Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jimmy Cobb - A View From The Side

Just a quick one today with a nice view of Jimmy Cobb in action:

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Thank you to everybody who came out to our big band show last Friday evening at Calgary's National Music Centre with the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble featuring tenor titan Ralph Bowen on saxophone. The band played great and we played to a very enthusiastic, full house. We are already looking forward to our next show on April 20th featuring Brad Turner on trumpet and the music of Kenny Wheeler. Thank you all for your continued support.

Now that I can catch my breath following that epic show (!) here's a few things making the rounds over here at Four on The Floor:

- This has been a great few weeks for Jazz drummers in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. In the last two weeks I've heard Jesse Cahill with the Cory Weeds/Steve Davis Quintet at Wine-Oh's (formerly known as the Beatniq), Lewis Nash with Christian McBride and the Monterey Jazz All-Stars and, this weekend, local drummers Tyler Hornby and Jon May with Ralph Bowen (also at the National Music Centre). Canadian Jazz drummer Morgan Childs will have his group through town this coming weekend and I'm quite looking forward to that.

Peter Hum over at recently caught up with Morgan Childs here:

And here's a little preview of what to expect from this group featuring Morgan on drums, Kelly Jefferson on tenor saxophone, Dave Restivo on piano and Jon Maharaj on bass:

- I was searching for something else this morning and came across this brief but cool footage of Dafnis Prieto from a recent clinic performance in Toronto at Long and McQuade:

- From George Colligan over at his blog Jazz Truth, here are some words about the great Jack DeJohnette:

- Check out this full-length concert of Bill Stewart with Pat Metheny and Larry Grenadier:

- What am I listening to these days?

Jerrold Dubyk "The Maverick" - Jesse Cahill (drums)

Jim Brenan "January" - Dana Hall (drums)

Cannonball Adderley "Things Are Getting Better" - Art Blakey (drums) and Milt Jackson (vibes)

Bobby Hutcherson "Natural Illusions" - Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)

Dave Douglas "Spirit Moves" - Nasheet Waits (drums)

Tardo Hammer "Look, Stop and Listen: The Music of Tadd Dameron" - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Chick Corea "Light as a Feather" - Airto Moreira (drums and percussion)

Phineas Newborn Jr. "We Three" - Roy Haynes (drums)

- Playing recently with saxophonist Ralph Bowen was really quite an experience, to say the least! The guy really knows his drums. While I don't have any footage of my own playing with Ralph and the CCAE big band from last Friday, here's a good one of Bowen playing with my fellow Canadian Jazz drumming blogger Ted Warren (on drums) from Toronto's Rex awhile ago on Bowen's catchy minor tune "Soul Proprietor":

Go Ted Go!!!

Thanks again everybody and have a great week y'all!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Matt Wilson Interviews Roy Haynes

When the Master speaks, we listen! Here's some inspiring words to muse over the weekend, from the great Roy Haynes as interviewed by Matt Wilson:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble Featuring Ralph Bowen

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble strikes again! My big band that I co-lead with saxophonist Mark DeJong hits the stage at the National Music Centre in Calgary this Friday evening. We'll be featuring our special guest, acclaimed jazz saxophonist Ralph Bowen, on a program of his original music arranged for Jazz orchestra. Don't miss this exciting evening of music. It's going to be epic!!!

The RBC Summit Jazz Series Presents:

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble with special guest saxophonist Ralph Bowen

Friday, January 25 - 7:30pm

National Music Centre
134 11 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB

Free admission!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

KWash with Benny Green

On Sunday evening I heard the "Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour" at the Epcor Centre in Calgary. The band featured an all-star lineup with the likes of Chris Potter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green and Lewis Nash. It was a great show and really featured the strengths and talents of the diverse musicians. In particular, the hook-up between bassist McBride, Benny Green on piano and drummer Lewis Nash was impeccable and a lesson in itself in the art of rhythm section playing. This was definitely one of the better shows I've heard in recent memory.

I searched around for some recent footage of Benny Green and came across this good one of his trio featuring Kenny Washington on drums:

Really dig the deep, relaxed, swinging and soulful groove that Washington gets at this slower tempo, especially when he switches to sticks. Now THAT is hard!!! In fact, I recall from an interview with Washington in a Modern Drummer magazine from the early 90s where Kenny stressed the importance of checking out Mel Lewis' slow cymbal beat on track "The Night Time Is The Right Time" from the album "Presenting Joe Williams and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis - The Jazz Orchestra".

