Wednesday, July 31, 2019


I am taking a break from blogging and social media. Thanks for your support and see you in September!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Charli Persip's Medical Fund

Jazz drumming great Charli Persip recently turned 90 years young and Adam Nussbaum has informed me that Persip is also facing some medical challenges these days. A Go Fund Me fundraiser has been set up in his name to help with the cost of the medical bills and he would sure appreciate any help you can offer:


From the Go Fund Me webpage:

"Famed jazz drummer, Charli Persip, known for his band SuperSound, has played with jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine. Unfortunately, in recent years, Charli Persip has been struggling with illness. Due to this, he had to stop doing what he loves the most; performing and teaching. This has left him to fall on hard times financially due to medical bills.

We are reaching out to the jazz community at this time for any contributions towards the Charli Persip medical fund. He would greatly appreciate the support. You can e-mail his family at charlipersip@yahoo.com as well."

Fortunately for us, Charli's 90th birthday celebration concert was recently shared on YouTube and featured a plethora of great musicians and drummers including appearances from the likes of E.J. Strickland, Kenny Washington, Taru Alexander, Lloyd Haber, Warren Smith, Marcus Baylor, Jack DeJohnette, Nasheet Waits, Eli Fountain, Jeff Tain Watts, Carl Allen, Andrew Cyrille, Darrell Smith, Adam Nussbaum and more. Check it out:

Happy Birthday indeed!

Adam Nussbaum was also kind enough to offer these words, some thoughts on the impact that Persip had on his own development:

"Charli was one of my early teachers. He was such an inspiration beyond just the drums. What I got from him was that it was all about the music and the commitment. That had a major impact on me. It still does!"

Personally, I was first made aware of Charli Persip's drumming from listening to the 90s CD reissue of the album Gretsch Drum Night at Birdland. This album featured Persip along with the drumming powers of Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones in an epic drum battle but Charli Persip, at the time, was brand new to me. However, once I heard him do his thing (and, in my opinion, more than keep up with the others!) I was like...."okay now who is THIS guy???" Needless to say, I've been a fan ever since.

Adam Nussbaum, Chad Anderson, Jesse Cahill and Brad Shigeta also all reminded me to check out Persip's swinging playing with Dizzy Gillespie (Have Trumpet Will Excite, Dizzy Gillespie at Newport and Sonny Side Up with Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins), Lee Morgan's Blue Note recordings, Cecil Payne's The Connection, piano trio dates with Red Garland, Benny Golson's New York Scene and his own Charles Persip and the JAZZ Statesmen:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Allison Miller: Boom Tic Boom

Some wonderfully musical and inspired drumming today from Allison Miller with her Boom Tic Boom project:

And thanks to Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah for sending along this recent interview with Miller over at the Burning Ambulance Podcast.

I've also posted these next two before but because they are so much fun and I really dig them, here they are again:

As you can see from the informative clips above, Allison Miller is a creative force on the drums, a musical drummer that brings together the legacy of jazz drumming in the present while also pushing the sonic possibilities of the instrument forward in a highly personal way.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Listen Here!

A few interesting things to listen to today that I've been enjoying lately...

- Uncle Paul's Jazz Closet is an excellent podcast curated by Paul Motian's niece Cindy McGuirl that features the life and music of Paul Motian, including many unreleased and private recordings.

A recent episode features some rare rehearsal recordings of Motian's in which he is tuning his drums, practicing the drums (!) and rehearsing original material with other musicians.

I was also really impressed with a previous episode that featured Motian's private recordings of him practicing the piano and playing through several of his original compositions (on a piano that he allegedly bought from Keith Jarrett and apparently Motion was a very serious student of the instrument, even taking regular lessons for a number of years). I don't think that Motian meant for these recordings to be heard by anyone other than himself however I don't think he would really mind either (*this is purely my speculation of course!)

Anyways, I think these recordings are highly significant and I think we can all take a lesson from this. Given the technology readily available to us, there is no reason why we all shouldn't be recording ourselves on a regular basis for self-evaluation (even if not intended to be shared with others). Perhaps no one will be curating a podcast in our name after we're long gone however there is still much to be learned and gained by regular documentation of your own creative process.

I recently spoke with Dr. Patrick Boyle about this very subject, Ted Warren blogged about this earlier in the week and Chad Anderson is a constant inspiration via his posts on Instagram.

- Jerry Fuller is a name that often comes up in Canadian Jazz drumming circles. When I ask other musicians about him, he is always remembered fondly (in fact, whenever Nick Fraser is asked: "Who is the best Jazz drummer in Toronto?" Fraser usual replies: "Jerry Fuller"....even though he's been deceased since 2002!)

Here's an article written by long-time Montreal Jazz critic Len Dobbin on Fuller's career.

A couple of great examples of Jerry Fuller's drumming to check out, both from the Canadian Jazz Archives on-line (a great resource!):
Both of these concerts were recorded live at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.

- Here's some more Canadian Jazz: guitarist Sonny Greenwich with pianist Don Thompson, bassist Jim Vivian and drummer Barry Elmes, recorded at the Upstairs Jazz Bar in Montreal on a spirited version of Cole Porter's "I Love You":

I think I may have been in the audience for this concert now that I come to think of it...

