Tiger Bill Reviews

Bernard "Pretty" Purdie's

Educational Videos

3-Video Set

Bernard Purdie's Most Important Educational Function - 3 Video Set


I've been a fan of Bernard Purdie's since I first heard him play with greats like Aretha Franklin and King Curtis. That was more than three decades ago. Since then, you could say he has recorded a few records – A few thousand. Enough to earn him the title of "World's Most Recorded Drummer."

As if that wasn't enough, this legendary talent has now produced a set of videos that not only educate but entertain as well. There are three volumes to the complete set, which was filmed live in Japan at a series of concerts, club dates, and master classes. (Portions of the audio include Japanese interpretation.)

When I first got these videos, I couldn't wait to check them out. What follows is my detailed review of each volume, one by one.


The Most Important Educational Function with Bernard "Pretty" Purdie in Japan 2000: Volume 1

The first volume is divided into four sections:

  1. Performance
  2. Tips and Techniques
  3. Ask the Groove Maker
  4. Body Percussion

Opens with BP playing the Funky Donkey with a rhythm section only. The scene then switches to a club with BP playing the same song with an added Horn section.

Streaming audio sample of Funky Donkey
(Don't have RealPlayer? Download it free)

Next, BP plays Blues Town with his entire band.

Tips & Techniques
BP talks about groove and the importance of knowing where one is. BP says, "You can play right under it, right on it, or right on top of it." He continues: "Normally they won't let me sing, but they can't stop me tonight!" Then, sitting behind his drums, BP sings a little and demonstrates playing a groove behind sax, trombone, trumpet, and keyboard solos.

Bass player Roy Bennett jumps in and starts playing and singing the up tempo, funky Sex Machine and then goes into This is a Man's World, which starts as a slow R&B and shifts into up-tempo funk.

Back in Love Again, featuring Rob Paparozzi on vocal, brings us back to an R&B groove.

Ask the Groove Maker
Drummers and bass players ask BP questions in this segment, like, "What does it take to become a good drummer?" To which BP replies, "Time, energy, and you must learn to count. It's very important to know where one is." And BP also stresses the importance of the relationship between the drummer and bass player. Included are questions about rudiments, which spurs BP to demonstrate on the drum kit.

Body Percussion
This segment has BP accompanying a group of young Japanese children who use their bodies as percussion instruments.


The Most Important Educational Function with Bernard "Pretty" Purdie in Japan 2000: Volume 2

The second volume is also divided into four sections:

  1. Performance
  2. Ask the Groove Maker (Groove workshop and master class)
  3. Tips and Techniques
  4. Body Percussion

The second video again opens with BP playing with a rhythm section, this time to the tune Latin East and BP gets to stretch out as he trades grooves with the conga player.

Ask the Groove Maker & Tips and Techniques
Drummers again get the chance to ask BP questions in this segment. Covered are matched vs. traditional grip, chops, and the Purdie Shuffle. BP also demonstrates the New Orleans March Style on the drum set and stretches it out into an extended solo lesson for the students in his Groove Workshop.

S treaming audio sample of
New Orleans March
(Don't have RealPlayer? Download it free)

BP then launches into a demonstration of various "time" grooves starting with his famous funk time, moving into a Latin feel, and finally into a slow 12/8 R&B.

BP demonstrates his famous Purdie Shuffle to the tune Who's Been Talkin' on the drum set without musical accompaniment, and also in a shuffle duet with drummer playing a Japanese drum.

Body Percussion
This video features more performances by the Body Percussion Kids accompanied by BP on drums, one of which features an extended solo by BP.


The Most Important Educational Function with Bernard "Pretty" Purdie in Japan 2000: Volume 3

The third volume is divided into five sections:

  1. Performance
  2. Ask the Groove Maker
  3. The Art of the groove
  4. Technical Parts
  5. Body Percussion Finale

This video also opens with BP playing with a rhythm section, this time to a number appropriately titled Groovalation.

Ask the Groove Maker
BP is asked "How do you make it groove?" And not only does he answer, he gets on the kit and demonstrates what groove really is! BP, along with his rhythm section, shows us several kinds of grooves.

The Art of the Groove
Following the performance are brief interviews with two members of BP's band, Rob Paparozzi (harmonica, vocals, conductor) and Rob Bennett (bass, vocals).

Ask the Groove Maker
BP fields more questions covering groove and the things that make a great studio musician. He closes with these words of wisdom: "Be good, be nice, know your craft, and be humble."

Technical Parts
I consider this section one of the highlights of the entire video series. It's a one-on-one clinic between you and BP himself. He breaks down his Purdie Shuffle into left foot hi-hat action, right foot bass drum action, playing both feet together, proper drum throne position, and then puts it all together.

Streaming audio sample of Purdie Shuffle
(Don't have RealPlayer? Download it free)

BP discusses his cymbal setup, using 13" hi-hats, 22" crash-ride, 20" china, 18" crash-ride, and 8" splash cymbal, and the importance of choosing cymbals that match.

Body Percussion Finale
This video concludes with BP playing with a small group of musicians who are then joined by the Body Percussion Kids.

Video Series Credits
Executive Producer: BP, Co-producer: Kotalo Asayama, Associate producer: Yuko Nakagawa, Rob Paparozzi: Harmonica, vocals, conductor, Roy Bennett: Bass and vocals, Chizuko Yoshihiro: All Keyboards, piano, electric organ, contractor, Body Percussion Kids: produced and directed by Tosiyuki Yamada.

The Bottom Line
BP is a truly legendary drummer and his unique drumming style and colorful personality both shine through on this video series. The production quality is good and there are no annoying camera tricks to get in your way.

For me, the highlights of the three videos were BP's performances with the band and the demonstrations of his approach to drumming. Overall, I felt that the three videos could have contained more Q&As and less Percussion Kids.

The bottom line is that every drummer needs to own at least one of the videos, as Bernard "Pretty" Purdie is one of the all-time greats and a true master of the Groove. You'll learn a lot, just by listening to the man play.

Each video retails for $39.95. If you can afford to buy only one, I highly recommend volume three. That was my personal favorite because I felt that it gave the greatest insight into the man himself, and contained the most detailed information on his playing style.

These videos are available directly from Bernard Purdie's Web site (see the sidebar) and are also now available all together in one DVD.

Until next time: Keep groovin' and Stay loose.


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