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May 2, 2010
 Voice Classes for Holistic Singing
April 9, 2010
 Jazz Lab Programme
February 21, 2010
 Tony Mason - Groovemaster

Tony Mason - Groovemaster

Tony Mason demonstrates his skills on the drums

On Sunday 21 February, 2010 the Academy for the Performing Arts at UTT hosted its first music workshop, "Tony Mason - Groovemaster", at the UTT Campus at NAPA, Queen's Park East, Port-of-Spain. Based in the UK, Tony Mason is recognised as one of the world's leading drummers and has performed and recorded with an eclectic mix of artists including Mary J Blige, Al Green, Joss Stone, Average White Band, Matt Bianco, Van Morrison, Aswad, Eddy Grant and many more. His "Groovemaster" Drum Clinic has consistently been voted "Best Drum Clinic" by readers of Rhythm - one of the world's leading drum magazines. The workshop, which was jointly organised by the Rhythm Method Drum School and UTT, was a prime opportunity for Tony, who is of Trinidadian parentage, to share his vast knowledge and experience.

Approximately seventy-five (75) persons attended the workshop and among the distinguished guests was the Honourable Peter Taylor, Minister of Legal Affairs and Member for Princes Town South/Tableland. The Minister was accompanied by several young persons from his constituency. Also present was Mr. Ricky Amar of Caribbean Sound Basin who had previously facilitated the workshop by Tony Mason in 1998.

Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Peter Taylor (centre), listens intently at the Tony Mason 'Groovemaster' Drum Workshop

The workshop opened with a short demonstration of the 'PHI' (Percussive Harmonic Instrument) pan from Panadigm Research; an innovative Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) controller based on the traditional steeldrum. Following short addresses by Distinguished Master Artist in Residence, Dr. Mungal Patasar and Minister Taylor, Tony Mason took to the stage after a brief introduction by Assistant Professor of Audio Recording and Music Production at UTT, Mr. Martin Raymond. Quickly establishing why he has earned the title "groovemaster", Tony Mason's playing was expressive and dynamic. A mixture of practical sessions coupled with question and answer segments, formed the basis of the workshop. The audience was also given a closer scrutiny of his technique thanks, in part, to a 'live' video projection which was supplied by Media 21.

Among the topics discussed at the workshop was the need to develop effective practice routines, kit set-up and ergonomics, tuning, professional attitudes and determining the differences between 'overplaying' and 'underplaying'. The evening's highlights included impromptu addresses by veteran drummers, Barry Howard, Brian "Ragga" Williams, Vernon Headley and Jerry Banfield. Citing them as major influences on his career, Tony Mason advised the audience to research influential recordings that these individuals had previously worked on; inclusive of iconic tracks by the Mighty Sparrow, Shadow, Andre Tanker, Superblue and David Rudder to name a few.



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