Vinnie Colaiuta: A great studio musician

Vinnie has perhaps the most amazing chops in the world. Yet, he knows how to hold back like a great studio drummer should. He plays for the song. He has a profound amount of musical maturity. He can play anything including dense notes that turn a chart black like music written by Frank Zappa. I finally got a chance to catch up a little bit and listen closely to Sting’s album Ten Summoners Tales which he recorded 20 years ago.

It’s about time I checked this album out! Not only does Sting write brilliantly on this album, his musicians play interesting parts. The particular song that knocked me out was the song Seven Days. The meter is in 7/4 time signature and Vinnie records with a clarity and maturity of a complete master, underplaying 90% of the song balanced by marvelously creative and playful coloration on the cymbals and hi-hats that do not get in the way of the musicians, the song or the mix. Finally, near the end of this brilliantly written song, Vinnie builds and opens up to give more playful chops while again not getting in the way. That is very hard to do. Not only is this song written with a sense of brave adventure by Sting but Vinnie is giving his all to play for the song, with his feel full of deep gravity and sky-blue cymbal work around the drums, uplifting the grounded feel of the backbeat. I don’t think this recording could get any better or be played more melodically on the drums. The whole album reveals Vinnie’s delicate approach between playing fully for the song and creatively adding melodic drums to give it spice, all while keeping an intense groove. He doesn’t sound generic, he sounds like Vinnie. What an inspiration this album has been. Thank you Vinnie (and Sting)! Gratitude.

Vinnie Colaiuta

Vinnie Colaiuta

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