On Tuesday, October 6, you’re invited to join us for a FREE ONLINE hour-long clinic from M.I.J.O frontman and drum educator Adolfo Torres! Torres is a celebrated drummer who focused on Afro-Cuban and Fusion styles while studying with us at The Collective from 2006-2009. He worked intensively under the likes of the late Kim Plainfield, while also pursuing linear funk with Frank Katz and learning Odd Meters and Polyrhythms with Fred Klatz. This Tuesday at 5pm, Adolfo joins us not as a student, but a teacher for our ever-popular online clinic series!
The course, taught and curated by Torres, will discuss “Modern Rock and Vocabulary.” as Torres’ signature M.I.J.O sound employs elements of his studies at The Collective with his passion for progressive rock. Torres will be performing, discussing his technique and the current rock landscape at large, and even taking a live Q&A from the LiveStream chat!
I was actually able to sit down with Torres in preparation for this event, where we were able to have a great conversation about his Collective experience. Adolfo was eager to chat about his time at the school. His selflessness and appreciation for his mentors and influences stayed up front and key when talking about The Collective.
“I discovered The Collective in the early 2000’s while visiting my sister when she was living in NYC. I’d go every summer.” Torres began. “I was already deeply into drumming. I’d buy sticks, and I’d buy cymbals while in town. One time, we went to a now closed music store: Manny’s Music. I asked some of the guys working there, ‘Where can I get some lessons to learn the Moeller technique?’ Because I was obsessed with trying to learn it.” He laughed for a second. “I almost couldn’t believe it when they told me, ‘No, No. You gotta go to this School by Union Square just for drummers.’ I mean, a school for drummers only? No Way! The rest was history. I went and wound up taking six lessons that summer, and I was ready to enroll by age 18.”
It seemed like Torres was hooked on The Collective very quickly. He seemed to admire the faculty and hold them in extremely high regard. Torres elaborated on this: “When I came to the school, I was really into bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra. I also really wanted to learn linear funk, and Frank Katz was like, the linear guy…He’s one of the best drummers ever. Frank is a virtuoso, a genius. Our lessons were just great, and intense. But there was always room for conversation, we could just sit down and talk about whatever. I’d work on the homework he left me, and every single time I came back the next day, I really felt like I had grown when I’d come back and show him how much I worked my butt off on what he gave me.” Later, Torres would comment, “I remember that Frank would only play the kit like, maybe once every three months. People would gather around the little windows into the practice rooms and yell for everyone else to come watch. It was amazing.”
When discussing his influences, Torres was reminded of when Fred Klatz began teaching him about odd meters. “(Odd Meters) is a big influence for me. I remember I used to listen to a lot of Mahavishnu Orchestra in the practice rooms, Kirk Covington, too. Just trying to learn the little notes. It was after Fred began teaching me that he saw my interests and said, ‘Vinnie Colaiuta, man! I think you’re gonna like him.’ and I loved him” Torres laughed again, clearly thinking fondly on even the smallest detail he could recall.
Torres then spoke of Kim Plainfield. “Kim was very influential. We had this one course where we recorded a new tune every Friday. It was really high pressure, but Kim made it worthwhile and so much fun.” He would later note that, “Kim truly cared about us. He used to give everyone in our program a nickname…Mine was ‘Double Blow’ because I apparently had these really fast chops.” Torres went on to explain he’d fondly remember him as well as Peter Retzlaff, Ian Froman, and all of the teachers, “Even the ones I didn’t even take lessons with,” because they cared about him and the students so much.
Through the conversation, Torres explained what he found at the core of his Collective experience. “I’ve never been so close to people who wanted to see me grow. At times I was selfish and only practiced my own stuff. But now, ten years later, I’m still practicing the rudimental ritual. They gave me the tools to explore and question the music that I love, and find new ideas. The Collective gave me a sense of direction for myself and with what I wanted to do. I miss the place.” Torres smiled warmly.
Be sure to tune in at 5pm EST for this exciting opportunity to see an extremely talented alumnus of The Collective share his knowledge and experience with you. Make sure you register online NOW or if you’d like to book an online lesson with some of the fantastic faculty members Adolfo Torres mentioned in our interview, please go to the Book Private Lessons Page to learn more!