WELCOME TO FOUR ON THE FOUR: A BLOG ABOUT JAZZ DRUMMING AND ALL THINGS UNRELATED, BROUGHT TO YOU BY JON McCASLIN

Monday, March 25, 2019

Billy Hart & Victor Lewis on Tony Williams













Well, what a pleasant surprise this is! Thank you to Han Verhoeven and all the Jazz drummers out there who found and posted this on Facebook last week. Here's a couple of real Jazz Warriors, Billy Hart and Victor Lewis, speaking on the legacy of Tony Williams:


Billy Hart & Victor Lewis - Jazz Drummers Pt. 1 from Anthony Subietas on Vimeo.


Billy Hart & Victor Lewis - Jazz Drummers Pt. 2 from Anthony Subietas on Vimeo.

As always: When the Masters speak, we listen.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Feet First!























A simple, little exercise today that I call "Feet First!"

The general idea is that you play a quiet, sustained buzz, double or single stroke roll on the snare drum with your hands along with a steady stream of eighth-notes between the bass drum and hi-hat with your feet.

Use the first page of Stick Control to orchestrate these eighth-notes with your feet as follows:

R = Bass Drum

L = Hi-Hat (either as an open "splash" sound or as a tight, closed "chick" sound)

The point of this exercise is to lead things rhythmically with your feet. All to often as drum set players our feet take a backseat to what we are doing with our hands. This is intended to be a simple way to get you thinking about leading with your feet (or from the "bottom up").

I would practice this playing whatever snare drum roll you choose around a piano or mezzoforte dynamic level while the feet should be a solid forte.

Thank you Ted Warren for the inspiration for this one!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Up Close with Ralph Peterson Jr.























A couple of wonderful, up-close and very informative clips of Ralph Peterson Jr. drumming to check out today:



And here's another one, featuring some really great brushwork:



Dig how Peterson isn't afraid to really PLAY the brushes and dig into the drums.

I also really appreciate the fact that Ralph isn't afraid to play a larger set-up, with a reasonably large compliment of drums and cymbals. I've been trying to add more cymbal colours to my regular set-up lately but it requires a heavier hardware bag or an extra trip to the car for the extra stands (!) I've also personally never really been into a two-tom up top tom tom set-up as I find that it messes with my ride cymbal positioning too much (although, I really did try for a period of time!) I will, however, add an extra, larger floor tom to my set-up from time to time (something along the lines of what Bill Stewart frequently does...)

Also, in case you haven't, be sure to check out Peterson's excellent Jazz drumming instructional DVD over at JazzHeaven.com

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jason Brown & Max Roach's Hollywood Meazzi Drum Kit on Wheels























I thought this was pretty cool. Here's Jason Brown performing a little tribute to Max Roach on Max Roach's very own unique set of Hollywood Meazzi drums (on wheels no less....perhaps to facilitate a quick exit?):



I might consider finding a set of these myself if I can figure out how to install a motor...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Conversations with Louis Hayes















Another great interview from the nice folks over at NYU Steinhardt, this time with legend Louis Hayes:



And in case you need reminding:



As always when the Masters speak, we listen...

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Eric Binder "10 Snare Drum Etudes for Improvisation, Vol.1"























Without a doubt we all need to spend time working on our rudiments and snare drum technique. As I always stress to students in lessons and in workshops, the snare drum rudiments represent an important foundation for what we do as drummers. However, assembling these patterns into practical and meaningful musical phrases can be a stumbling block for many. Books like Anthony Cirone's "Portraits in Rhythm", Charlie Wilcoxin's "Modern Rudimental Swing Solos and methods from the likes of Alan Dawson go a long way to address this. However, given the solutions that already exist, further resources are always welcome as well.

Fortunately for us, Eric Binder is releasing a new book of snare drum etudes (the first of many, from the looks of it) and he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his recent book. Check it out!

Eric Binder - The Four on the Floor Interview
"10 Snare Drum Etudes for Improvisation, Vol.1"
March 2019

1) Tell us all about your book! What is it all about and what are the goals of your text?

This is a snare drum etude book that uses rudimental jazz vocabulary to create snare drum solos meant to begin students on their journey to gaining greater facility necessary to improvise in a jazz setting. This is the first book of the series so it is approachable for any drummer. In the later volumes, there will be more dense jazz vocabulary in the style of Philly Joe, Art Blakey, and many others.

2) What was the motivation and inspiration for putting together this method?

My motivation for this book was mainly my students and conversations I’ve had with other teachers. One of the most common things I get asked is, “I learned my rudiments, now what do I do with them?” My first response is always directing them to records, but so few students really LISTEN and actually take away what’s going on. In my etude book, I give students phrases using common rudiments. As you will see when playing these etudes, much of the rudimental ideas are just common jazz vocabulary reminiscent of Elvin Jones, Baby Dodds, Roy Haynes and others.

3) How does your book differ from other snare drum method books currently on the market? What makes it unique?

My “go to” snare books are Modern Rudimental Swing Solos (Wilcoxon) and Portraits in Rhythm (Cirone). I also use Smitty’s Rudimental Ritual. While these books are absolutely incredible and invaluable, most students seem unable to connect the material to improvising on the drum set. I feel that my approach to writing these etudes and the ways I direct students to play them make my method different.

4) How do you recommend students and teachers approach working through your materials?

The first thing for students to do is learn the material at the marked tempi. Some of these etudes can be quite challenging if you don’t have your hands together. I say it for this book, but I ALWAYS say it - PLAY WITH A METRONOME. Students should first play through with the click on all four beats, then just two and four, then one click per measure, and eventually one click every two bars. These etudes are best utilized when playing them with hi-hat on two and four and bass drum “feathering” all four beats. They really feel like a “solo” at that point.

5) What are some of the challenges of putting together a drum method book? What advice do you have for anybody potentially interested in publishing their own book?

Putting together any major work whether it be a method book, composition, or thesis is a major undertaking. There are so many small steps that people do not realize, and each step must be precisely executed. Luckily, this past year I just completed my dissertation which prepared me for the task of writing this method. It is a learning process still and I have already begun work on other book projects.

To anyone looking to publish, I suggest reaching out to someone who has published before. Thankfully I had some wonderful insight from saxophonist Adam Larson. There are just so many idiosyncrasies about publishing a book.

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To learn more about Eric's new book, visit his website or email him directly at ericbinderx@gmail.com
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