When in doubt, roll!
March 26, 2017 11:45 AM   Subscribe

So you wanna learn to play the drums? Need some inspiration? Here some sessions from Swedish educational broadcaster UR’s drum school TRUM, featuring Morgan Ågren and friends, for you to play along with. How about starting with some jazz fusion? There’s also jazz funk, experimental metal, blues rock, and more experimental stuff. Grab your sticks and have a go!

More music below, but first a little context.

It all started in 1981, when 14-year old drummer Morgan Ågren first met 10-year old keyboard prodigy Mats Öberg, and decided to start a Zappa cover band. A few years later they travelled to Stockholm to experience Zappa live for the first time, found themselves backstage chatting with the man, and promptly got invited to sit in with the band for a bit. Frank loved it -- “They played unbelievable, just unbelievable.” -- and there was later some talk about joint projects, but Zappa fell ill and they had to abandon those plans.

Anyway, fast forward to 2000, the Zappa cover band had morphed into Mats/Morgan Band, and Morgan was asked to do an educational TV series. At first rather skeptical – surely no ordinary audience would be interested in the music they were playing – UR gave him full freedom to come up with a format. He brought in his band and some guests, and the result is a legendary mix of live performances, often rather difficult drum exercises, and obscure vinyl recommendations. The exercises are in Swedish, which might be a bit too much for an international audience, but for your drumming inspiration, I’ve collected the complete set of TRUM performances below:

(Note that most of what follows has been rescued from VHS tapes, so the quality and sync isn't always the best.)

Trum 1: Etage A-41

Trum 2: Ta Ner Trasan

Trum 3: Sol Niger Within ft. Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah)
The classic experimental metal album this medley is taken from celebrates 20 years this year, btw. Here's the full 1999 edition, Sol Niger Within v3.33, required listening on repeat for any serious metal head. Morgan on drums, many of the other TRUM musicians also appear here and there (the bit where Mats goes to town on a church organ is missing from this version,
Trum 4: Min Häst (“My Horse”)

Trum 5: Advokaten (“The Lawyer”) ft. Artis the Spoonman

Trum 6: En Schizofrens Dagbok (“A Schizophrenic’s Diary”)

Trum 7: She’s louder than me, but I got the microphone ft. Jimmy Ågren

Trum 8: Hollmervalsen (“The Hollmer Waltz”)
Named after Lars Holmer, keyboard player in progressive weirdos Samla Mammas Manna but these days perhaps best known for accordion standard Boeves Psalm (Bo-Eve's Hymn) originally written for his uncle’s funeral.
Trum 9: The Chicken ft. Jonas Knutsson
Pee Wee Ellis' jazz standard, popularized by Jaco Pastorius, here in a very Mats/Morgan version.
Trum 10: Baader Puff

Bonus Mats/Morgan: Superstition ft. Mats on vocals.
posted by effbot (10 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
thank you for knowing "The Chicken" is by Pee Wee Ellis
the kids at reddit think it's by Jaco and that it's a "jazz standard"
posted by thelonius at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2017

ugh calling it "jazz funk" puts you back in the deficit. It's R&B! R and B. There is no such thing as "jazz funk"!
posted by thelonius at 12:00 PM on March 26, 2017

(blame wikipedia :-) (which defines "jazz funk" as an "integration of funk, soul, and R&B music") (but ok, apologies for the misclassification, though I'm not entirely sure R&B is the first thing I think of when listening to the TRUM version...)
posted by effbot at 12:05 PM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

no, I'm sorry, it's just a pet peeve of mine....the world will keep calling things "jazz funk".....no doubt
posted by thelonius at 12:17 PM on March 26, 2017

I think "jazz funk" is a fine classification. It covers instrumental music. R&B covers vocal music.
posted by jonathanhughes at 12:53 PM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are the lessons posted anywhere? I don't speak Swedish, but I'd be curious to watch them anyway.
posted by bertran at 2:19 PM on March 26, 2017

Are the lessons posted anywhere? I don't speak Swedish, but I'd be curious to watch them anyway.

I just realized that I fumbled away the link to Morgan's TRUM page on Vimeo, where you can buy a proper transfer of the entire series, when I trimmed down the post a bit, which is a bit embarrassing since it doesn't just have his version of things, but also provided both the title (a quote from Bill Bruford) and, I see now, a more serious counterpoint to my half-joking framing of this post: "When I was 10 years old, I heard Buddy Rich play for the first time. Nobody told me how he did it all, but I spent the next couple of years trying to imitate Buddy. This was an important phase for me. I’m happy I didn’t stop myself from trying just because I didn’t know how he did it."

(I suspect you can find some clips on YouTube if you go look for them, but it's late here so not going to look now.)
posted by effbot at 4:04 PM on March 26, 2017

Because I have to be that metal guy that barges in to every thread:

Sol Niger Within is a fantastic metal//jazz fusion record. Much of the rhythmic riffing is very reminiscent of Thordendal's day job in Meshuggah, but the entire record is basically one long single piece of music. It has Thordendal's trademark soloing in greater proportion than the Meshuggah records, but also includes a saxophone leads, weirdly snarled spoken word, and even an interlude where Morgan plays an insane drum solo accompanied by a woman's piercing shrieks. I recommend giving it a solid sit-down listen all the way through. The only complaint I have is that the scooped metal production squashes some of the dynamism in the jazz drumming.

Another cool band in this vein is Shining (the Norwegian one). Crazy saxophones, manic drumming, and fuzzed out guitars.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:36 PM on March 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

a fantastic metal//jazz fusion record

(and here I was careful not to mention the jazz angle, to avoid some kind of "oh come on, that's clearly some kind of heavy metal, not jazz" derail :-D)

But yeah, one of my favourite albums ever, and full of parts that consistently blow my mind every time I revisit it. Just as it did that night many years ago when I came home very late and not at all sober, turned on the TV and ended up in a rerun (?) of that TRUM episode. Might have forgotten all about it if it wasn't for the "GET THIS RECORD NOW" note I had left to myself. When it arrived, I put it in the CD player at work and put on my headphones. Some thirty minutes later, I had to leave for a meeting or something, and bumped into my manager on the way, who suddenly looked rather worried. "Are you ok? You look... strange." I made him a copy the same day.

(Also note that most of the "Special Defects" appear in the videos above, Thordendal, Ågren, Öberg, and Knutsson.)
posted by effbot at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


actually that probably does deserve an actual image here you go
posted by aspersioncast at 9:46 AM on March 28, 2017

« Older Bitcoin and Venezuela, etc.   |   A Seussian smorgasborg for Sunday Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments