Monday, September 20, 2021

John Riley's Drum Set Workout

A series of great lessons from John Riley today thanks to the Memphis Drum Shop and the Avedis Zildjian Company.

Check out his Art of Bop Drumming lesson series from Zildjian as well.

I had the good fortune to study with John on a regular basis last spring thanks to a timely micro grant from the Calgary Arts Development Authority (and I now have no lack of challenging things to practice for the foreseeable future!)

John Riley is an incredible educator and I encourage everyone to pay attention to anything he offers. 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Jon Hazilla - Master Studies: The Brush Book Joe Morello Never Wrote

A great series of brush lessons today from the Berklee College of Music's Jon Hazilla. As he explains in the first video, these are applications of Joe Morello's seminal work Master Studies using combinations of lateral strokes with the brushes (inspired by his lessons with Joe Morello, Mel Brown and Jeff Hamilton). 

There is lots of great information here. These are great concepts and techniques that will only deepen your approach to brush playing. Thanks for sharing these Jon!

Check it out:

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Christian McBride & Carl Allen on Playing Fast Tempos

And...we're back.

Thanks for tuning in and Four on the Floor is now back and into the swing of things following a nice summer break. I hope that your summer months were restful and productive despite the challenges of our current circumstances which remain to be unresolved. As we settle back into the Fall months, blogging will now resume on a regular basis.

Here's a wonderful piece featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Carl Allen on the art of playing uptempos:

Is this part of a longer, upcoming instructional feature from Open Studio? I sure hope so!

And here's a couple of good examples of those concepts put into action with McBride's trio playing Cherokee featuring Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

<< Intermission Riff >>


I am taking a break from blogging and all things internet in general for awhile. Thanks again for all your continued support and I'll see you in a minute. 

In the meantime, don't forget to buy a limited edition Four on the Floor t-shirt. Hurry, while supplies last! (please e.mail me at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com)

Monday, July 5, 2021

Tim Mah's Guide to New Canadian Jazz Albums of 2021 (so far!)

Frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah returns once again today, this time offering his extensive mid-year list of music released by Canadian jazz artists, so far in 2021.

As you will see below there's already lots of great jazz music that has come out of Canada since December of last year.

Tim's weekly radio program Jazz Today can be heard on CJSW Radio 90.9 fm (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on Thursday mornings from 530-7am MST. It is also streamed on the CJSW website and available through Apple Podcasts.

New Music From Canadians in 2021 by Tim Mah

As we head into summer, you may be interested in spending some of your time listening to new music. There are many albums released every week. It can be overwhelming and challenging to sort through it all. Below is a list of thirty albums, released from December 2020 to May 2021, and led (or co-led) by Canadians. 

This list is in alphabetical order and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all of the new releases from Canadians over this time frame. Rather, it is a starting point for readers to learn more about what is happening in the Canadian music scene. 

Amanda Tosoff “Earth Voices”

Andres Vial “When is Ancient?”

Anna Webber “Idiom"

BLOOP (Lina Allemano & Mike Smith) “Proof”

BPM Trio (Phil Dwyer, Ben Dwyer & Mark Adam) “Audi Alteram Partem (Live)”

Carl Mayotte “Pop de Ville, Vol. 1"

CODE Quartet (Christine Jensen, Lex French, Adrian Vedady & Jim Doxas) “Genealogy”

Dan McCarthy (with Thomas Morgan & Rudy Royston) “A Place Where We Once Lived”

Dan Pitt Quintet “Wrongs”

David Restivo Trio “Arancina”

Emily Steinwall “Welcome to the Garden”

Erin Propp & Larry Roy “We Want All The Same Things”

Evan Arntzen “Countermelody”

Francois Bourassa “L’impact du silence”

James Danderfer & Quincy Davis “All The Flowers” (feat. Oliver Gannon, Brad Turner & Karl Kohut) 

Jesse Ryan “Bridges"

Jessica Ackerley “Morning / mourning”

Jester Champwick (Curtis Nowosad & Joel Visentin) “Homework”

Kevin Dean “Going Down Slow”

L’abime (Hugo Blouin, Alex Dodier, Gabriel Genest, Jean-Philippe Godbout & Jonathan Turgeon) “L’abime”

Lara Solnicki “The One and the Other”

Lina Allemano Four “Vegetables” (feat. Brodie West, Andrew Downing & Nick Fraser)

Lorne Lofsky “This Song is New”

Mark Eisenman “Jazz Classics” (feat. Steve Wallace & John Sumner)

Mireille Boily “Refuges Mouvants” 

Misc. (Jerome Beaulieu, Simon Page & William Cote) “Partager l’ambulance"

Sam Wilson “Into a Heart, Part Two”

Sarah Jerrom “Dream Logic” (feat. Harley Card, Rob McBride & Jeff Luciani)

See Through 4 (Pete Johnston, Lina Allemano, Michael Davidson & Jake Oelrichs) “Permanent Moving Parts”

TuneTown (Kelly Jefferson, Artie Roth & Ernesto Cervini) “Entering Utopia” 


Below are some videos from a selection of the above artists: 

Amanda Tosoff “Sonnet 49 (featuring Robin Dann)” (music: Luciana Souza; words: Pablo Neruda)


CODE Quartet “Watching It All Slip Away” (written by Adrian Vedady)


The full album of Emily Steinwall’s “Welcome to the Garden” (written by Emily Steinwall)


Evan Arntzen “Muskrat Ramble (feat. Catherine Russell)” (written by Kid Ory)

Jesse Ryan’s online release of the album “Bridges” (written by Jesse Ryan)


Lina Allemano Four “Brussel Sprouts, Maybe Cabbage (Alternate Take)” (written by Lina Allemano)


Sam Wilson “Southern Limbo” (written by Samantha Wilson)


TuneTown “Billyish” (music written by Ernesto Cervini)

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - June 2021

I'm taking a break!

