“Ginger Baker: Master Drum Technique” is another DVD in the Hot Licks
series that was originally released on VHS in 1994. For this 2006 DVD
reissue, Arlen Roth provides a new introduction, in which he talks about
Baker and his background. Roth is the producer and director of this DVD,
and founded the Hot Licks series in 1984.

The main part of this 77-minute disc consists of Ginger Baker sitting at
his drum kit, discussing and demonstrating basic drumming concepts
and techniques in a very methodical, easy to understand manner.
He even starts out with tuning the drum heads! Basic patterns, such
as paradiddles are discussed and dissected with great care, as well
as the proper method of holding the sticks, and the use of matched
or unmatched grip.

Throughout the course, Baker’s ambidextrous abilities are quite obvious
and in fact, he discusses how a drummer should ideally divide the brain
into four distinct parts–one for each limb of the body.

Having lived in Africa for five years, he talked about African drumming and
how to incorporate such polyrhythmic styles into playing. Of course,
he demonstrated everything with admirable ease. What stayed with
me the most was Baker’s statement that it was more important to
learn the basic patterns slowly and in perfect time, rather than being
concerned about playing fast right away. The speed will come.

As a fan of Cream, I was already a big fan of Ginger Baker. I came
away from this DVD with more respect for him than ever. I think
that he makes an effective teacher, and drummers at all levels
will find something of value in “Ginger Baker: Master Drum Technique.”
Hell, I’m not even a drummer and I did!