- Dig this trio set from Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, recorded at the Village Vanguard circa. 1985:

- A couple of great tenor/drum duets featuring Joe Lovano with Cindy Blackman:

....and with Idris Muhammad!

- Thanks to Adam Nussbaum for passing along this rare one of the John Coltrane Quartet from 1960, recorded at the Jazz Gallery, featuring Pete LaRoca on drums:

- And speaking of Coltrane....here's Montreal's Yannick Rieu and his quartet performing Trane's Untitled Original 11383 from a recent performance at the Montreal International Jazz festival with ANDRE WHITE on drums:

- Kenny Washington first played this Philly Joe Jones drum solo for me a few years ago at his apartment in Brooklyn. It's extremely rare and out-of-print but fortunately it's still up on YouTube:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Antonio Sanchez: Shadows & Lights

Some creative drumming today from Antonio Sanchez featuring his expansive drum set-up and the Sensory Percussion trigger system (also recently featured on this blog with performances from the likes of Marcus Gilmore and Kendrick Scott):

Further to that example, Sanchez discusses his personal approach to soloing on the drums:

And here's an interview with Sanchez in which he talks about his influences, working with Pat Metheny and his recent projects:

Okay, one more (!) Here is a quick lesson on his approach to cymbal technique:

As you can see and hear, Sanchez is not only an accomplished drummer but a creative artist as well who is pushing the boundaries of his craft.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well, summer is in full swing these days and we hope you are all enjoying your vacation months wherever you are and whatever you might find yourself up to.

This will be the final Monday Morning Paradiddle column of the summer season however I'll be blogging right up until the end of the month. I will also be taking a break for the month of August while I'm on holidays.

Anyhow, in the meantime, here's a few items to check out, read and listen to:

- Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah recently traveled to the Montreal International Jazz Festival and offered this fine list, his picks of the top jazz festival drummers that he heard over the past month:

"Tim Mah's Top Drummer Picks of the 2019 Montreal Jazz Festival"

1. Zach Danziger - with Donny McCaslin
2. Nate Smith - with Nate Smith's Kinfolk
3. Allison Miller - with Christine Jensen's New York Quartet
4. Corey Fonville - with Butcher Brown and Christian Scott's aTunde Adjuah
5. Kendrick Scott - with Kendrick Scott's Oracle, the Gilad Hekselman Trio and Keyon Harrold
6. Makaya McCraven - appearing with his own group
7. Leon Parker - with the Brad Mehldau Quintet
8. Smithsoneon - with Bigyuki
9. Al Bourgeois - with the Rachel Therrien Quintet and the house band for the organ jazz jam at Brutopia
10. Louis-Vincent Hamel - with Benjamin Deschamps No Codes 
(who also won the 2019 Grand Prix du Jazz award at the festival)

*Bonus (appearing at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival) - Greg Hutchinson with the Joshua Redman Quartet and Brian Blade with his Fellowship Band* 

Looks like there was lots of great music to be heard on the Canadian Jazz festival circuit this year!

Tim Mah hosts the weekly radio program Jazz Today which can be heard on CJSW every Thursday morning and is also archived for your perusal. Check out and LIKE his Facebook page for more information, frequent updates and playlists.

Thanks Tim!

- Geoff Clapp offers his take on New Orleans rhythms over at the You'll Hear It podcast.

Also check out these short drum lessons with Ulysses Owens Jr from the You'll Hear It blog.

- Andrew Cyrille featured by Rolling Stone magazine

- Max Roach and Tony Williams both featured at JazzProfiles

- Colleen Clark recently completed and defended her very informative dissertation on the evolution of the ride cymbal beat through the University of North Texas. Check out her excellent work here.

Incidentally, Colleen was also recently seen sporting her own limited edition, 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt while visiting Steve Maxwell's Drum Shop in Manhattan:

You can own one too! Although, you'd better act fast I only have a handful left and they are now only available in size XL.

The shirts (featuring a wonderful logo design by Chad Anderson!) are $30 (+$10 shipping).

Drop me a line at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap.

- Check out Chip Stern's webpage for some wonderful interviews with Elvin Jones.

And speaking of Elvin, here's an article from 1982 from deep in the archives of Modern Drummer magazine worth digging into (special thanks to Hans Verhoeven for sending this one along!)

- Also from Modern Drummer, a recent feature on Tyshawn Sorey
(he will also be on faculty at the Banff Centre for the summer)

- Herlin Riley featured at Jazziz magazine (on the topic of his recent album release)

- JazzTimes magazine offers this feature on 10 Drumming Composers of our time

- Speaking of drummer/composers, WBGO offers this one on drummer/composer John Hollenbeck

- A couple of great columns on Kenny Clarke, Shelly Manne and Baby Dodds from Scott K. Fish over at his blog Life Beyond Cymbals

- A piece from All About Jazz about the late, great (and troubled!) Phil Seamen

- New York's Christopher Smith has been up to great things via his informative YouTube series The Drum Hang but he's also a bad ass drummer in his own right as well. Check out this drum feature on an arrangement of the Game of Thrones theme song from a recent recording session:

- Bill Stewart groovin' with Peter Bernstein and Larry Goldings from a recent appearance at London's Pizza Express:

- Kendrick Scott in action with pianist Joey Alexander:

-The late Lawrence Leathers featured with Mike LeDonne's Groover Quartet on a lively rendition of Sonny Rollins' "Airegin":

- What am I listening to these days?

