Questlove of the Roots with his basic Hip Hop beats inspired by funk.
Now as a drummer I truly understand the power of staying in the pocket and keeping the beat. My favorite pieces of the drum are the “magic three” My Zildjian A Custom Master sound 12” high hat, mini piccolo snare and dw7000 foot pedal. I love the simplicity of the structure. With the three the funky Hip hop beats created allow you to enter in a trance of another world when done right. Don’t get me wrong rolls add color and decoration to the drummers pocket beat and are wonderful to see perform and hear on tracks. But a strong pocket is what will always keep you employed as a drummer and leave less room for mistakes. When auditioning and performing always remember “the Magic of the Pocket”
Photo of Dee by Lashay Jones