A Drummer's Dream John Walker

A Drummer's Dream John Walker
A remote farm in Ontario's cottage country is the unlikely setting for a summit of some of the world's top drummers. Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr, Dennis Chambers, Kenwood Dennard, Horacio "El-Negro" Hernadez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Mike Mangini and Raul Rekow have played with the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Carlos Santana and many more. They are here to teach 40 eager kids their advanced techniques, but also to philosophize about drumming.

The drummers take turns sitting in the spotlight throughout this 84-minute film. Their styles range from jazz, Latin, fusion to soul and rock, which they showcase before an attentive audience inside a barn or outdoors in the middle of a lush forest. Each musician plays a long, complex solo that invariable swoops, stutters and soars, and each lectures about their craft. "Drumming is about channelling your thinking," says one. "Drumming reflects your individual character," says another.

All the drummers are talented and articulate, but Dennis Chambers (Santana) stands out with a show-stopping performance and lecture about individual character and imagination shaping a drummer. Walker's love for drumming shines through, but a little more background about each musician would've been nice to let us know where they come from. Similarly, the kids don't get enough camera time and, at times, feel distant.

However, the film's cinematography is polished and the sound mix is crisp and deep. After watching this film, the viewer realizes that unlike playing a guitar or piano, the drummer is an acrobat who juggles drums and cymbals with both feet and both arms.

Or, as one musician says, "does every drummer search for love searching for their mother's embrace?" After all, the first rhythm anyone hears is their mother's heartbeat. (John Walker Productions)