Ken Serio | Drumspeak

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by Ken Serio

Composer, Drummer and Percussionist Ken Serio hails from the New York area and his 4th cd DRUMSPEAK is something exciting, different and new.The title is a play on words from George Orwell’s 1984 novel in which The word NEWSPEAK is a fictitious new langua
Genre: Classical: Minimalism
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Part 1
13:21 $0.99
2. Part 2
7:27 $0.99
3. Part 3
17:21 $0.99
4. Part 4
15:04 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ken’s recording and touring credits are extensive. He keeps a tight schedule and tries to balance gigs for studio session work and live performances. In the live arena, he’s performed all around the United States, Canada and throughout Europe. In the studio, he’s also a “first-call” session drummer for scores of diverse artists.

To date, he’s performed and/or toured with such artists as The Victoria Warne Band, Mark Egan, Ronnie Earl, Bill Turner (guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets), Crosscurrents, David Mann Calvin Hill, Danny Gottlieb, Big Jeff’s Middle Sized Band, Alan Swartzberg, Pete McCann, Gil Goldstein, Virginia Mayhew, Dem Brooklyn Bums, Vic Juris, Virginia Mayhew, Ken Wessell, Billy Eric, David Mullen, Asylum , Racing 8 and Bed Of Nails (among others.) Ken has also played on several commercial advertising jingles, including recordings for Kellogg’s and Coca Cola.

Though he’s had considerable studio and live work as a “hired gun” with other artists, Ken has recorded some even-more impressive albums to his own credit. These albums visit several genres from Blues to Jazz, Rock to Fusion (and everything in between). His time is solid, technique is flawless, and his style is fluid and tasteful. Ken’s albums include “Tomorrow’s Another Day” (1996) “Through The Gate” (1999), and “Eye To Eye” (2002, Tripping Tree Music.) and Drumspeak 2007

When he’s not in the studio or on stage, he’s usually teaching a student, or hard at work in the practice room of his Clifton New Jersey (United States) home. Ken is a full-time drumming instructor at Ritchie’s Music (in nearby Rockaway, New Jersey), where he manages to juggle a roster of more than fifty weekly students. Ken is a dedicated and persistent teacher, and tries to impart his experience to students of all ages and ability levels, pushing their personal limits toward achievement. Ken also finds time to perform clinics and workshops around the United States.

While he teaches, he has dedicated himself to life-long learning. A current student of master jazz drummer Joe Morello, the legend has become a mentor and friend to Ken. Ken has also had the opportunity to study with such seasoned pros as Kenwood Dennard and Zak Danziger. Ken also attributes much of his tasteful, solid and graceful style to the influences of Danny Gottlieb, Ian Paice and Cozy Powell.

Ken has been featured in Modern Drummer and Drum! magazines and his work has been reviewed by countless print and internet media sources all around the world. He was featured in a book by Stacy DeBroff called Sign Me Up! (Simon & Schuster, 2004) as a drum education expert, and is currently hard at work on his first drum instruction book, due outin 2008..

Being influenced by composers such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, John
Luther Adams, Fred Frith, and Evelyn Glennie, as well as traditional
Burundi music, Ken composed this contemporary 4 part work and
played all instruments. There are udu drums, kalimbas, and djembe
from Africa, gongs, cymbals, glasses of various thickness, rainsticks,
guitars, mallet instruments, water jugs, and even a coffee grinder to add to the many textures and themes of Drumspeak



to write a review

Kenneth Serio

Ken Serio | Tripping Tree Music (2008)
By Glenn Astarita

New York area drummer/percussionist Ken Serio has packed gobs of musicality into a His mode of delivery sports an evolutionary outlook, partly due to his keen use of depth and space. With an arsenal of percussion implements, Serio pursues colorific and highly-rhythmic tone poems, featuring a layered approach and regimented patterns.
On “Part II,” Serio uses an electric-slide guitar for a textural effect amid clashing cymbals and a heartbeat pulse, all spiced with an ethereal backwash of multihued sounds. Then on “Part III,” the artist employs hand drums, bells, shakers, and perhaps some MIDI-based processing effects to instill a sense of cosmic travel. But he pulls out the proverbial stops on Part IV, where his East Indian raga groove segues into a blitzing, mischievously, maniacal and polyrhythmic drum solo.
Serio's jazz and jazz-fusion chops are shrewdly counterbalanced on this most compelling effort. You dont need to be a drummer to comprehend and enjoy the musicality he communicates during his four-part panorama, that parallels the rhythm of life. Unlike many of his peers who venture into these lone forays, Serio projects a complementary balance among innumerable factors and practices. Moreover, the artist provides a mini-clinic for aspiring percussionists. Hopefully this gem of a record wont go unnoticed



Ken Serio


Tripping Tree Music


At first glance, you would think that a 4 movement, CD-length composition entitled Drumspeak would be inspired by Steve Reich’s Drumming. Well, of course it is. Any jackass can see that (to quote Brahms). Ken Serio, the composer and performer of all the parts, has created a smaller-scale one-man Drumming. Mr. Serio’s language seems more loop-based as opposed to process-based but I don’t think that is the real point of the piece. Each of the four parts has a more distinct character than the four parts of Drumming. There is a lot of pulsing and grooving but there is also a hefty amount of space, silence, and ambience. Those characters throughout the four parts of Drumspeak is what maintained my interest in this CD and Mr. Serio’s performances are quite compelling.

Part I starts with a simple groove and, right around the time you think “When is this going to change?” it changes. Mr. Serio maintains a good pacing of events so that additions and shifts of the texture happen at just about the right time. Part II starts similarly to Part I, making you think that this is all one of the same piece. Quickly, though, new and different sounds emerge that put a more relaxed and ambient sound world around the cymbal drone.

Part III, even more ambient and nebulous than Part II, was my favorite track. I think that this piece stands well on its own and could easily be performed by percussion ensembles without committing to the whole hour of Drumspeak. The various percussion timbres have their own sense of space and pacing which is rather refreshing from the solid beats of the previous two parts.

Part IV picks up the pulse again and similar techniques to the first part. A ceramic drum emerges from the texture and then continues as a freeform solo for, I’m not kidding, seven and a half minutes (out of the 15 minute total length). I must admit that the ceramic drum’s entrance and the beginning of the solo had me quite engaged. I wasn’t sure how I had gotten to this point but I was glad that I was there. As it wore on, I found myself unable to follow the stream-of-consciousness solo. Others might stay engaged throughout, but I found myself yearning for the next entrance of the ensemble. Once the ensemble did come in it quickly turned into another stream-of-consciousness drum kit solo. I wasn’t sold on the musical motivation for such a solo to end the work. I like the juxtaposition of groove vs. ambient within one movement, but I think this idea needs more time to play out.

I think that the balance/imbalance between pulsed repetition and free-form ambience is a vital part of Drumspeak and Mr. Serio balances these ideas across movements rather well. I find the juxtaposition of these elements to be refreshing and engaging.

Posted: November 5th, 2007 under CD Review, Jay Batzner.
Comments: 1

Comment from Robert Gardner
Time: November 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Great review on a realy great cd! I Love this cd and encourage people to check it out.