Mike LeDonne "Partners in Time" - Lewis Nash (drums)

Johnathan Blake "Trion" - Johnathan Blake (drums)

Dave Robbins Sextet "Joan of Art" - Dave Robbins (drums)

Joel Haynes Trio featuring Seamus Blake "Transitions" - Joel Haynes (drums)

Kenny Wheeler "Songs for Quintet" - Martin France (drums)

Chris Mitchell "Spectrum" - Jerry Fuller (drums)

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers "At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol.1 & 2" - Art Blakey (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to Jazz impresario Cory Weeds with this sage advice:

Well folks, this is all I've got for now. Thanks again for all your support and please come back again soon!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Francisco Mela: Reflexion

Some wonderfully expressive and inventive drumming from the hands (and feet!) of Francisco Mela:

This guy obviously loves playing and sharing his music with others, and it shows! Inspiring stuff.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Evelyn Glennie Rolls....

And...we're back. It's been a busy two weeks over here at Four on the Floor between teaching at summer Jazz camps in both Alberta and Saskatchewan and peddling my limited edition, 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirts (if you want one, you'd better hurry as they are almost gone!) In any event, regular blogging will now resume until I take my yearly break for the month of August.

Anyways, let's get the week off to a good start now and stop to appreciate this clip of acclaimed percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie playing a closed/buzz/press roll for 30 interrupted minutes:

Now some might scoff at this but if you take the time to watch and really listen to this (like I did...) hopefully you'll come to appreciate not only the endurance needed to accomplish this task but also the musical intent and subtle nuances she is playing with. This takes not only a lot of stamina but a lot of musical concentration as well.

Ted Warren, over at his blog Trap'd, recently shared his thoughts on Dan Weiss' intensive practice regimen and I think Glennie's press roll marathon falls in line with that as well.

Personally, developing closed/buzz/press roll vocabulary has been a personal, on-going goal of mine for sometime so I find the above clip quite inspiring. In fact, I think it's beautiful.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Joe LaBarbera: "Roughing the Single Drag"

A wonderful snare drum demonstration from Joe LaBarbera and Jacob Wendt on the Charles Wilcoxon etude "Roughing the Single Drag". This is from a series of YouTube videos in which Wendt performs classic Wilcoxon snare drum solos including ALL 150 SOLOS from the All American Drummer (!) as duets with various drummers from the Los Angeles area (quite the undertaking...) Check out his YouTube channel for the complete series. This is the kind drumming/social media initiatives that I like to see...

In particular, dig the nice big, full sound that LaBarbera gets from his snare drum in this video (incidentally, he's playing a rare Gladstone snare drum, gifted to him by Ed Shaughnessy!) I also really appreciate the loose and graceful strokes that LaBarbera plays with as well as an obvious attention to detail in terms of the level of his accented strokes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Guys Get Shirts Part 5

The ever dapper Geoff Clapp was recently spotted wearing his new limited edition, 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt while shedding on his nice new Reverie drums.

You can own one too! Drop me a line here or at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap (while supplies last!)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Tim Mah's 25 Canadian Jazz Albums of 2019 (so far)

In honour of Canada's birthday, frequent Four on the Floor contributor and correspondent Tim Mah has offered this comprehensive list of 25 notable Canadian Jazz releases, so far released in the first half of 2019.  Tim is also the host of the radio program Jazz Today, heard Thursday mornings 530-7am on CJSW 90.9 fm (Calgary).

Tim Mah's Canadian Jazz Albums -
Twenty Five New Releases of 2019:
(in no particular order...)

1) Seamus Blake “Guardians of the Heart Machine”

Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone), Tony Tixier (piano), Florent Nisse (bass) and Gautier Garrigue (drums).

2) Gentiane MG Trio “Wonderland”

Gentiane Michaud-Gagnon (piano), Levi Dover (bass) and Louis-Vincent Hamel (drums).

3) Anna Webber “Clockwise”

Anna Webber – tenor saxophone, flute, bass flute, alto flute

Jeremy Viner – tenor saxophone, clarinet

Jacob Garchik – trombone

Christopher Hoffman – cello

Matt Mitchell – piano

Chris Tordini – bass

Ches Smith – drums, vibraphone, timpani

Listen to Anna Webber talk about her album with Dave Douglas on the podcast called “A Noise From The Deep".

4) Steph Richards “Take the Neon Lights”

Steph Richards (trumpet, flugelhorn, compositions), James Carney (piano), Sam Minaie (bass) and Andrew Munsey (drums)

This is a video of Steph Richards and her band performing at the Festival of New Trumpet Music in San Diego (March 2019):

5) Mike Allen “Just Like Magic”

Mike Allen (tenor saxophone), Peter Washington (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums).

