Monday, May 4, 2015

Vernel Fournier

The piano trio of Ahmad Jamal with Israel Crosby on bass and Vernell Fournier on drums is MUST listening for any serious jazz drummer and/or rhythm section player. There are many lessons to be learned from the understated and highly swinging approach that these three gentlemen demonstrate together.

Vernell is a very unique drummer that's not a household name but definitely worthy of serious study. I really dig the way he plays the arrangements, his light touch and groovy two-feel. I don't think I've heard him really play a full-out drum solo. He was all about playing with other people and making the band feel/sound good. And I don't think you can go wrong with that...

I really have to thank Carl Allen for suggesting to me that I check out this trio and their recordings years ago.

Here's some rare footage to get started:

Thanks to Ted Panken here's an interview with Vernel Fournier to check out:

And here Fournier discusses his famous New Orleans inspired groove from Jamal's arrangement of "Poinciana":

Here's what Jack DeJohnette has to say about Fournier's drumming:

And oh yes, Four on the Floor is now SIX years old!!! Thank you for all your support.


  1. Thanks for reminding everybody how great Vernel Fournier was. If you want to get a another perspective on what he was able to do, check out his playing on Ahmad Jamal's Extensions from 1965. (which isn't included in the Mosaic box). Drum solos (with sticks!), Ahmad playing inside piano, very free & wild compared to the original trio with Israel Crosby. Also the Clifford Jordan recordings from '84 to '91 are very good & very different. There's even a big band recording!
    And congratulation for the sixth birthday of your blog. Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow, I need to check out those Clifford Jordan things-- I've only ever heard Fournier with Ahmad. Thanks for this, Jon.