From DRUM! Magazine’s September 2017 Issue | Text And Transcriptions By Andy Ziker | Video Lesson For “River Boat” By Marc Carmi Smith | Photo By Robert Downs
Borrowing a baseball expression, Stanton Moore is a five-tool drummer: 1) He’s a drum historian, and can tell you where just about every groove and lick comes from. 2) He’s a profoundly gifted teacher, known not only as private instructor, but also for teaching camps, masterclasses, and clinics around the world. 3) He’s an accomplished author. 4) He’s also great on camera. 5) As we mentioned in our May 2014 issue, Moore is a top-ten drumming chameleon. He performs and records with his own jazz trio, plays funk with Galactic, and even metal with Corrosion Of Conformity. His most recent effort, With You In Mind, again demonstrates his versatility by showing us how it’s done in a pop setting, as he pays homage to one of his favorite songwriters, New Orleans R&B icon Allen Toussaint.
Using a repeating five-note melody (bass drum, middle tom, high tom, middle tom, snare buzz) and hi-hat foot splashes, Moore mesmerizes us again. Each measure is divided into 6 + 6 + 4 (subdividing by sixteenths), giving it a polyrhythmic feel.
“Life,” a New Orleans second-line in seven, is a lesson in how dynamics/articulations can really make your playing come to life: Moore uses buzz strokes, power flams, accents, rimshots, drags, and ghosted notes. The staccato buzzes found in the second measure (starting on the & of 5) are one of his signature licks. Moore brings his sticks up high and then proceeds to bury the tips into the head when making contact. The result produces accented, short-duration buzz strokes. Notice how Moore changes texture from only snare/bass drum in the introduction to adding closed and open hi-hat in the verse. This creates a wider frequency spread and shines a spotlight on Cyril Neville’s exceptional vocals.
Moore builds a hypnotic beat with four on the floor and accents on the hi-hat and snare, which provide a three-dimensional vibe. Each phrase is organized in 1.5 + 0.5 measures: in other words, six beats of groove plus two beats of fill.