Chapman Sticks, Warr Guitar and all that (Fusion) Jazz

[First posted at]

I learnt about this music DVD from a High Browse Online review:

NLB Call No.: 782.42166 KIN [ART]
Format: DVD
Music Village at the Library@Esplanade
Click here for item availability

What really got me interested in the DVD was this initial comment in the blog post, about “Chapman Sticks”.

A what?!

It’s a musical instrument. This is what a Chapman Stick looks like:

Some screenshots from the “deja VROOOM” DVD:
Chapman Stick - King Crimson: Deja Vroom (1) Chapman Stick - King Crimson: Deja Vroom (2)

From the Wikipedia entry and other websites, I learnt that:

  • Emmett Chapman invented it in 1969. He wrote this 1987 article, “The evolution of a musical art” (posted at Stick.Com).
  • The instrument is sometimes referred to as “The Stick”. Players could be called “Stickists“.
  • They use the tapping technique for the Chapman Stick (“sticking” would sound rather odd).
  • There’s a similar instrument called the Warr Guitar, named after its inventor, Mark Warr (do we call people who play the Warr Guitar “Warrists”? Sounds fierce, heh).

Greg Howard demonstrates how the Chapman Stick is played:

The High Browse Online review wrote highly of one of the featured musician called Bill Bruford. I learnt that he’s a drummer. Here’s a screenshot of his drum improvisation in the DVD:
Bruford - King Crimson: Deja Vroom
It’s not a very long segment (unfortunately).

King Crimsom’s “deja VROOOM” (that’s three “O”s) isn’t all about the Chapman Stick. It’s Fusion Jazz I think, a musical genre that I not really familiar with. I always tell myself it’s important to force myself to explore things that don’t normally fall within my immediate preference. I won’t like everything I try of course, but in this case, the DVD is quite a gem.

Oh, and here’s an observation about the review of library materials on the Web: Simply publishing information about the library item don’t necessarily result in the use/ loan of the item. What might make a difference is the discussion (comments, feedback, complaints, compliments etc.) about it.

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