This is the EPK for the album:

6) Brad Turner Quartet with special guest Seamus Blake “Jump Up”

Brad Turner (trumpet & flugelhorn), Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone), Bruno Hubert (piano), Andre Lachance (bass) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums)

This is “The Enthusiast” from the album:

7) Donna Grantis “Diamonds & Dynamite”

Donna Grantis (guitar), Bryan Nichols (piano), Cody McKinney (bass), JT Bates (drums), and Suphala (tabla)

Donna Grantis performing “Mr. Majestic”:

8) Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin “Clock Radio”

Michael Davidson (vibraphone, compositions) and Dan Fortin (bass)

This is a video includes the song “Berlin V” from the album:

9) Curtis Nowosad “self-titled”

Curtis Nowosad - drums

Duane Eubanks - trumpet

Braxton Cook - alto saxophone

Andrew Renfroe - guitar

Jonathan Thomas - piano, Fender Rhodes (tracks 1,5,6), organ (track 8)

Luke Sellick - bass

Corey Wallace - trombone (tracks 3,5,7,8)

Matthew Whitaker - organ (tracks 2,3,5)

Michael Mayo - vocals (tracks 2,6)

Brianna Thomas - vocals (tracks 3,8)

Marc Cary - Fender Rhodes (tracks 2,8), Wurlitzer (track 8), synth (tracks 1,6,8)

This is a video of Curtis Nowosad’s “The Water Protectors”:

10) Dave Robbins Sextet “Joan of Art”

Dave Robbins (drums), Steve Holy (bass), Chris Gestrin (piano), Brad Turner (trumpet), Mike Allen (tenor saxophone) and Rod Murray (trombone)

This is the EPK for the album:

11) Mike Allen Quartet “Celebrating Sonny Greenwich”

Mike Allen (tenor sax), Miles Black (guitar), Steve Holy (bass) and Dave Robbins (drums)


12) Steve Haines & the Third Floor Orchestra “self-titled”

Steve Haines (bass), Becca Stevens (voice), Chad Eby (soprano saxophone), Joey Calderazzo (piano), Kobie Watkins (drums), plus orchestra.

This is a video of the Steve Haines composition “What I’ve Seen”:

13) Brad Turner “Pacific”

Brad Turner (trumpet/flugelhorn), John Gross (saxophones), Chris Gestrin (Hammond B3 organ and Moog Synthesizer Bass) and  Joe Poole (drums)

This is the title track, “Pacific”:

14) Jacques Kuba Seguin “Migrations”

Jacques Kuba Séguin: trumpet

Yannick Rieu: tenor saxophone

Olivier Salazar: vibraphone

Jean-Michel Pilc: piano

Adrian Vedady: bass

Kevin Warren: drums

This is “Hymne” from the album:

15) JV’s Boogaloo Squad “Going to Market”

Joel Visentin (keys), Adam Beer Colacino (guitar) and Jeff Halischuk (drums)

This song is called “Squadzilla”:

16) Jim Brenan 11 “50/50”

Jim Brenan: leader, composer, arranger, tenor, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Jim Murray: trumpet

Sergio Rodriguez: trumpet

Sean Craig: alto sax

Mike Gardner: alto sax

Sarah Matheson-Nadeau: baritone sax, flute

Craig Brenan: trombone

Carsten Rubeling: trombone

Chris Andrew: Fender Rhodes, clavinet

Rubim de Toledo: bass

Jamie Cooper: drums

Raul Tabera: percussion (track 1)


17) Stephanie Urquhart Quartet “Concealment”

Stephanie Urquhart (piano), Peter Zawalski (guitar), Josh McHan (bass), Joel Jeschke (drums) and Mallory Chipman (vocals - tracks 1, 7, 8, 9)

Here’s the EPK for the album:

18) Dominique Fils-Aime “Stay Tuned!”

Vocals: Dominique Fils-Aimé

Bass: Jacques Roy

Drums: Salin Cheewapansri

Percussions: Elli Miller Maboungou

Keys: Nathan Vanheuverzwijn

Guitar: Étienne Miousse

Piano: Jean-Michel Frédéric

Trumpet: Hichem Khalfa

Didgeridoo: Kevin Annocque

This is a video of “Big Man Do Cry” from the album:

19) Jazzlab Orchestra “Quintessence”

Musicians : Samuel Blais, Mario Allard, Alex Francoeur (saxophone), Jacques Kuba Seguin (trumpet), Thomas Morelli (trombone), Félix Stussi (piano), Alain Bédard (bass) and Louis -Vincent Hamel (drums)

This is a video of the title track, “Quintessence”:

20) Rafael Zaldivar “Consecration”

Rafael Zaldivar (piano), Rémi-Jean LeBlanc (electric bass), David Gagné (upright bass), Mireille Boily (vocals), Amado Dedeu Jr. (percussion, vocals), Eugenio Osorio (congas) and Michel Medrano (drums).


21)  Laura Anglade “I’ve Got Just About Everything”

Laura Anglade (voice), Jonathan Chapman (bass), Sam Kirmayer (guitar), Valerie Lacombe (drums), and Masashi Usui (tenor saxophone).

This is a video of Laura Anglade performing “A Social Call”:

22) Jim Doxas “Homebound”

Jim Doxas (drums), Lex French (trumpet), Al McLean (saxophone) and Adrian Veddady (bass)

This is the title track:

23) Tara Kannangara “It’s Not Mine Anymore”

Performed by Tara Kannangara, Chris Pruden, Colin Story, Julian Anderson-Bowes, Mackenzie Longpre, Evan Cartwright and Kira May.

