Did Vinnie Ruggiero Create Alan Dawson’s Swiss Rudiment Innovations?

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Alan Dawson

SKF NOTE: In a large manila envelope full of letters and cards I saved from my years at Modern Drummer, I found a handwritten letter from Alan Dawson. Mr. Dawson’s letter is dated August 21, 1981, which is, as I write, 35-years ago to the day.

“Here’s a list of the swiss rudiments that you requested…..” Dawson’s letter begins. That is a reference, I believe, to a request from my friend, drummer Paul T. Riddle, who was still with the Marshall Tucker Band, and who was — and I’m sure remains — a great Alan Dawson admirer.

Before interviewing Alan Dawson for MD, I asked Paul if he had any questions for Alan Dawson. And I believe Paul asked if I could get a copy of the Alan Dawson’s swiss rudiments. I don’t think Alan had any copies when I interviewed him — and he must have mailed me a copy of the rudiments and innovations.

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Vinnie Ruggiero

What I missed in Alan’s letter — until I re-read it a few days ago — is his sentence, “the [Swiss Rudiments] “INNOVATIONS” which I believe originated from a drummer-teacher in upstate New York. I think his name is Vinnie Vigerro. (I’m not at all certain of this.)”

Surely, Alan Dawson was referring to Vinnie Ruggiero from Rochester, NY. As I wrote in an earlier post, since the early 1980’s I have personally heard stories about Vinnie Ruggiero from great Rochester, NY Joe English and Roy McCurdy. I’m sure in 1981 when I read Alan Dawson’s letter I had no idea who he was talking about.

Is Vinnier Ruggiero the originator of the Swiss Rudiments Innovations Alan Dawson uses in his teaching?

I don’t know. Jon McCaslin points out that Vinnie’s drum method book is now available from Vinnie’s son. And with the internet as a way of connecting with other drummers — I can’t think of a better time to find the definitive answer.

Finally, I smiled reading Alan Dawson’s reference to “a talented little drummer by the name of Terri Lyne Carrington….” Indeed!

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Vinnie Ruggiero Photo Credit

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