Benny Greb is another drummer that I heard about via Drumeo through their free educational videos. Each week they seem to get an even cooler drummer onto their show/site and they do a great job having their finger on the pulse of some really talented drummers.
Like Snarky Puppy and Mark Guiliana, this is one of the newer dudes, at least that I’ve heard about, that is doing some amazing stuff and making me eat my words with the type of jazz that’s going on lately. It’s great and I love eating my words on this subject.
Where drumeo has their finger on the pulse I’m definitely the one that’s out of date. Scrolling through product lists for Benny he has a Meinl Cymbal Set, a Practice Pad, Promark Hickory 5BG Wood Tip drumsticks and most recently his 2ND(!!) dvd the Art and Science of Groove. I need to pay closer attention to the world of drumming. (and full disclosure yes I’m an Amazon affiliate)
Either way, his stuff, starting with the Drumeo video, is great and will easily get you hooked on his playing. He’ll do some fairly interesting fills but his grooves are nice and sweet. He lays back in the pocket but provides a unique style to the beats.
Moving onto the CD it’s a laid back smooth jazz style recording with drums, keyboard and guitar. It’s airy yet direct with the melodies and grooves. Benny is of course the standout, but I’m probably biased. Tracks like Bunker show a more ‘out there’ and loose Benny, but it’s never over the top.
A common theme throughout the recordings are his ability to walk a fine line between playing the tempo straight, then incorporating triplets or other off tempo style feels to the playing, whether playing in front or behind the beat. It’s a fun way to hear how he plays off the beat(s). All the songs can be used as examples of what he does Barking does a great job of using a typical beat but spicing it up to a point that it’s familiar, but clearly something he’s made his own.
The album works as a whole and an educational piece of drumming music. It could easily fit on a jazz or a sunday playlist with a few songs able to fit on a party or upbeat playlist. For drum students it’s a great album to see what’s possible with some traditional instruments and an open playing style. For other instruments it’s great to hear what can happen with the drums to be able to still play fluidly with some uncommon types of playing.
And to briefly brag, this Friday I’ll be seeing Benny as part of Vic’s Drum Shop all-star drum show at Martyrs in Chicago. Needless to say I’m pumped. But in the meantime I’m off to practice drums.