This is a video of “Touched” from the album:

24) Dave Young “Lotus Blossom”

Dave Young: acoustic bass

Renee Rosnes: piano

Reg Schwager: guitar

Terry Clarke: drums

Bernie Senensky: piano

Kevin Turcotte: trumpet

Perry White: tenor saxophone

This is Dave Young (featuring Renee Rosnes) performing the title track:

25) John Stetch "Black Sea Suite (Live)"

John Stetch – Piano
Steve Kortyka – Sax
Philippe Lemm – Drums
Ben Tiberio – Bass

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Guys Get Shirts Part 4

Joe LaBarbera recently visited the Avedis Zildjian Cymbal factory while sporting his brand new, limited edition 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt (and a pair of some nice new hi-hats!)

You can own one too! (I mean the t-shirt...you'll have to contact your local drum shop about the hi-hats...and only while supplies last!)

Drop me a line at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap (for ordering details please see my previous posts).

Monday, June 24, 2019

Karriem Riggins: Tergiversation

Some burning playing from Karriem Riggins on drums along with Mulgrew Miller on piano, Warren Wolf on vibraphone and Joe "Infinity" Sanders on bass, playing Gene Perla's "Tergiversation". What a great way to start the week!

Tergiversation: Karriem Riggins Virtuoso Experience from MOCHILLA on Vimeo.

And here's 28 seconds of Rigging throwing down!

Karriem Riggins from Karriem Riggins on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Guys Get Shirts Part 3

Here's Adam Nussbaum sporting his new limited edition 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt.

You can own one too! (while supplies last...)

Drop me a line at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap (for ordering details please see my previous post).

Monday, June 17, 2019

Andrew Cyrille & Billy Hart

These two clips are all too brief but totally awesome and worth it! Check out this blazing footage of Joe Lovano getting a double dose of some heavy drums with Andrew Cyrille and Billy Hart (recorded at the Knitting Factory in New York City, circa. 2000):

I would love to see the rest of this concert!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Guys Get Shirts Part 2

Here is John Riley wearing his new limited edition 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt.

You can own one too! (while supplies last...)

Drop me a line at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap (for ordering details please see my previous post below).

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Drummer's Guide to the JazzYYC Summer Jazz Festival

It's nearly Jazz festival season here in Canada and things kick off this week in my hometown of Calgary, AB with the annual JazzYYC Summer Jazz Festival running June 12-16 in various venues across the city. There is lots of great music happening this week and, in particular, many great drummers to check out.

So on that note, here's my very biased and drummer-centric picks of several not-to-be-missed shows to attend and the great drummers that will be performing this week (and in no particular order...)

- Toronto's Larnell Lewis has been making waves around the world with his deep pocket, grooves and chops to spare with artists such as pianist Laila Biali and the band Snarky Puppy. Last November's performance with bassist Mike Downes at Calgary's BuckingJam Palace was a real demonstration of sensitive dynamics and musical inventiveness from behind the drum kit. This guy can roar...but he can also whisper too.

This time Larnell is bringing his own sextet and original music to Calgary on the heel's of his recent Juno nomination to play at the Ironwood Stage & Grill on Saturday, June 15th starting at 7pm.

Larnell will also be offering a FREE drum workshop on Saturday afternoon starting at 2pm, appearing at the National Music Centre.

- Pianist Benny Green's trio featuring bassist David Wong and drummer Aaron Kimmel will undoubtedly be, for me anyways, the highlight of this year's Jazz festival.

Following in the footsteps of the many other great drummers that Green has played with (see Kenny Washington, Carl Allen, Lewis Nash, Jeff Hamilton, etc.) Kimmel's drumming and hard swinging style is no exception and will not disappoint.

Check out the discipline and control that Kimmel maintains at this breakneck tempo:

I know where I'll be on Friday evening starting at 8pm! (appearing at the Studio Bell)

Benny Green will also be offering a FREE workshop on Friday at noon (also at NMC) and I am quite looking forward to this as well.

As per always: when the Masters speak, we listen!

- Toronto's Stich Wynston has been grooving behind the Shuffle Demons for as long as I can remember and it's always a treat to hear him lay it down from behind the drums in his unique way:

Hear Stich and the Shuffle Demons at the Ironwood on Wednesday evening starting at 7pm.

- Montreal's Mark Nelson is a drummer I've long admired since I first met him at the Banff Centre ten years ago. Nelson is appearing with Elizabeth Shepard at the King Eddy on Saturday evening (930pm) along with a great band featuring Michael Occhipinti on guitar, Jacques Kuba-Seguin on trumpet and Calgary's own Jon Wielebnowski on bass.

Here's a brief clip of Nelson demonstrating some inventive rhythms on some nice Gretsch drums:

- Drummer Dan Brubeck, son of the late Dave Brubeck, will be appearing with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet at Studio Bell on Saturday evening (8pm).

- Cody Iwasiuk will be laying down some dirty grooves and greasy backbeats with the Dirty Catfish Brass Band out of Winnipeg on Thursday evening at the Ironwood (7pm)

- When I lived in Toronto I would often check out Glenn Anderson playing drums with a variety of trad Jazz groups including the likes of the Excelsior Dixieland Jazz Band at the Rex on Sunday afternoons. Anderson will be bringing his swinging beat to Calgary, backing up vocalist Alex Pangman on Friday evening at the Ironwood (7pm).