One should never underestimate the importance of practicing one's ride cymbal beat at a VERY slow tempo. This is something that my teacher at McGill, Chris McCann, stressed way back during my undergrad days and I feel that being able to play that cymbal pattern in a relaxed AND accurate fashion really separates the men from the boys! I think it also really establishes one's ability to feel a definitive triplet subdivision and sets the stage for a really authentic sounding/feeling Jazz cymbal beat.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ed Thigpen on Jazz Drumming

I've posted some segments from this before, but here and in it's entirety (!), is an excellent drum master class featuring the legendary Ed Thigpen:

Special thanks to my European correspondent David Grebil who dug up this one!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Trilok Gurtu "Maati"

I've always admired percussionist Trilok Gurtu's sense of the term "World Music" and his blending of Indian classical music with Jazz, electronica and whatever else inspires his imagination. Here is a cool documentary courtesy of The DeWarists to enjoy over the weekend:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bobby Hutcherson meets Joey DeFrancesco

Just a nice one today of my vibraphone hero, the great Bobby Hutcherson with Joey DeFrancesco on the B3 Hammond Organ:

I think the vibes and organ make for a great combination and will certainly make a point of checking out the album these two did together, "Organic Vibes".

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ali Jackson Jr. Drum Lesson

Ali Jackson Jr. demonstrates a few different grooves to some very lucky young drum students:

In particular, check out his loose right hand grip while playing the ride cymbal!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Over Second Line

Today's drum lesson deals with playing a three-beat phrase over a popular New Orleans bass drum pattern. I've been messing around with this pattern for a few weeks now and it really twists your sense of timing around.

The inspiration for this exercise comes from mainly three sources:

First of all I have to credit Ted Warren over at his blog Trap'd Ted has a real knack for coming up with these ingenious (and very difficult) patterns and polyrhythmic exercises that will surely twist ones brain (and limbs!)

Also, I was fortunate to spend some time studying with drummer Yoron Israel at Berklee while I was performing in Boston for an extended period of time with the touring violin troupe Barrage back in 2004.

One of the things that Yoron had me practice was the rudimental etudes from Charles Wilcoxin's classic snare drum text "The All-American Drummer".

Except (and in the spirit of Alan Dawson!) Yoron had me play all the excerpts with the following New Orleans-inspired bass drum and hi-hat pattern accompanied in my feet:

If you haven't tried something like this I highly recommend it as it really helps one apply the rudiments to the drumset in a very practical and musical manner.

Furthermore, years ago while I was studying with Montreal drummer Michel Lambert while completing my masters degree at McGill University Michel often had me play familiar sticking patterns with some kind of foot ostinato. However, he would also have me place accents in odd places and spread them around the drums, hence taking me out of my comfort zone and creating fresh patterns and new ways of playing things I had already played a million times. Very clever, I thought...

So with those three drummers in mind I came up with this pattern to mess around with:

You'll see that this pattern is a three-bar phrase with the eighth-notes played in three-note groupings while the feet play the New Orleans groove underneath 4/4 (also known as the first bar of a 3-2 clave or the first bar of the "Bo Diddley" beat.)

Really emphasize the accents and play the eighth-notes as a hand-to-hand sticking RLRLRLRL etc. Because the accents of the snare drum and bass drum don't always line up, it has a bit of a sideways feeling to it.

Now here are some sticking variations to make things more interesting:





Once you've got that together then start moving the lead accent around the drums (for the two patterns that start with a double stroke, I keep them together).

- Move the lead hand around the drums in a clockwise direction

- Move the lead hand around the drums in a counter-clockwise direction

- Alternate the lead hand accents between the high tom and floor tom

*All the inner or "unaccented" notes stay on the snare drum

Obviously there are many more variations one could come up with but as Bob McLaren always like to say: "This is enough to keep you off the streets for awhile!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Carl Allen

Some friends of mine recently returned from the JEN conference in Atlanta and raved about, among many other things, Carl Allen's drum clinic entitled "The Shape of the Ride Cymbal". Carl is a great player that I've admired for a long time and he is also an excellent teacher and clinician (who also currently serves as the department head of the Jazz department at Juilliard). In fact, during some trips to New York about ten years ago I spent some time studying with Carl and absorbing his wisdom. To this day I still think about the important concepts about swing and music he laid on me.

