Full disclosure: I know this author. I've had the honor of seeing him in clinics for the past couple of years. If you ever hear he's doing a clinic within a day's drive … GO!
While this book was released late in 2012, it is really gaining some traction amongst drummers.
Swiss Chris is an extremely technical drummer, but in this book, he takes you back to some real basics. The book presents a slightly different approach by allowing you to create your own grooves using a unique Sticking Matrix. While I am somewhat familiar with the use of “stock” patterns to create songs (we did so in our college drum line because we performed a new show each week), for me this is a new approach to thinking about creating or composing on a kit. And I’ve been around for half a century!
This book is published by the well-known Cherry Lane Music Company, so that foreshadows the quality of the material. The book is 12 Chapters with a great intro on how to apply what is covered. I especially liked three parts of the book:
1) The Warm-Up Exercises (you’re gonna need an Epson salts soak!)
2) The “Making Swiss Cheese” where Swiss explores variations on the paradidle (what can I say, … I’m a “diddle-head”)
3) In Chapter 3 where Swiss covers “singing” parts in a beatbox style (your family and friends will think you need a therapist!)
The book contains a CD that thoroughly covers all aspects of the content and gives great audio examples of every pattern covered.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the education and explanation of the origin of the rudiments, which I found appropriate since Swiss Chris hails from Switzerland.
It’s About Groove
As I mentioned above, this book starts out with the basics, but don’t let that fool you. By the time I got to the ostinato and polyrhythms sections, I was really drawing on my old independence studies I learned and continue to hone from my early days of book study. Given enough time with the book, these later chapters should become much more natural to me.
But, ... by in large this book is about learning, by way of patterns, how to lay down a groove. And let’s face it, Swiss Chris didn’t get the drum throne behind the likes of John Legend and others if he couldn’t groove.
I highly recommend this book. I aspire to be able to play in that fluid gospel-chop time-shifting manner that seems like it should be so easy, but yet takes years of practice and application. And this book will take you there if utilized in your daily and weekly arsenal of material. I’m on my 3rd copy of both Stone Stick Control and Jim Chapin’s book. I suspect this book will be on the same pace and at a street price of $14.99, it's worth every penny and then some.
Note to Swiss: Your next book needs to be a layman's guide to integrating electronic loop triggering and sampling into your live set up! I’ve never seen anyone do that as well as you do.
Dendy Jarrett is the Editorial Director and Director of Communities for Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.