- I first met drummer Mackenzie Longpre at the University of Toronto while I was pursuing my Doctoral studies in Toronto circa. 2007-2009. Mack sounded really great back then and he now he's even better! Longpre will be performing with trumpeter/vocalist Tara Kannangara at the Ironwood on Sunday evening (7pm)

- Calgary tap dancer Kelly Steele has been making a name for herself around town over the past couple of years, faithfully attending jam sessions and gigs, initiating local audiences to the possibilities of Jazz & Tap. Check out Kelly's tap Jazz quartet at the King Eddy on Saturday evening featuring local young lion Harry Faunt on the drums (6pm).

- Once you've seen whatever concert you've chosen, make sure to head down to the Ironwood Bar & Grill Thursday through Saturday evenings (10pm) to hear pianist Dave Restivo and his trio host the late-night festival jam session. Local phenom Colin Adhikary will be holding down the drum chair and I'm sure there will be exciting things to come out of these sessions.

- While not officially part of the festival, but definitely most worthy of any serious Calgary Jazz fan's attention, is the Redline Trio featuring Jeff Sulima on drums at Betty Lou's in the basement of Devinish Building, just off of 17th Avenue and 8th Street SW.

Along with veteran saxman Mark DeJong, these guys have been holding court at this hip cocktail bar every week for well over a year now and it's a great place to relax, enjoy a nice beverage and dig some great music in a hip room. Check them out every Thursday evening starting at 7pm.

- Speaking of regular gigs, the very tasteful Nate Chiang on drums also leads a trio at the Deane House (809 9th Avenue SE) every Sunday night featuring the always well dressed Nate Waters on tenor saxophone. The band starts at 6pm, swings hard and the restaurant menu is awesome.

- And last, but certainly not least, here's a couple of notable gigs of my own coming up this week:

I'll be appearing with guitarist Joel Untinen at the Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar as part of the JazzYYC Jazz Walk on Sunday afternoon from 2-4pm (FREE admission!) Joel is home for the summer following his first year of graduate studies at New York University, studying with guitarist Peter Bernstein so this should be a fun one indeed.

And last, but certainly not least, I am also very excited to present my own "Tribute to Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers" on Thursday, June 13th at the King Eddy (930pm). I am very proud of the band and music I've assembled for this performance and hope that you can join us for this special evening of music.

For more festival and ticket information, visit the JazzYYC website at www.jazzyyc.com and remember, tell them that Four on the Floor sent you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Guys Get Shirts Part 1

Chad Anderson modelling his new limited edition 10th anniversary Four on the Floor t-shirt.

You can own one too!

Drop me a line at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up asap (for ordering details please see my previous post below).

Monday, June 3, 2019

Jon McCaslin's Tribute to Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

I have a cool gig coming up in a few weeks and I hope you can all make it.

Art Blakey has been a significant influence on me since I first started playing the drums and on this occasion I've put together a great band to pay tribute to one of Jazz music's most important band leaders and hardest swinging drummers (Blakey was born in 1919 and would have been 100 years old this year!) I've spent hours and hours listening to and studying Art Blakey's music of the years and his example as a hard swinging drummer that truly serves the music has long left an impression on me.

It's rare that I'm asked to put together a tribute project such as this (although recently I did present a trio project with pianist George Colligan and bassist Jodi Proznick to play the music of pianist Herbie Nichols last February at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, AB) but when I do it's because it is music that I believe in and has had a profound influence on me.

I never met Art Blakey or had the opportunity to hear him play live so I suppose musical opportunities such as this are my small way of saying "Thank You".

Presented by JazzYYC, we'll be playing at the newly restored King Eddy Hotel, now part of the National Music Centre, located in the East Village (Calgary, AB). I also have a great group of world-class musicians to play with and look forward to an evening of high-energy, hard-swinging music for you all to enjoy.


JazzYYC Summer Jazz Festival Presents:

Jon McCaslin's Tribute to 
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Thursday, June 13th                            9:30pm

Appearing at the King Eddy                 438 9th Avenue SE

Tickets: $25 Students $15


Dean McNeill - Trumpet

Jeremiah McDade - Tenor Saxophone

Al Kay - Trombone

Mark Limacher - Piano

Steve Shepard - Bass

Jon McCaslin - Drums

For ticket information please visit:


Monday, May 27, 2019

Kenny Clarke - "On the Alamo"

Some great footage that I hadn't seen before of Klook with the Martial Solal trio from 1958 featuring Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet:

This is a great opportunity to check out Klook's left hand and comping. In particular, dig how Clarke often digs into the quarter notes on the snare drum and the stick/brushes combination near the end.

And also...from Jazz Profiles, a wonderful, recent article on the legacy of Kenny Clarke.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Four on the Floor t-shirts

As promised, my limited edition Four on the Floor 10th Anniversary t-shirts are now available!

Thanks again to the Grand Master Cymbalholic himself, Mr. Chad Anderson, for offering this very hip logo for my blog and t-shirt design.

These shirts are now available in medium, large and x-large sizes and are lightweight premium fitted 100% cotton tees.

