Monday, June 25, 2012

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well, it's Jazz festival season here in Canada and while Calgary still doesn't have an organized festival since its untimely demise two years ago, there is still lots going around here these days.  There are no names like Wayne Shorter or Dave Holland playing around these parts, but given the amount of world-class local talent playing on a nightly basis along with the occasional touring Canadian group (such as the likes of the Shuffle Demons and bassist Chris Tarry's band) there is still a lot of good Jazz music to catch around town.
You just have to dig around a little bit, that's all. Hopefully, things will get back on track and we can except Calgary to get back in the loop in years to come (sooner than later, I hope!)

Personally, the last week has been busy and I've had some really incredible musical experiences. On Friday evening I played with Juno award-winning saxophonist and pianist Phil Dwyer and bassist Jodi Proznick at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club and that was certainly one for the books! The Beatniq has recently changed ownership and it remains to be seen what their new policy regarding live Jazz in that room will ultimately be but I guess time will tell. One thing is for sure though, I've sure experienced many great nights of music in that room over the years and I'm sure that the Jazz community in this city (artists and audience members alike) will ultimately find outlets to experience live Jazz on a regular basis in Calgary, one way or another.

Here's a photo of the house drum kit currently sitting in the Beatniq. These Gretsch Catalina drums belong to local fixture John DeWaal and they really sing when tuned up properly with die-cast hoops on the toms. Those are my Zildjian K Constantinople cymbals thrown in the mix:

- Bassist Dale James has recently been sending me some fantastic real-time updates from Edmonton where he had the pleasure of hearing Wayne Shorter with John Patitucci, Danilo Perez and Brian Blade (thanks Dale!)

Dale also forwarded me this great interview with drummer Matt Wilson courtesty of NPR:

- Thanks to vibraphonist Jay Hoggard who posted this movie clip of Max Roach and Pearl Bailey on a number entitled "Beat Out That Rhythm On A Drum" via the Facebook:

That's Max Roach - the movie star!

- Since we don't have an organized Jazz festival here in Calgary I've been following (with envy and admiration!) Peter Hum's excellent daily coverage of the Ottawa Jazz Festival over at his fine blog

Keep 'em coming Peter!

- My good friend Jerome Jennings is really playing some great drums these days. Here he is in some guitar trio action with guitarist Barry Greene:

Jerome is currently teaching this week in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with my good friend Mark Dejong, part of the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival's Jazz education intensive. Look for their new album recently released with the Outer Bridge Ensemble.

-I've been playing a lot of vibraphone lately. Thank you to bassist Stefano Valdo, my very patient partner-in-crime, who has been pushing me on every gig of late.

Here's my lovely set of Musser M-55's from Saturday's hit at the Belfry on 8th Ave SW:

Just for the record: I LOVE playing the vibes, but I HATE moving them in the rain!!!

- I recently came across a large stack of music and scores from Kenny Wheeler's composition masterclass that I attended in 1997 at the Banff International Jazz Workshop. There is a wealth of information in these pages and I look forward to studying these pieces more throughly (and hopefully playing them!) over the summer months. They also brought back a flood of memories from what was a very memorable and important summer for me in terms of my development as an artist. Thank you Kenny!

- Sometimes I wish that could play the drums with the same sense of humor that Gary Larson (creator of  the "Far Side") does when he draws his cartoons:

Although, if you ask me, I'd say that Matt Wilson comes pretty close!


  1. I'm a catalina owner myself and don't know how to really get a nice sound out of the toms...

    could you please elaborate on the die-cast hoops and how to properly tune them?

    much appreciated!

  2. Drop me a line at and I'll gladly offer my two cents (Canadian!) on my experience tuning and playing with the Gretsch Catalina bop kits. Thanks!