Gerald Forrest's GospelChops.com Series Returns to 'Give the Drummer Some'
It was in the iconic 1967 song "Cold Sweat" that the late great James Brown notably called out, "Give the drummer some! Give the drummer some!" acknowledging the drumbeat, steadily in the background, as an instrumental force centering our musical universe. Well James Brown would be proud as veteran video producer/director Gerald Forrest, with the creation of GospelChops.com, has proceeded to give the drummer some and more via his ambitious DVD releases entitled, "Shed Sessionz."
A groundbreaking video series, "Shed Sessionz" features top drummers from around the world, along with their energetic drum chop performance techniques, drum lessons, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. With Forrest's latest release offering, "Shed Sessionz Vol. 3, " he highlights some of the best drummers across the United States.
Forrest originally came up with the concept for "Shed Sessionz" after developing the website, Gospelchops.com as a vehicle to pay tribute to the numerous musical contributions of generations of gospel musicians. His original vision was to educate the world about this inspirational art form and its history. The site has offered free gospel music education, lessons and content since 2005.
Based on the reception and success of GospelChops.com, Forrest got the notion to produce and direct his first feature drum video, "Shed Sessionz Vol. 1" (SSV1) in 2006. Featuring drumming prodigies, Tony Royster Jr. and Thomas Pridgen, never before had a full video production been devoted just to drummers in such fashion. The music industry embraced the concept. SSV1 became a global sensation, surpassing expectations with record-breaking web traffic and popularity.
Building upon his vision, Forrest began to scour the country for additional talent while continuing to release free gospel music content and lessons online. In 2007, Forrest directed and produced the second edition in the GospelChops.com series, "Shed Sessionz Vol. 2" (SSV2). With an all-star cast of world-class musicians from Los Angeles to Israel, SSV2 took off like a rocket, receiving high acclaim and stellar reviews in drum magazines, drum websites, and drumming blogs around the world. Mainstream media started to take note of this distinctive cultural phenomenon and musicians around the world responded by coining the classic phrase, "Thank you GospelChops!"
In 2009, Forrest set out to expand the outreach efforts of GospelChops and appeal to an even broader audience. Shining his light on gospel bass players, he produced and directed an unprecedented bass performance/instruction DVD, "Bass Sessionz Vol. 1." Once again, the project broke new barriers in the music industry by bringing together the legends of gospel and jazz, garnering appearances by Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, Peter Erskine along with Grammy nominated jazz pianist, John Beasley. Gospel bass legend, Andrew Gouche, also put his soulful touch on the project.
The newly released "Shed Sessionz Vol. 3" (SSV3) profiles seven powerful drumming masters. The sessions are laced with intensity and passion as drummers Justin Tyson, Matthew Garstka, Tim Newton, Darion Ja'Von, Frank Fluker, Fred Boswell and Eddie Heyward chop it up with performances that once again bring the drum beat front and center.
"Anyone even remotely familiar with the Black church recognizes that music is at the core of our worshipping and celebration. I created GospelChops.com to pay homage to this fact. I wanted the world to have access to the beauty and creativity that is often hidden within the confines of the church sanctuary, " expresses Forrest. "'Shed Sessionz' followed as an extension of that same thinking. The drumbeat, like gospel music, is at the essence of it all. It is what holds the rhythm, yet the actual drummer is often just taken for granted. 'Shed Sessionz' changes that!"
A man on a mission, Forrest created the nonprofit corporation, GospelChops Foundation last year as another extension of his vision. The organization is dedicated to enhancing the lives of at-risk children in underserved communities through music education. The Young Musicians Program, under its umbrella, is an after-school music-learning program in California, which has gained sponsorship from Marines Toys for Tots and the Google Corporation. Proceeds from the video series support the foundation's efforts.
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