The shirts are $30 each (+shipping)

If you are interested in purchasing one, please drop me a line asap at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com or reach me through Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and I'll set you up pronto.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Eric Binder: "An Introduction to Bebop Drumming"

On the heels of his other recent book release "10 Snare Drum Etudes for Improvisation" Eric Binder has recently self-published another excellent book, this time specifically addressing the genre of Bebop drumming.

Eric was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his latest offering.

Eric Binder - The Four on the Floor Interview
"An Introduction to Bebop Drumming: A Concise Historical Overview and Practical Exercises"

1) Tell us all about your book! What is it all about and what are the goals of your text?

This is a traditional 6x9 paperback book (which is unlike most drum methods); it is easy to carry around and reference. It combines historical material with exercises intended to introduce readers to Bebop. The main objective with this project is to clearly demonstrate that Bebop is a very specific style and genre that is separate from Hard Bop. Far too often the years between the Swing era and the Post-Bop years (1960 and later) get called “Bop”. It worries me when Tony Williams and Elvin Jones are called Bebop drummers. The truth of it is, most drummers (and musicians) don’t know the difference. I aim to identify what is special about Bebop and the drumming style.

2) What was the motivation and inspiration for putting together this method?

My motivation for this book was the term “Bop” being used to categorize all music that wasn’t Swing and wasn’t Post-Bop. Those folks calling Tony and Elvin Bebop drummers really motivated me (haha).

3) How does your book differ from other method books that deal with Jazz (or bebop) drumming? What makes it unique?

Truthfully, I don’t think there are any TRUE Bebop drumming books on the market today. There are books that touch on the drumming style, but don’t identify it as an entity of its own; it’s always “Bop” drumming. My book also provides background on where Bebop came from which is so important to understand. This book is unique in that there is a good amount of history, but also relevant playing exercises and a discography. In my opinion, it is a wonderful reference for all drummers, musicians, and educators.

4) How is your subject matter organized and presented?

The book starts with a concise but informative history on Swing and Bebop music, and drumming. The reader will learn where and how Bebop started and how the drumming evolved. After the history section, there is a large portion of exercises that cover everything from technique, rudiments, comping, melody, and more. The last section is a discography section of Swing and Bebop drummers, and other musicians.

5) Why is it important for drummers to study bebop drumming?

Bebop music created a whole new vocabulary that is still relevant today.The drumming style that was developed through the innovations of Bebop was the beginning of what we know as modern drumming. The way we play “time” on the ride cymbal, the way we play ideas between our 4 limbs, this all started because of Bebop.

6) Do you have any plans for any further books, dealing with other specific styles of Jazz drumming

The next book I am going to release is something I’ve been working on for a while. It is a technique book that is meant for students to use to gain the facility and technique necessary improvise freely. I’m a huge believer in practicing to gain the facility to play freely, rather than work on ideas that you place randomly. What you play should be based off of what is going on in the music, not what you planned on playing (but that’s a whole other discussion). As for books on specific styles, I would eventually like to do Hard Bop and Post-Bop versions. 


To purchase Eric's book visit his website: https://ericbinder.bigcartel.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Inside the Musician's Mind with Matt Wilson

A wonderful interview with the ever imaginative and inspiring Matt Wilson courtesy of the nice folks over at the Port Washington Public Library:

And here's a fun clip of Matt in action, performing a clever drum solo improvisation over the Carl Sandburg spoken poem "Fog" from his "Honey & Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg" project (highly recommended!):

I was very fortunate to study with Matt Wilson in New York City back in 2004 thanks to a project grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. I have many very fond memories of my time working together with Matt, mostly in the basement of his home in Baldwin, New York.

We spent hours talking about music and the drums. I was also very fortunate to follow him around with his band too, whether they were playing in a famous New York City Jazz club or a school gymnasium packed full of students. Hanging and learning from Matt was "all music, all the time" and there's not a day that goes by that I don't consider some aspect of our lessons together.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Evelyn Glennie Solo

Thank you to Calgary's Jim Johnston who unearthed this cool little piece, featuring Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie, improvising on a multiple-percussion set-up:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Andrew Cyrille Solo

Andrew Cyrille isn't a drummer that I'm nearly familiar with but I've been reading Val Wilmer's book "As Serious as Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957-1977" and this has prompted me to check out some drummers and listen to some new music lately.

Cyrille is, of course, a prolific artist and I am fascinated by his approach to rhythm and orchestration around the drum set. I also really enjoyed this up-close and personal solo performance:

Of course, watching this one led me down a YouTube rabbit hole last night and I discovered this 1969 solo recording of Cyrille:

And then there's this dynamic duo album from 1974 featuring Andrew Cyrille and Milford Graves:

I would also recommend checking out these interviews with this unique, creative mind:

- And extensive interview with Ted Panken

- A two-part series from Jazz Times magazine Part 1 Part 2

- A feature from the New York Times from Nate Chinen

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well, we're well into Spring here but you'd hardly know it where I live, given all the snow that keeps on lingering about (well I suppose it IS Canada after all, eh?) Anyhow, let's not let the weather get us down and instead focus on all the cool things that our hard working correspondents in the Four on the Floor office have compiled for us to check out this month:

- A spotlight on Baby Dodds & Zutty Singleton from Jazz Profiles.

