Music Education Monday: A master class with percussionist Milford Graves


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The week for “Music Education Monday," we've got a different kind of master class for drummers.

While most drum workshops are full of talk of exercises, licks and rudiments, Milford Graves deals with concepts and philosophy as much as technique, as befits his status as one of the elder statesmen of free jazz drumming.

First coming to prominence in the 1960s, Graves played with the New York Art Quartet, Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association, Albert Ayler, Don Pullen, and others important innovators during that period. He's known for integrating African and Indian elements into his playing, perhaps drawing on early work in the bands of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and definitely making use of his extensive studies of the tabla drums. More recently, Graves has enjoyed something of a career resurgence, recording for John Zorn's label and collaborating with a younger generation of musicians.

Working with young people was nothing new for Graves, though, given that he taught at Bennington College in Vermont for nearly thirty years. He also is an herbalist, acupuncturist, and martial artist who draws on all those life experiences to inform his music, as you'll hear in this master class recorded in 2014 at the New School in NYC.

You can see the Milford Graves master class, in three parts, after the jump...

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