I know that many CMS participants jumped at the chance to take private lessons with the various guiding artists who came through. When I was there in 1976, and CMS was housed in the old church in Mt. Tremper, drummer Barry Altschul came through.
I knew about Barry from listening to recordings of the group Circle with Barry, Anthony Braxton, Chick Corea, and Dave Holland. In fact, those were some of the most important recordings for turning my head in a direction that would allow me to see a path to the Creative Music Studio. (Truth to tell, though, it was “Bitches Brew,” “Live Evil,” and Jack DeJohnette that had the strongest pull.) So, I eagerly dug out the twenty bucks that Barry asked for a lesson. That was a lot of money at the time, especially for someone who had to pull together all the resources available to him just to get to Woodstock.
I don’t remember too much about the lesson. I do remember, though, that he encouraged me to find as many sounds in and on the drum set as possible. He had an exercise that he called “play a sound, play another sound,” which required that every sound (beat) that you play be followed by an entirely different, unrelated sound. So you could never hit the same drum, cymbal, stand, rim, etc., more than once consecutively.
Here’s a 2008 interview with Barry from All About Jazz. And if you poke around on YouTube, you’ll find a handful of videos that show Barry in Buenos Aires in 2010. He was there in December for Buenos Aires Jazz.10 Festival Internacional.
But here’s the real gem, folks. Check out this rare video of Circle in France in 1971: