Here are Matt's touching words of praise and tribute to his friend, Charlie Haden:
"When my wife Felicia and I found out we were having triplets my dear friend and mentor Dewey Redman urged me to call Charlie for support. I recall saying, " Hello Charlie, this is Matt Wilson. and I need to talk to you, but not about music. My wife and I are having triplets." He said, "Wow, man, that is great, man. I am on another call I'll be right back."And he was. We talked for over an hour. It was a beautiful conversation and his words of support were encouraging. Charlie has a son, Josh, and triplet daughters Petra, Tanya and Rachel. I have a daughter, Audrey, and triplet sons Max, Henry and Ethan. 8 kids, 4 ages.We called ourselves the Fathers of Triplets Rhythm Team. The first time I played with Charlie was in the fall of 2003. We played a concert in San Francisco with Dewey and Joshua Redman. I recall, from the very first beat, how buoyant and comfortable the time felt. Charlie's walking feel seem to purr. It was strong but patient and the shape of his sound embraced the cymbal melody like a big warm hug. It was heaven to play sounds with him. I was thrilled when he phoned and asked me to play in the Liberation Music Orchestra not long after that gig. We rehearsed and started the tour at the Montreal Jazz Festival in the summer of 2004. Also in Montreal, I was honored to play with Charlie and Dewey Redman in a trio concert. I had been playing with Dewey since 1994 and to be included in this setting was a career highlight. They even had me do the set list. I can recall saying out loud to myself in between tunes, "I am really here. This is not a dream. This is UNBELIEVABLE!" There is a bootleg of it out there somewhere that I would love to have. The Liberation Music Orchestra experience was special. The arrangements by Carla Bley were extraordinary and the members of the band not only blended musically but personally. We were a real family and the memories of music and fellowship will always be dear to me. I remember playing a rock club with the band in Los Angeles. During a solo I had in the middle of a "America the Beautiful" I strapped on the snare drum and marched the audience out onto the sidewalk in front of the club and then back inside. As I returned I thought to myself, "This could very well be my last night with the band." I sat back down and turned back to look at Charlie with a bit of apprehension. He was smiling and gave me an approving thumbs up along with, "Wooo, Matt Wilson. Yeah man!" My daughter Audrey really loved Charlie. They really connected after she first met him. Charlie and his wife Ruth, who were always very kind to Felicia, me and the children, invited me to bring the kids to see a screening of the documentary about Charlie, Ramblin' Boy, at the Walter Reade Theater. This was not long after Felicia was diagnosed with leukemia so I brought Audrey and Ethan to the the theater as a distraction. The film was fantastic and we enjoyed it immensely. While watching, Audrey, who was 12 at the time, counted how many times in the film Charlie said, "Man." After the film and discussion we went up to say hello to Charlie and Ruth and thank them for the invitation. Charlie saw Audrey and greeted her with, " Hi Audrey, nice to see you man." Audrey replied, "Hi Charlie, it is nice to see you."She then quickly whispered in my ear, "Number 39."Priceless. I loved talking on the phone with Charlie and tried to do so on regular basis. I remember him playing mixes of the LMO recording, Not In Our Name, over the phone. Charlie always had a good joke to two to share along with political discussions. The last time I spoke with him was on June 16 the day after my wife Felicia lost her battle with leukemia. It was brief. His voice was weak but his words were strong. Charlie Haden - "I love you man! " I am eternally grateful for the amazing fun we had on the bandstand, the road and on the telephone. Your deep spirit, love and compassion will forever be a part of my musical presence." - Matt Wilson, from "Do The Math" http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/liberation-chorus.html
And here's the wonderful piece of prose entitled
"Digging Max" by Amiri Baraka:
Max is the highest The outest, the Largest, the greatest, The fastest, the hippest, The all the way past which There cannot be
When we say MAX, that’s what We mean, hip always Clean. That’s our word For Artist, Djali, Nzuri Ngoma, Senor Congero, Leader, Mwalimu, Scientist of Sound, Sonic Designer, Trappist Definer, Composer, Revolutionary Democrat, Bird’s Black Injun Engine, Brownie’s Other Half, Abbey’s Djeli-ya-Graph
Who bakes the Western industrial singing machine Into temperatures of syncopated beyondness Out Sharp Mean
Papa Jo’s Successor Philly Joe’s Confessor AT’s mentor, Roy Haynes’ Inventor Steve McCall’s Trainer
Ask Buhainia, Jimmy Cobb, Elvin or Klook Or even Sunny Murray, when he ain’t in a hurry. Milford is down and Roy Brooks Is one of his cooks. Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Cyrille can tell you or youngish Pheeroan, Beaver and Blackwell and my man, Dennis Charles. They’ll run it down, ask them the next time they in town.