- An audio interview with the great Billy Higgins from Heidi Chang.

- From Jazz Times magazine, Joe Lovano speaks about his favourite Paul Motian recordings:

- The Mel Lewis radio interviews are legendary and required listening for anyone serious about the study of Jazz drumming. And here they are compiled for your listening and educational pleasure.

And also an interview with Mel Lewis by Loren Schoenberg.

*Loren has also posted a number of Mel's radio interviews, featuring various different drummers, on YouTube. I'll get to those later!*

- George Marsh featured over at the Drummer's Weekly Groovecast.

- A nice drum solo introduction from Johnathan Blake from a recent hit at Smalls:

Also, an older, but great piece from 2012 on Blake from NPR.

Oh yes, and don't forget to check out Johnathan's amazing new album "Trion" with Chris Potter and Linda Oh: https://johnathanblake1.bandcamp.com/releases

- Montreal drummer and McGill Jazz professor Andre White was a huge influence on me during the 90s while I was living and studying in Montreal (he still is in fact and I often think about his approach to the drums and musicianship...) Not sure where this one came from, but here's some grainy footage of White swinging nicely on a rhythm changes:

- Kendrick Scott also has an amazing new album release on Blue Note. Hear Scott's thoughts on his new music here.

- Jerome Jennings is a hard working drummer who's work ethic and attitude I greatly admire. Here's a cool drum solo piece of his entitled "Heart":

- Carl Allen is one of the busiest drummers on the scene today and I often reflect on my lessons with him, back in the early 2000s.

Here's a couple of interviews with Allen to check out:

- The ever musical Tina Raymond via The Working Drummer podcast:

- Ralph Peterson Jr. featured on the Meinl Cymbals Radio Podcast:

- Here's Keith Hall with a great ride cymbal lesson from his new YouTube lesson series:

- What am I listening to these days?

Keith Jarrett "Standards Live" - Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Bernie Senensky Septet "Re:Action" - Barry Elmes (drums)

Wayne Shorter "Speak No Evil" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Chick Corea "Trio Music - Live in Europe" - Roy Haynes (drums)

Elvin Jones "The Complete Blue Note Recordings" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Paul Chambers "The Complete Blue Note Recordings" - Philly Joe Jones/Elvin Jones/Art Blakey/Art Taylor (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to the ever wise and swinging Joe Farnsworth (pay attention!):

"Must come from inside you. Like breathing. It has got to be the base from which all your drumming stems. Your quarter note. Not Elvin's. Not Higgins'. Not metronome. Not Red Garland trio. That quarter note must always be there. Start with just cymbal. Slow. Breathe. Make it smooth. Then add bass drum. Then hi-hat. Then snare quarters. Make it all one sound. It's mostly mental practice and sound. Your mind and body must have this down without thinking. Like breathing." - Joe Farnsworth (via Paul Lacotta on the Facebook)

Well, that's all I've got for now. Thanks again for checking in and see you in a minute. Until then, keep swingin' as always!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Susie Ibarra Solo

Some inspiring and creative solo drum and percussion work from Susie Ibarra:

The idea of presenting a concert of solo drum set & percussion music is one that has interested me and captivated my imagination for some time. I've played solo pieces before in the context of a concert with a full-band, but never really an entire concert on my own (not a successful one anyways!) Performances such as this from the likes of Ibarra (and others, such as Joey Baron, Gerry Hemingway, Antonio Sanchez and Ted Warren come to mind) are great examples of how to sustain musical percussive interest over extended periods of time without resorting to drum pyrotechnics or pointless demonstrations of chops and speed.

Actually, now that I think of it, I did actually try this once...during bassist Joel Kerr's "Fat Lamb" Music Festival during the summer of 2000 in Regina, Saskatchewan (incidentally being held across the street from the "Flat Land" Festival being held in Victoria Park!) I remember that I jumped on the opportunity when Joel asked me to fill a set for his nightly ad hoc improvised music festival (at the time Joel and I were touring with the critically acclaimed musical touring act "Saskatchewan Express").

However, I didn't really put any thought into it and basically just hit the drums for an hour straight with no attention to any musical structure, organization or musical development. There was a reasonable crowd present when I started my set and about 3/4 of the audience had left once I was finished an hour later. Perhaps some of the drummers in audience appreciated what I did but I imagine that most people in the audience probably got bored (in fact, I distinctly remember how bored that I personally felt about 10 minutes into the whole thing!) In terms of being a musically responsible solo Jazz drummer that evening, I would have given myself a solid of grade of F.

In retrospect perhaps that's a bit harsh but I do wish I had put more attention and pre-planning into how I structured my performance and I wish I had framed it on a more musical level as opposed to a random "drumming" one. It was certainly a learning experience and one that (even almost 20 years later!) I hope to revisit in the future...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Steve Gadd Plays Flams

Some fun footage today of Steve Gadd demonstrating some rudiments and how he applies them in creative/musical ways around the drum set:

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Art of Jeff Ballard

Thanks to the nice folks over at Jazzcampus Basel in Switzerland, here's an informative interview with modern Jazz great Jeff Ballard:

And another one from the archives, a great interview with Ballard thanks to George Colligan over at JazzTruth: http://jazztruth.blogspot.com/2012/06/jeff-ballard-interview.html