Monday, May 26, 2014

Jeff Hamilton Meets Stanton Moore

Who doesn't love a good drum battle?

Here's Jeff Hamilton and Stanton Moore going tete-a-tete:

Monday, May 19, 2014

El Peje

I was pleasantly surprised to see this one pop up the other day, featuring Cuban drummer Juan Carlos "El Peje" Rojas (with Chucho Valdez) thanks to the nice people over at Vic Firth:

I spent some time in Cuba during the fall of 2006 and it was a life-changing experience for me. This was in large part due to the time I spent studying and learning from "El Peje" (aka "The Fish"). I didn't speak any Spanish and he didn't speak any English however our mutual love for the drums and rhythm allowed us to communicate.

We spent a great deal of time working on contemporary/modern approaches to Afro-Cuban drum set playing and, in fact, almost eight years later I'm STILL trying to figure some of these things out!

He was really big into learning various cascara variations with the right hand and then playing counter-rhythms and syncopated figures against those with the left hand, between the snare and toms.

I hastily wrote down as many of these variations as I could at the time and will hopefully post these once I find them....

Monday, May 12, 2014

T.S.Monk @ Newport

This footage has a special place for me:

This piece featuring drummer T.S. Monk's sextet is from a 1992 A&E Channel televised special that featured performances from the Newport Jazz Festival. Most notably were footage of Monk's hard swinging outfit and Max Roach's quartet (including Roach performing a piece for solo hi-hat!) as well as Shirley Horn and Maceo Parker.

Being a young person, having only been exposed to Jazz music shortly before this, watching this program was a huge revelation for me (in fact, I videotaped this and watched it over and over again for years...) Growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan wasn't exactly a hot bed of Jazz music during the early 1990s so myself and my peers who were also hungry for anything Jazz-related were always eager to get our hands on anything we could. This one certainly made a huge impression on me. It's really amazing how formative experiences like this shape our direction, even years later. Watching that video of T.S. Monk instantly brings me back to another lifetime....

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Welcome to the May edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle. Here's my most recent compilation of random Jazz drumming related things that entertain me. Hope you dig it.

Blogging will slow down considerably over the next few months while I attempt to complete my Doctoral dissertation. But don't worry, there will be plenty more to come so check back often.

In the meantime, check out these stories making waves around the Four on the Floor offices these days:

- Check out this incredible collection of private recordings, radio broadcasts and other memorabilia relating to Paul Motian over at Uncle Paul's Jazz Closet:

- Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle continues with Part Two of his interview with the great Keith Copeland over at his blog Mostly Music:

- Brian Blade and the Fellowship have a new album out. Look for them on the cover of this month's issue of Downbeat magazine as well. Here is Blade is interviewed by NPR on the heels of his new release:

- This has been floating around the interweb for a while now but here's an audio recording of Philly Joe Jones giving a drum clinic at Rutgers circa. 1979:

- Duke Ellington was really into baseball but from the looks of it his "swing" was much better than his swing...still though, this is a great story:

- Here's studio great Harvey Mason commenting on his favourite drummers of Prestige:

- Thanks to Dylan Weist who hipped to this comprehensive series of bebop guru Barry Harris on youtube. I look forward to applying these concepts to the vibraphone eventually. Here he is talking about the importance of rhythm in Jazz music:

Check them all out, there is some serious wisdom and information there.

- Here's Joe Farnsworth in a brief solo taken at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (with bassist John Webber standing by...):

- Phil Dwyer is one of my all-time favourite musicians (and also happens to appear on my last album "Sunalta"!) Here he is with his son Ben on bass and Vancouver Island drummer Hans Verhoeven (another fellow McGill graduate) in some fine form, jazz trio action:

- Greg Hutchinson never fails to impress. I've really been digging that clinic he presented at Berklee that I posted recently. Here he is in action from another recent drum clinic:

- Speaking of drum clinics, here's Jeff Hamilton demonstrating a few important concepts:

- Johnathan Blake's on the road with Ravi Coltrane these days and boy does he sound really great. Dig this!

- When the Master's speak, we listen! Now listen to Ron Carter:

- What am I listening to these days?

Teddy Edwards "Together Again" - Ed Thigpen (drums)

Sheldon Zandboer and Trio Velocity "Like Water in Air" - Robin Tufts (drums)

 J.J. Johnson "Dial JJ5"- Elvin Jones (drums)

Mel Lewis "Mel Lewis Sextet" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Stan Levey/Red Mitchell "West Coast Rhythm" - Stan Levey (drums)

Alan Jones & Francois Theberge "Another View" - Alan Jones (drums)

Ralph Lalama "Bop Juice" - Clifford Barbaro (drums)

- A few words of wisdom from drummer Dave Grohl:

- And to finish today's column, today's "final word" today goes to these two distinguished gentlemen....

Any questions?

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Steve Lacy's Words of Wisdom

Steve Lacy is an artist that has always fascinated and inspired me. Here's a great list to learn from and muse over for the weekend!

"Gems of wisdom from Steve Lacy" (source unknown via the Facebook!)

- Teaching is an act of generosity; it is awareness that one has something to give, and adesire to give it.

- Music knows no limits. Don’t set up exclusionary boundaries.

- Practice slowly. Practicing slowly holds it own technical challenges-and makes even more difficult demands on the spirit. It calls for patience when the world demands results, and quiet single- minded focus in the face of huge repertoire demands. It is the ‘Zen’ way.

- Strive for straightforward purity and logical simplicity.

- Find rhythm in more subtle forms than a metronome. Always strive for forwardmotion and impetus. 

- Rhythm is all and everywhere.

- Strive to develop an individual sound and playing style. Have your own voice. 

- Be disciplined. Study and practice hard.

-Concentrate on pitch, rhythm, dynamics and tonal sonority.

- Expand your music making vocabularies by searching through some unusual lexicons.

- Think of it as "Sound Research": Collecting sounds and growing melodies in a garden.

- View the Saxophone as an "Interval Machine". Practice a variety of intervals in a variety of rhythmical combinations. 

- Never become fixed on patterned sequences that can become stale and block creativity.

- "Shake up the bag" inside of your head. Move out of the familiar and typical in order to be able to create something new.

- The interval machine can become Zen-like and expand perception. Take the interval of a minor second and play it up and down over and over again. After about 40 minutes you will no longer be bored and will start to hallucinate. The half step interval will become enormous. Your ear has changed. Small has now become large. Now, when you leave this space and go back to the rest of the horn, everything has changed and your perceptions have altered. Illumination and Metamorphosis.

- Take a limited subject and spend an unlimited amount of time on it until it opens up.

- Learn to let things cook!