Ask any or all of the rhythm’n. Shadow cd tell you, so cd Shelly Manne, Chico Hamilton. Rashied knows, Billy Hart. Eddie Crawford From Newark has split, but he and Eddie Gladden could speak on it. Mtume, if he will. Big Black can speak. Let Tito Puente run it down, He and Max been tight since they were babies in this town.
Frankie Dunlop cd tell you and he speak a long time. Pretty Purdy is hip. Max hit with Duke at Eighteen. He played with Benny Carter when he first made the scene. Dig the heavy learning that went with that. Newk knows, And McCoy. CT would agree. Hey, ask me or Archie or Michael Carvin Percy Heath, Jackie Mc are all hip to the Max Attack.
Barry Harris can tell you. You in touch with Monk or Bird? Ask Bud if you see him, You know he know, even after the cops Beat him Un Poco Loco. I mean you can ask Pharoah or David Or Dizzy, when he come out of hiding, it’s a trick Diz just outta sight. I heard Con Alma and Diz and Max in Paris, just the other night.
But ask anybody conscious, who Max Roach be. Miles certainly knew And Coltrane too. All the cats who know the science of Drum, know where our Last dispensation come from. That’s why we call him, MAX, the ultimate, The Furthest Star. The eternal internal, the visible invisible, the message From afar.
All Hail, MAX, from On to Dignataria to Serious and even beyond! He is the mighty SCARAB, immortal as our music, world without end. Great artist Universal Teacher, and for any Digger One of our deepest friends! Hey, MAX! MAX! MAX!
-Amiri Baraka (Written in 1999, read at Max Roach’s funeral, Aug. 24, 2007)
Here's the two articles I contributed to Canadian Musician Magazine earlier this year (this time in better resolution!) These articles are both based on some concepts I learned from a drum clinic that Elvin Jones gave in Montreal in 1999.
This is a blog about jazz, jazz drumming and all things unrelated. Thanks for stopping by!
A Bit About Me...
Jonathan McCaslin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. Jonathan began playing the drums at the age of nine. He progressed through the Regina Lions Junior Band and the music program at his high school, Campbell Collegiate, soon developing a passion for playing the drums and jazz. Ultimately, Jon's interest in music led him to enroll in the Jazz Studies program at McGill University, graduating with distinction in 1999.
While at McGill Jon had the opportunity to study with some of the finest jazz educators in the country including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarcyzk, Chris McCann, Andre White, Michel Lambert and Dave Laing. He also attended the prestigious summer jazz workshop presented by the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1997, where he performed with Canadian jazz greats Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson and Kenny Wheeler.
Jon has also been fortunate to have performed with many of Canada's jazz elite including Charlie Biddle, Brian Hurley, Louise Rose, Alaister Kay, Mart Kinny, Gary Guthman, Mike Rud, Hadley Caliman, Greg Clayton, Chase Sanborn, Andre White, Tilden Webb, John LaBelle, Kevin Dean, Dave Turner, Ralph Bowen, Don Thompson, Dionne Taylor, Jim Vivian, Kelly Jefferson, Ian McDougall, Brad Turner, Jim Brenan, The McGill Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Johnston, Lorraine Desmerais, Steve Amirault, Hugh Fraser, Chucho Valdes, Kieran Overs, The Altsys Jazz Orchestra, Pat LaBarbera, The Regina Symphony Orchestra and The Montreal Jazz Big Band.
In the spring of 2002 McCaslin completed his Master's in Jazz Studies at McGill University where he studied jazz drumming, improvisation and composition.
In January 2003 Jon released his debut CD, “McCallum’s Island”. Featuring his quintet, the CD contains an exciting collection of McCaslin’s original compositions, featuring himself and his band. The release of this CD was followed by a twenty-day tour of Western Canada, performing to enthusiastic, capacity audiences. During March of 2003 Jonathan was the recipient of a fellowship from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and attended the “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” residency in Washington, D.C. Along with twenty other distinguished young jazz artists, McCaslin was featured with such jazz icons as Terence Blanchard, Carmen Lundy, Winard Harper, Curtis Fuller and John Clayton.
McCaslin’s quintet performed at the 2003 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival and was nominated for the General Motors Grand Prix du Festival (awarded to the most outstanding Canadian group). From 2004 until 2006, Jon toured North America, Asia and Europe with the high-energy, critically acclaimed music production troupe “Barrage”. Featuring a cast of seven world-class fiddlers and a four-piece band, this dynamic show featured high-energy music and fiddle traditions from around the world set to upbeat choreography and movement.
In 2015, Dr. McCaslin received his Doctorate through the University of Toronto and completed his dissertation on the conceptualization of contemporary melodic jazz drumming. He is currently based in Calgary, Alberta where he maintains a busy performing and teaching schedule across Canada.