Monday, June 29, 2015


And now a few words about Billy Higgins...

Here's a few more pieces to check out....

- Nasheet Waits offers his favourites recordings of Billy Higgins:

- A drummer's roundtable discussion on the legacy of his drumming:

- And two more interviews and some words of wisdom with the man himself:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lewis Nash with Renee Rosnes

Today we bring you a complete concert featuring the stellar quartet of pianist Renee Rosnes with Steve Nelson on vibes, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums:

I recently heard this very same band in Toronto at the Jazz Bistro during the Toronto Jazz Festival. They are currently touring the Canadian Jazz festival circuit. I believe they will also be recording together this summer (lucky for us!)

The music I heard was outstanding and they exhibited a certain group sympatico that only comes from playing together for a very long time (in my estimation likely around 30 years given the different circumstances they have collectively played in...) I really identify with the style and sound of Jazz music in which these four music exhibit both individually and collectively.

I actually had the best seat in the house (!) and found myself directly behind Nash's drums (nice to see that the Jazz Bistro in Toronto has inadvertently continued the tradition of the "drummer's row", a strategically placed group of seats, not unlike those at the Village Vanguard, where you can enjoy an intimate and unobstructed view of the drummer...)

Nash's drumming was, of course, exceptional. I've seen him play many times but this time I was really drawn to his clear and constant orchestrations of not only the melody, arrangement and form but also the soloist in question. His ears and priorities are always tuned to the music and it all adds up to a very satisfying musical and hard swinging result. Quite a lesson indeed!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dave Laing "Joy Spring"

Another post today featuring the amazing Dave Laing, my former drum teacher at McGill University (Montreal, QC).

Here's Dave demonstrating how to orchestrate melodic ideas around the drum set, in this case Clifford Brown's transcribed trumpet solo from the Max Roach/Clifford Brown hit tune "Joy Spring":

This is very impressive and a stark reminder of how much vocabulary and creative information we can gain from studying solos of jazz musicians of ANY instrument, not just the drums.

In fact, when I interviewed Dan Weiss for my doctoral research he spoke at length about how this particular concept has influenced and informed his own "melodic" approach to the drum set.

Boston's Bob Gullotti also spoke to me extensively about how he teaches students how to learn melodic drum solo vocabulary by means of studying Charlie Parker's solos and phrases found within the pages of the Charlie Parker Omnibook. I've been investigating these ideas myself and find it a fascinating study.

Well, back to the drawing board/woodshed...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Conversations with "The Birdman"

An insightful interview and "conversation" today with the world's "Birdman" of the drums, Antonio Sanchez:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dave Laing!

I've posted a few of these clips from him before but, there's more! Here's Montreal's Dave Laing demonstrating many of his talents (actually in addition to being a great player he's also a GREAT teacher!) In particular dig his use of the hi-hat/bass drum ostinato underneath the Delecluse snare etude in the last clip:

Dave was my teacher at McGill during the late 90s and he continues to inspire with his great playing, hard swinging drive and creative spirit.

Keep 'em coming Dave!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ali Jackson Jr. on Rhythm

Jazz @ Lincoln Center's Ali Jackson Jr. demonstrates a few important rhythms we should all consider: