Passing the Drum with New Ears!

Hey All, I just listened to our 2003 recording Pass The Drum as I’m relearning the music for tomorrow’s concert at the Rancho Bernardo Library. What a pleasant surprise! What happens is as you are making a recording you end up listening to it way more times than you choose to — checking and rechecking things. So when it’s done it’s easy to ignore it for a bunch of years. And then when you finally listen again it’s with a fresh perspective. I’m enjoying it!

PTD Best_500

The band back in the day with (left to right) Tom Aros, Tripp Sprague, Peter Sprague, Duncan Moore, Ken Dow, Leonard Patton, and Coral MacFarland Thuet.

And that’s the news for this week, we’re passing the drum at the RB Library and you’re all invited. Here’s a little backstory to the band:

The name of the CD and the band is Pass the Drum. We are a seven piece group featuring Peter Sprague on the guitar; Tripp Sprague on saxophone, flute, and percussion; Gunnar Biggs on bass; Duncan Moore on drums; Tom Aros on percussion; and vocals by Coral MacFarland Thuet and Leonard Patton.

The name of our group evolved from an incident at Ki’s Restaurant back in 1999. We were getting ready to start the gig and rather than begin with the whole band playing all at once, we instead ventured off into a tan tan drum solo in which the drum was passed around to all members of the group. It was an invocation on what was to follow – music with a percussive core, an exploration into the magic and influence of Brazil, passing the drum and sharing the spirit of sound.

The band grew from our love of Brazilian music, jazz, and elements of American pop music. As a young fellow I was absorbed in the music of Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz and from there discovered Djavan, Sergio Mendes, Caetano Veloso, and Ivan Lins among many others. Since the early days I’ve had different groupings of folks who had this same pull towards the samba. Earlier groups included vocalists Kevyn Lettau and Kleber Jorge, bassist John Leftwich, and horn players James Zollar and Lori Bell.

When we first started Pass The Drum, we played primarily all Brazilian music and then over time, slowly added other stylistic elements to our repertoire. One of our prime goals is to bring fresh treatments to each song and to explore the World of Opposites. For example, we play a Jobim bossa nova in the style of John Coltrane, a Beatles tune set into a bossa nova/Pat Metheny groove, and a Bob Marley reggae hit morphed into a burning straight-ahead modal movement. We also set out to retain the jazz element of improvisation within the band and to let each player’s solo abilities shine. When it’s all working, the group has the looseness of a small group blended with the sonic color of a larger ensemble.

We hope to see you there! Look below for the gig details…

Also up for this week, Leonard and I will be at Ki’s on Friday night for our monthly gig. The setup is supreme, the food is stellar, and the music, it’ll be a hoot…

Leonard and Peter

Leonard and Peter

There it is good folks and hope to see you soon, Peter