I don’t even recall exactly how I first came across this clip of YouTuber Rob Brown discussing what might be called a “Vinnie moment”, but it deserves a bookmark here–both for the obvious agoggery, and also for Brown’s delivery, which is truly giggle-worthy.
For those who aren’t familiar with the name, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta is generally regarded as so far advanced as to be nearly an alien intelligence on the kit. Even Zappa’s other drummers talk about him in a way that’s not unlike hearing guitarists talk about Allan Holdsworth. To wit: there’s good, there’s great, there’s amazing, and then there’s Vinnie.
So it’s not surprising, perhaps, that this Rob Brown might periodically look for whatever Vinnie is doing lately, to analyze and bring to his audience. Apparently he struck a rather thick vein of gold:
So, I’m watching him do his thing, and then, all of a sudden, in the middle of this song…there’s a two-bar break, for a drum fill…
…he pulls this fill…right out of thin air.
and we cut to Vinnie, who plays something that at first glance might just seem like a smooth roll which nonetheless ends with a nice resolving flam.
Cut back to Rob, who hilariously shakes his head and goes all verklempt; this is what cements the need for a bookmark for the video as a whole.
I saw this drum fill, and I absolutely lost it.
The dude, with the calmness of somebody just sipping a coffee and reading the paper on the beach, just decides to announce that he’s Batman.
He then breaks down the fill for the aspiring drummer, and it quickly becomes apparent that this was no random drum roll. Not hardly! Inside two bars of 4/4, Colaiuta fits three groups of five sixteenth-note triplets, orchestrated as a first group of five that repeats itself, and then a concluding group that exits with a whole beat left over for separation.
Sounds like Vinnie. While it’s not that nobody else could play this kind of fill, what makes him so special is that he really does just come up with things like this on the spot, all the time–fully orchestrated, thought out, appropriate to the music, and delivered with a precision and calmness that belies all The Awesome that’s really going on while you’re not looking.
Anyway, bookmarked. Both the Rob Brown breakdown:
…and also the source material, which is indeed interesting on its own!