I used to play drumset for this vaudeville-style burlesque variety show in Manhattan on Saturday nights. The show is pretty crazy - jugglers, comedians, a sword swallowing belly dancer and plenty of half naked women. At some point, I needed a sub and at the time didn’t really know anyone in NYC. Somehow I got Josh’s name and he was available. After he came to watch the show, his only words were “What the…!?”, but he told me he’d play. We talked for a while about percussion, good whiskey and other stuff that I can’t remember. Keep in mind that music you make with people you can get along with is much better than music made with people you can’t.
Since then, Josh has been doing some awesome things. He just finished the 2016 “NY Spectacular” show at Radio City holding the drum chair. He has also held the Timpani/Percussion chair for the production “Heart and Lights” and the famed “Christmas Spectacular”. Currently, Josh subs on Broadway’s Aladdin, Jersey Boys and performs in the Tri-State area.
For post 9, Josh and I decided to focus on the non-pitched palette. Our overall goal for this performance was to blur the lines between rhythm and gesture. Sustain from the chimes, cymbals, bass drum and thunder sheet is one way we could easily accomplish this even though it is not an easy task! We also experimented with alternating roles - if I heard Josh playing more rhythmic patterns, I tried to do less of it. We also took bursts of notes we played and developed them independently to produce a mass of sound that has rhythmic drive, but not necessarily in a tempo and certainly not in time with each other (even though we do groove as well). Since we were short on time, we only recorded one video, but there will be a second part to this collaboration sometime in the fall. Enjoy!
(Note: the piccolo snare drum and cajon are not visible in my setup)
Anthony Di Bartolo is a New Jersey-based percussionist, composer, and educator.