If you were paying attention, it wasn’t hard to notice that Berklee Alum Kendrick Scott had a busy and successful weekend here at Berklee College of Music. He played an afternoon clinic at Cafe 939, his Checkout – Live at Berklee show later that same night, which streamed live on WGBO-FM and National Public Radio, had another clinic the following afternoon hosted by Berklee’s John Ramsay, only to turn around and host yet another packed clinic and performance with Phil Wilson’s Rainbow Band at the 2012 High School Jazz Festival.
The Red Room
Kendrick’s Checkout concert certainly offered the power to change young, musical minds. He was there with his pianist, Taylor Eigsti (one of the best pianists I have ever seen), a tenor saxophonist, and bass player who had just graduated high school. The first half of the show was broadcast live on WGBO-FM and NPR but it wasn’t until the second half of the show that Kendrick really brought out all the stops.
The set was such an interesting combination of contemporary jazz, straight-ahead, and soul. At times the audience found itself so awe-struck that they actually forgot to applaud the performance. To be honest, it wasn’t even that the music itself was complicated but more the manner in which it was being performed; with such precision, grace and musical honesty. Walking out of the show, I couldn’t help but feel struck that I had been a part of one of the most “real” concerts of my life.
Two days later at the 2012 High School Jazz Festival, Kendrick and his band gave an enlightening clinic. They broke the ice with Victor Lewis’s “Hey It’s Me You’re Talking To” and it didn’t take long after the playing stopped for the questions start raining down.
Kendrick was asked about his influences, his drum hardware and cymbal preferences, and specific practice techniques, which was what eventually struck me about this clinic. The time spent covering practicing tips and techniques really underscored one of this year’s prevalent themes: practice smart, not hard.
Kendrick also spent a good amount of time talking about rudiments and precision around the kit, which lead to questions about maximizing rudiment practice. He went through exercises transposing different rudiments over different grooves and touched on exercises to hone employing different dynamics around the kit.
Overall, the hour-long clinic was filled with many memorable moments in Kendrick’s dialog with the high school students, such as:
“Listen to music that you hate.”
“Silence has a place for a drummer.”
“When you’re playing music, you’re playing life.”
Later That Night
Berkleejazz.org coordinated a sit down with Kendrick Scott and Phil Wilson. Seeing Kendrick Scott throughout the course of three days made me into a true fan. If you have never heard this man’s music I would say that it is a must, because he is new jazz.
More on Kendrick Scott at www.kendrickscott.com.