Monday, September 25, 2017

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

And....we're back. I hope that your respective summer month's were productive, restful and now getting into the swing of things now that the fall season is upon us. With students and teachers going back to school in September I always feel inspired to start new projects and work on brilliant new ideas. Onwards and upwards. The learning never stops.

The minions over here at the Four on the Floor offices have been hard at work lately and here's what we've compiled for you with the latest edition of the The Monday Morning Paradiddle. As always, thank you for your support and enjoy!

- Check out Jack DeJohnette's latest cover feature from Modern Drummer magazine:

I found this piece quite interesting. In particular, when asked if he had any advice for young Jazz drummers, Jack replied:

"I recommend that they have knowledge of a melodic instrument..."

- From Scott K. Fish a similar sentiment from Max Roach on the importance of learning a melodic instrument:

- Paul Wells recently compiled this excellent listening list of 50 Jazz drumming recordings to check out, for Modern Drummer magazine:

- Seattle's Matt Jorgensen interviewed by

- Antonio Sanchez speaks about his latest offering "Bad Hombre":

- An archived radio interview with Max Roach from NPR's Hot Air:

-  Another suggested listening list, this time it's Elvin Jones from DRUM! Magazine:

 - More Elvin goodness, this time interviewed by former Santana rhythm man Michael Shrieve:

Thanks to Todd Bishop over at Cruiseship Drummer for this find!

- Kendrick Scott is interviewed over at the Drummer's Resource podcast:

- Dennis Mackrel is an incredible drummer that I've always enjoyed listening to. Here he is interviewed by Drummer Nation:

And also from Drummer Nation, here's Eastman drum professor Rich Thompson interviewed:

- Not one, not two but THREE interviews with the great Art Blakey":

- More Jack DeJohnette, this time in a little "percussion discussion" with percussionist Don Alias:

- An Interview with Jeff "Tain" Watts from The Trap Set:

- Christian McBride offers some important advice drawn from his own life experience:

- What am I listening to these days?

Dexter Gordon "A Swingin' Affair" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Brad Mehldau & Joshua Redman "Nearness"

David Friesen "The Name of a Woman" - Alan Jones (drums)

Ulysses Owens Jr. "Falling Forward" - Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums)

Steve Lacy "Only Monk"

Brandi Disterheft "Blue Canvas" - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

- And today's Last Word goes to the immortal Art Blakey (via Bobby Sanabria):

"What the people want is FIRE." - Art Blakey

Thursday, September 21, 2017

John Riley en Italia

From earlier this summer, here's John Riley in a masterclass in Italy (with translation!) As always, John's playing is great as is his ability to break down, explain and demonstrate many important concepts.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tootie for President

Thanks to Roberto Gatto who shared this footage of Albert "Tootie" Heath, taken from "Drummer's Row" at the famed Village Vanguard, while performing with his brother, Jimmy Heath. Dig the very clever Calypso beat that Tootie plays on Blue Mitchell's "Funji Mama":

Monday, September 11, 2017

Carl Allen Speaks

Another masterclass today from the University of New Orleans, here's Carl Allen sharing some words of wisdom:

And to put things into context, here's Allen in some swinging piano trio action with Benny Green on piano and Ben Wolfe on bass:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Shannon Powell Speaks

New Orleans drummer Shannon Powell (The "King of Treme") is an important drummer in my own early development. During the early 1990s when I was first developing ears for Jazz music, Powell was the first Jazz drummer that I saw on television. It was on a Harry Connick Jr. New Year's Eve special from London, England that featured Connick's big band with string orchestra and trio featuring Ben Wolf on bass and Powell on drums. I was quite impressed and inspired by Shannon's Powell's drum feature on Connick's up tempo arrangement of Stompin' at the Savoy and for me the rest, as they say, was history...

Thanks to the kind folks over at the University of New Orleans, here's an hour long masterclass with his majesty:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

George Marsh - Inner Drumming

Back in 2004 I was fortunate to study with Matt Wilson in New York City thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. A concept that Matt  often stressed in our lessons was the important idea of "flow" when dealing with the drum set from a physical perspective. This would lead him to also introduce to me some concepts and ideas that he had learned from George Marsh, the author of the book "Inner Drumming".

George Marsh has recently published his book entitled "Inner Drumming" and it consists of a very unique method and approach to moving around the drums. Combining a very clever and boundless approach to coordination combined with a Zen-like approach to movement and how we physically interpret and connect those coordinated patterns , Marsh offers a fresh direction to the drum set which I recommend to everyone. It all makes you think and play outside of your "box".

Here is a recent masterclass with George Marsh from Drum Channel in which he explains and demonstrates the concepts behind Inner Drumming:

Marsh was also kind enough to answer a few questions I had about Inner Drumming, his concepts and the book:

1) What is "Inner Drumming" and what prompted you to publish this book?

Inner Drumming is the study of internal movement from limb to limb when we play drums. It is done very slowly to insure maximum awareness of what it feels like to play with just one limb, then two, then three and finally all four. 

2) How is your method unique from other drumming methods?

It’s the only book that I know of that deals with energy flow internally with extensive exercises to help in that development.

3) What do you hope drummers will take away from studying your book?

I want drummers to realize that the sounds they are creating are part of the internal flow of energy before, during, and after the sounds they make with each limb. This helps remove blockages that get in the way of playing what you hear. And what you hear starts to become one with the increased internal awareness.

4) What other drummers, musicians and/or life experiences and philosophies have influenced "Inner Drumming”?

Jazz music and the call to say something meaningful on the drums has driven me. My need to connect as deeply as possible in my body so that I could let go and create from a timeless place. A way to practice that gets rid of stuck patterns.

5) Who would be examples of other drummers/musicians/artists/athletes that might display the qualities you promote through your book and teachings?

Terry Bozzio, Steve Gadd, Bernard Purdie, Matt Wilson, David Garibaldi, Joey Baron, Elliot Humberto Kavee, Michael Vatcher, Jennifer Wilsey, Garth Powell, Steve Smith, on and on.

6) Any clues as to your next project? (books, performances, recordings, workshops, etc.)

I have a new CD called “Expedition" with Denny Zeitlin which is being received very positively. 

Here’s a link to a review on Huffington Post: 

And another review on Something Else:

I’ve written hundreds of studies dealing with cross rhythms, odd time signatures, roll studies, tuplet studies and I am also thinking about starting a monthly on-line group lesson on Inner Drumming.