David Letterman's drum solo week showcases amazing talents behind the kit
David Letterman has a long history of bringing quirky, entertaining elements to his shows -- from running across the back stage seconds before the program starts to joking with audience members about stuff that happened before the tapings begin.
So it was small surprise that Letterman would inaugurate the summer season with another odd but compelling bit: drum solo week.
In shows past, he'd turned time over to a succession of ventriloquists and a lineup of impressionists. But last week, he closed each show with a drum solo featuring some of the coolest names in percussion, including his own drummer, Anton Fig, Sheila E., 70-something jazz drummer Roy Haynes and Rush drummer Neil Peart.
It was a blast for me to watch the performances, because I remember sitting in front of the television when Letterman welcomed Anton Fig to the drummer's chair many years ago on NBC. Fig, replacing funk/rock/R&B master Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards, Spyrogyra, Blues Brothers, etc.) learned on camera the times when he needed to punctuate a joke with a bold rimshot and played a wicked solo to the classic tune Caravan not long after joining the band.
Since I failed to say anything last week, here's clips of all the solos and my hearty compliments to Letterman, who has a great ear for good musicianship and often finds cool new ways to encourage it on his legendary show.
(What I don't get, is why CBS didn't bother showcasing these cool performances on its own YouTube channel; after a couple of searches, all I could find was a link to this Letterman bit about Anthony Weiner taking a solo).