Thanks for tuning in and after this week I'll be taking a break from blogging, Instagramming, Facebooking, interviewing jazz drummers and all things social media in general over the summer.

Next Monday, frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah (host of Jazz Today heard on CJSW 90.9 fm on Thursday mornings from 5:30 - 7:30am) will be contributing his excellent and informed list of significant Canadian jazz releases from the first half of the year 2021.

My sincerest thanks to everyone who has been tuning into to my weekly Tuesday evening talk show Four on the Floor *Live* happening on Instagram IGTV. When I started this experiment back in mid-December I thought this would only last two or three weeks (!) but it really turned into a thing.

I am very grateful to all the great people who took time to speak with me and make this the unique series that it's quickly become. I've sure learned a lot from this experience and hope you have as well.

Special thanks to:

Chad Anderson
Christopher Smith
Tim Mah
Adam Nussbaum
Joe LaBarbera
Geoff Clapp
Dave Laing
Quincy Davis
Ted Warren
Patrick Boyle
Francisco Mela
Jason Marsalis
Matt Wilson
Curtis Nowosad
Ulysses Owens Jr.
Mareike Wiening
Carl Allen
Allison Miller
Colleen Clark
Joe Farnsworth
Jon Gordon
Colin Stranahan
George Sluppick
Johnathan Blake
Jerome Jennings
Lewis Nash
George Fludas
Adonis Rose

And thank you to all of you who have tuned in every week to watch. You know who you are!

Please join me for the final episode of Four on the Floor *Live* of the season happening tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Justin Faulkner! 

The classic black Four on the Floor t-shirts are back in stock and once again available!

These shirts are available in small, 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 and I'll set you up right away.

Half of my stock is already gone (!) and last time these went pretty quickly so don't delay and order today while supplies last!

Alright, now on to the good stuff. Since I'll be gone over the next couple of months, here's a plethora of great things to check out:

1) Thank you Ted Warren, author of the blog Trap'd for these timely expansions and variations of a 4-way coordination exercise that I shared on my blog last week

2) Ireland's Ronan Guilfoyle shares this fantastic interview with tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, speaking about his experience playing with Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich:


3) A radio broadcast of Max Roach and the Uptown String Quartet circa. 1994 from the archives of New Sounds from New York Public Radio

4) A feature on Joe Chambers from uDiscoverMusic.

5) Han Bennink interviewed by Ken Vandermark from Option Talk Music and the Experimental Sound Studio:


6) Rodney Green interviews Marvin "Smitty" Smith:


7) John Ramsay speaks about the legacy of Alan Dawson on the Drum History Podcast:

And here is a fantastic clip of Mr. Dawson in action with Dave Brubeck, featured on Paul Desmond's hit Take Five:

8) Edu Ribeiro interviews Billy Hart in the final instalment of his amazing weekly interview series from Open Studio:

9) Ulysses Owens Jr. is now hosting The Drummer's Perspective through Open Studio and this includes interviews with Lewis Nash:


...and Herlin Riley:

Owens also recently released an important new book entitled The Musician's Career Guide: Turning Your Talent into Sustained Success.

Here is a preview of his latest book:


Oh yes, Ulysses also has a great method book on brush playing that came out last year. Study it, practice hard and maybe you'll be lucky enough to play like this: 


10) Lewis Nash was kind enough to share this incredible Zoom session with Christian McBride in which they listen to and reminisce about recordings they have played on together over the past 30+ years:

This is incredible!

11) Quincy Davis is still turning out incredible, regular content through his ongoing Q-Tips series on YouTube. I tell all my students to check these out and so should you:


11) I've really been enjoying pianist Emmet Cohen's ongoing series of live-stream concerts with the always swinging Kyle Poole on drums. 

Here's a couple of recent ones from a concert featuring the great Joe Lovano:


12) Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion featuring Marcus Gilmore on drums:


...and here's Marcus Gilmore's recent interview with Pablo Held: 


13) This one has been making the rounds for a while now but a recent IG live from Dan Weiss prompted me to revisit this amazing footage of Pat Metheny, recorded at L'Air du Temps in Montreal circa. 1988, featuring Rakalam Bob Moses on All the Things You Are:

14) What am I listening to these days?

Miles Davis "In Person, Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk" - Jimmy Cobb (drums)

Johnathan Blake "Gone But Not Forgotten" - Johnathan Blake (drums)

Jeff "Tain" Watts "Watts" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

Joe Magnarelli "If You Could See Me Now" - George Fludas (drums)

Adonis Rose "Song for Donise" - Adonis Rose (drums)

Dr. Lonnie Smith "Live at Club Mozambique" - Joe Dukes (drums)

Lou Donaldson "Alligator Boogaloo" - Leo Morris (drums)

Avishai Cohen "Gently Disturbed" - Mark Guiliana (drums)

Phil Dwyer & Don Thompson "Look for the Silver Lining" 

15) And today's Final Word comes in the form of this inspiring quote from Twyla Tharp (via Matt Wilson):

"When you're in a groove, you're not spinning your wheels; you're moving forward in a straight and narrow path with pauses or hitches. You're unwavering, undeviating, and unparalleled in your purpose. A groove is the best place in the world. Because when you are in it, you have the freedom to explore, where everything you question leads you to new avenues and new routes."

- Twyla Tharp, renown choreographer

Well, that's all for today.

Thanks again to all of you for reading my blog and for all your support over the years.

Okay that's all I've got for now and see you in the fall. 

In the meantime stay safe, stay healthy and keep it real.

Onwards & Upwards.

Jon McCaslin