Daniel Glass introduces The Century Project and TRAPS

Hey everyone. My name is Daniel Glass, and it’s a real honor to have been asked by Alfred Music Publishing to contribute to their Ledger Lines blog. I’m a drummer, author and educator, known primarily for my work with retro-styled artists like Brian Setzer, Royal Crown Revue and Bette Midler. I’m very excited to announce that I’ve just released two large scale DVDs in conjunction with DrumChannel.com and Alfred Music Publishing: The Century Project looks at 100-years of American music (1865-1965) from the perspective of the drums, and TRAPS is an in-depth documentary about vintage drums, featuring one of the planet’s most knowledgeable vintage experts, John Aldridge.

These DVDs are the culmination of a journey that began nearly 20 years ago, when I joined Royal Crown Revue, the L.A. based band that pioneered the ‘90s phenomenon known as the “Retro-Swing Revival.” RCR played a lot of what I call “Roots” styles of American music – styles like early jazz, swing, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and early rock ’n’ roll. Although I had studied a lot about jazz and in school, I quickly learned that the music RCR was playing was something altogether different. It contained elements of bebop, of the blues, and of rock ’n’ roll, but it wasn’t any of these things. It had improvisation going on, but it was also dance music. It had a horn section and an upright bass, but it ROCKED as much as any rock band that we shared the stage with.

The guys in the band kept telling me “Daniel, what you’re playing just isn’t quite right,” so – not wanting to be an ex- band member – I decided to “hit the woodshed.” Much to my surprise, when I went looking for the instructional materials that were going to teach the nuts and bolts of these styles, I found next to nothing available. At that point – around 1999 – it became clear that if I was going to be a master Roots drummer, I would need to go straight to the source. I had discovered that many of the drummers who had played on the records we loved were living right in Southern California, so I started calling them up and interviewing them. I also began intensively researching the history of the drum set, trying to understand when and why many of the pieces – hi hat, ride cymbal, tom toms, etc. – had first appeared.

What emerged from all this research was an incredible story – a side of the drums and the way we play them that had never been documented before. The results are brought to life in The Century Project. This high energy, multi-media lecture-performance takes viewers on a thrilling journey through 100 years of music history and reveals a side of the drums never before seen. It traces the story of the drum set from its inception at the end of the Civil War (1865) to the dawn of the British Invasion (1965), and shows how – unlike any other instrument – the drums evolved hand-in-hand with America, and influenced American music in a totally unique way.

The Century Project introduces a variety of classic styles and techniques, including: double drumming, ragtime, New Orleans jazz, Chicago jazz, classic swing, bebop, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and early rock ‘n’ roll. To bring these eras to life, The Century Project incorporates eleven stunning vintage drum sets, hundreds of rare product and vintage catalog shots, and a dozen high energy performances from an all-star band featuring members of Royal Crown Revue, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, the Conan O’Brien house band, and Bette Midler’s “Kiss My Brass” Revue.

Filmed and recorded in stunning high-definition, The Century Project will turn your conception of “history” on its ear, and show 21st Century musicians just how much they actually have in common with their forbears. Believe it or not, understanding the origins of the drum set will make you a stronger and more competitive musician, even if you play “modern” styles like rock, hip-hop, funk, reggae, punk, metal, etc.

TRAPS: The Incredible Story of Vintage Drums brings together an unprecedented collection of vintage gear – including many rare and museum-quality pieces – and looks at the same 100-year period (1865-1965) from the nuts-and-bolts perspective of the gear itself. Featuring special guest commentator John Aldridge (author of The Guide to Vintage Drums), TRAPS brings the vintage world to life through eleven stunning kits that cover all the major American drum companies (Ludwig, Slingerland, Gretsch, Leedy and Rogers). TRAPS also uses more than 300 vintage catalog shots to touch on a wide range of vintage-related topics, including: badges, finishes, pedals, calfskin heads, Ludwig Black Beauty Snares, Slingerland Radio Kings, K-Zildjian cymbals, and much, much more.

If you’d like to learn more about me and my obsession with Roots drumming, please feel free to visit the Drum History section of my website: DanielGlass.com