Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Gerry Gibbs!

I was only vaguely aware of drummer/composer Gerry Gibbs until I befriended him on the Facebook but I very quickly became a huge fan. I initially knew that he was the son of the legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs but once I was introduced to his eclectic musical world I've been very impressed and inspired by his wide and diverse approach to music. With projects ranging from trios with the likes of Kenny Barron and Ron Carter to big bands and electric tributes to Weather Report, Gerry Gibbs (aka "The Trasher") covers a lot of imaginative musical terrain.

Fortunately for us, Gibbs has recently created the Gerry Gibbs Drum Channel over at the YouTube which contains a collection of incredible original compositions, all featuring his impressive and creative drumming.

Check these out as their are lots of cool and unique things going on here:

Gerry also has another YouTube channel that contains many great clips of various performances from throughout his career.

Also here's a recent interview with Gibbs from last summer from ArkivJazz in which he talks about his latest recording project Our People and an older 2015 interview from Modern Drummer magazine.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Jeff Williams

And...we're back.

New York's Jeff Williams is an incredible drummer and a formidable composer who's been around and whose extensive resume speaks for itself. He is a really unique drummer who plays and writes like no one else.

Here's a series of interviews with Jeff in which he speaks to some formative experiences from working with the Masters:

And here's a 2019 feature from NPR and then a brief drum solo to finish up today's blog post:

Friday, February 7, 2020

Zildjian: Then & Now

If you are into cymbals (like I am...) then this is the blog post for you! 

Originally founded in Turkey, the Zildjian cymbal company was established in the year 1623. Passed down through generations, Zildjian continues to make amazing cymbals that are played by the world's greatest drummers and percussionists.

The nice people over at the Avedis Zildjian cymbal company (in conjunction with the Memphis Drum Shop) recently released this series of YouTube videos featuring Paul Francis and John Riley.  In these segments they talk about the legacy of cymbal making at Zildjian as well as the background behind their signature cymbal lines (such as their Avedis, A, Kerope and K Constantinople cymbals).

There is a wealth of knowledge and information to be found here. Please take the time to check these out and learn something about the great cymbals that Zildjian is producing these days and some history behind these amazing instruments.

And on a personal related/unrelated note....I recently acquired this somewhat hard to find 20" inch K Constantinople Flat Ride that I am particularly fond of. It took me some hunting around to find it but I'm sure glad that I did as it's a really nice cymbal!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Elvin's Wisdom 2.0

More great wisdom from Emperor Jones himself with special thanks to Adam Nussbaum who passed along these quotes, compiled by Norman Grossman.

A per usual, when the Masters speak, we listen!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Lewis Nash: In Focus

Drummer Lewis Nash has always been a personal favourite of my mine. His deep sense of swing and his commitment to the music has long played an important role and influence on my own drumming.

Today we offer a diverse collection of videos and articles which feature this important musician.

- A recent feature with Lewis Nash from PBS Arizona where he talks extensively about his career and his approach to the drums:

- Here is a series of articles from Ted Panken featuring interviews originally published in Downbeat magazine plus two interviews from WKCR

- An older one from the early 2000s but pretty spectacular none-the-less, a Nash-led band featuring Regina Carter, Steve Wilson, Kenny Barron and Peter Washington:

- And finally, here's a brief glimpse of a "percussion discussion" between Lewis Nash and Matt Wilson from the Oregon Coast Jazz Party:

Thursday, January 30, 2020

On the Road: Triplets & Bass Drum in the Middle

Practicing and keeping in shape (both drum wise AND physically!) can often be a challenge while on the road. Long car rides followed by short or drawn out sound checks often make it very difficult to fit in any sort of regular or productive practice routine while touring with a band.

One simple solution I have that works for me is to focus on ONE single idea or concept for a duration of time and then make the most of it during whatever limited practice time I may have. I also take my small, travel-size practice pad, a metronome and a pair of headphones with me everywhere I go.

I've recently been touring Alberta with vocalist and former CBC radio show host Tim Tamashiro, performing his tribute to the Rat Pack entitled "When You're Smiling". Here is a deceptively simple rhythmic concept that I've recently kept in my back pocket and have been trying to work on while on the road these days.

Bass Drum in the Middle

As you can see from the notation above, the pattern is fairly straight forward. It is a combination of triplets voiced between the hands and feet, with the second triplet played on the bass drum. Furthermore, pay attention to the specific sticking pattern as written (it's basically double strokes phrased as a shuffle).

I find this to be a tricky rhythm! Why is that you may ask? Well, for me anyways, it's close enough to many other hand-to-hand/bass drum triplet patterns that I've already been playing for years BUT just different and unfamiliar enough to make it feel slightly uncomfortable and make it a challenge. However, I might argue that whenever you play or practice something that is uncomfortable and takes you out of your comfort zone that this is actually a good thing!

I've also found this simple little rhythm a good balance exercise on the drums.

Of course you can orchestrate the hands between the tom toms/cymbals however you want and it's probably a good idea to play the hi-hat on 2&4 or all four quarter notes as well.

*Heck you could even replace the bass drum and play those notes with the hi-hat (or why not play both feet together?)

**If you were feeling motivated (and have the time!) you could also go through the first few pages of Stick Control and play the columns down using the same concept above (ie. play the lines on the snare drum as a shuffle between the hands and then insert the bass drum on the second triplet of each beat).

Anyways, it's a simple idea but it's easy to remember and it has also kept me engaged pratice-wise while on the road lately.

Remember, take it slow and keep it swinging!