A documentary by John Walker. Unrated. Plays Friday to Wednesday, February 4 to 9, at the Vancity Theatre
What do you call a guy who likes to hang around with musicians? A drummer. That's a long-standing joke in band circles, but it actually masks some basic resentment, because—let's face it—all music falls apart without the expert application of rhythm.
Watch the trailer for A Drummer’s Dream.
A treasure trove for beatophiles and anyone who likes to see how tricky things tick, A Drummer's Dream joins an enthusiastic bunch of teens and adults for an annual drumming workshop on a lake in Ontario. The summer session is hosted by Quebec-based Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr, who played and toured with Dizzy Gillespie in the trumpet master's latter years. And guest instructors include Santana stalwart Raul Rekow, Cuban jazzer Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Puerto Rican conga killer Giovanni Hidalgo, and groove monster Dennis Chambers, who has provided tight pockets for Parliament/Funkadelic, John Scofield, and many fusioneers.
Segments range from a nuts-and-bolts lesson from virtuoso Mike Mangini, who has the glib persona of a high-end stereo salesman (if one whose hands blur past the speed of film), to the infectious joy of Boston-based Kenwood Dennard, who adds synth bass, vocals, and body slaps to his organic improvisations. A climactic showdown between all these notably noncompetitive stylists is a bit messy, but that just adds to the pleasure of drum-camp students invited to join in.
The film has phenomenal sound recording and is given appropriately visceral direction by John Walker, who puts you right there with the skins and cymbals—occasionally at the same time, thanks to split-screen effects. Walker has been responsible for many great Canadian documentaries, plus the award-winning '80s feature A Winter Tan. He'll be here to present his Dream on opening night.