The first time I heard him play live was during the summer of 2001 at the Montreal Jazz festival with Michael and Randy Brecker, pianist David Kikoski and bassist Peter Washington in a group labeled as "The Acoustic Brecker Brothers". It was a great band and a shame that they didn't record together (although I think there are a few bootlegs out there...)

Here's a nice shot of Carl in action with the reformed Jazztet with Benny Golson, Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller. Dig his solo that starts around the 1:25 mark:

And here's Carl with Christian McBride's exciting band "Inside Straight" featuring the awesome vibraphone playing of Warren Wolf on vibes:

Allen was also a member of the Benny Green Trio during the 90s and recorded some great albums with Benny including "Greens" and "Testifyin'!: Live at the Village Vanguard". Here's a good one to give you an idea as to what that trio was all about:

Carl has recorded extensively as a sideman and as a leader, however my personal favorite album that he appears on is a Rodney Whitaker date on the Criss Cross label entitled "The Brooklyn Sessions: Ballads and Blues":

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Monday Morning Paradiddle 2013

Welcome back everyone and I hope you all had a safe, sound and restful holiday season with you and yours. Thanks again for all your support and nice emails. All of us over here at Four on the Floor are looking forward to another year of blogging anything and everything related, or not, to the wide and wonderful world of Jazz drumming, the Jon McCaslin universe and beyond.

I personally had a great holiday at home over the holidays with my family and dug up these fine items for your perusal:

- I accidentally made a glaring omission in my "Best of 2012" list from my last post. While I consider Pimento's Pizzeria in Calgary's Bridgeland neighborhood to be my favorite pizza joint in town in fact I should mention that Vancouver's Pizzeria Barbarella is actually THE best pizza I've ever tasted. Thanks to Phil Dwyer who introduced me to this East Broadway gem last spring. Proprietor Terry Deane is also a fine Jazz tenor saxophonist as well. Check it out and you won't be disappointed (although please consider eating your pizza with a knife and fork at your own risk!)

- Drummer Eric Harland has been making some waves over the past few years with a variety of projects. I first heard Eric at the late-night jam session at the Blue Note in New York about ten years ago, playing with saxophonist Rick Margitza and was impressed even back then. Harland is quite the in-demand drummer these days and from this footage of him performing at a Berklee event, you can clearly see why:

I first heard Harland's name mentioned to me via some classmates of his who attended the Manhattan School of Music with him during the late 90s. Lately I've been really enjoying his work with Charles Lloyd and in particular the ECM record "Tales of Rumi" in which Lloyd and Harland are joined by tabla great Zakir Hussain.

- Joe Lovano has long been one of my favorite Jazz saxophonists and I really admire how he embraces such a wide spectrum of improvisation, dealing with straight-ahead standards to freer, more open contexts as well and all with great ease and a personal style. Here's Lovano demonstrating is affinity for playing with great drummers, in this case with the great Milford Graves:

- As I mentioned before, I was fortunate to spend some time studying with the great Joe LaBarbera earlier this fall. When I asked Joe what he considered to be Buddy Rich's "finest moment" Joe replied, and without hesitation: "The Hague 1978". Here's an excerpt from that concert (now available on DVD) and you can clearly see why (here's a hint: it's the blue sweater and large white collared shirt...)

- For my good friend Bryan Niblock, here's yet another one of Peter Erskine from a recent hit in France:

- I had the pleasure of playing a lot of Duke Ellington's music in December with several great big bands, including Duke and Billy Strayhorn's re-arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite. Ellington's music cannot be underestimated nor dismissed and it was a real lesson studying the drumming of Sam Woodyard and Louie Bellson, in particular, in advance of those gigs.

Here's a great one I recently discovered of tap dancer Bunny Briggs featured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra circa. 1965 with Louie Bellson on drums (possibly playing with a single bass drum?):

- I've been listening to and absorbing a lot of Bobby Hutcherson's music lately and I came across this wonderful article in which Hutcherson describes an incident while rehearsing with Eric Dolphy:

I strongly feel that Dolphy's message in that "Love Conquers All" still resonates today. Words to live by indeed...

Welcome back and have a great week everybody!