Monday, February 19, 2024

Antonio Sanchez!

A fantastic piece of percussive and rhythmic storytelling from Antonio Sanchez today, playing his Yamaha drums:

Monday, February 5, 2024

Kendrick Scott!

A quick post today featuring Kendrick Scott playing his Yamaha drums with some very inspired, creative and musical solo drumming:

(thanks to Craig VanDerSchaegen aka The Practicing Drummer for sharing this one via Instagram last week)

Monday, January 29, 2024

Bill Stewart!

Thanks to Wordpress user and YouTuber James Sedge who shared this great bird's-eye view footage of Bill Stewart in action with John Scofield and Vicente Archer:

Photo by James Sedge www.gigexperience.home.blog

(anyone care to comment on what cymbals Bill is playing here?)

Monday, January 22, 2024

Drum Battle with Kenny Washington & Joe Farnsworth

Thank you to Joe Farnsworth for sharing a preview of his "percussion discussion" with Kenny Washington, from a recent hit at New York's Smoke jazz club, part of their Max Roach Centennial Celebration.

editors note: I think that the term "Drum Battle" may be a bit misleading here as it could imply that someone ones wins and someone loses. However, personally I think that when two drummers like this join forces on the bandstand, in fact, everyone wins!

Monday, January 15, 2024

Olio! - Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

And...we're back.

It's already been a busy start to the New Year 2024 but I had a wonderful time attending the JEN conference in New Orleans and I'm already plotting my return to the Crescent City (after all, one can never get enough beignets and chicory coffee...)

A quick shout-out to a bunch of great musicians I heard and all the great people I hung out with who made my trip such an inspiring and memorable experience:

Peter Erskine
Jeff Hamilton
Allison Miller
Rudy Royston
Ignacio Berroa
Johnny Vidacovich
Quincy Davis
Will Kennedy
Jason Marsalis
Matt Wilson
McClenty Hunter
Carl Allen
Shannon Powell
Justin Varnes
John and Mari Jo deWaal
Paul Read and Trish Colter
Natalie Wilson

So what's happening?

Well, as usual, things are on the go these days and I am currently working with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Canada's premier contemporary jazz dance company, on their new production of Olio.

The show runs opens on Thursday, January 18th and runs until January 28th, part of the annual 38th annual 2024 High Performance Rodeo

For ticket information please visit www.decidedlyjazz.com

Olio means a stew, or a collection of thing, and in this case it’s an exciting new performance created by five dynamic choreographers: company dancers Catherine Hayward, Sabrina Naz Comanescu and Kaja Irwin; DJD alumnus, Deanne Walsh; and DJD artistic director Kimberley Cooper. 

The music is played by a trio led by myself on drums with Jonathan Wielebnowski on bass and Chris Tauchner on piano.

I'm really excited about this upcoming show and very proud of this particular production. I've been fortunate to have worked with DJD since 2011 on over a dozen or so shows and projects, all under the musical leadership of bassist and composer Rubim De Toledo. However, for this show I was invited by Kimberley Cooper to be the musical director, to work with each of the choreographers and to offer my own musical ideas and stylistic contributions. 

It is a tremendous honour to work not only with such a great company and talented group of artists but also to have the opportunity to contribute my own original music, compositions and arrangements to their creations.

Last Fall 2023 was quite busy between developing ideas and going back and forth with all the individual choreographers but it's been an exciting ongoing collaborative process. Now that we are only mere days away from our opening night, it's really interesting to see and hear how the choreography and music has come to life and evolved over the last few months. It's really something special to be a part of and I'm very proud of what we've accomplished.

The music for Olio is eclectic, quite diverse and all falls under the giant wide umbrella that is called Jazz. It swings, sings the blues, is up-beat, it's slow and introspective, funky, very rhythmic, it shimmers, rumbles and tumbles and everything in between. It's really been an amazing experience working with Catherine, Sabrina, Kaja and Deanne who all bring so much imagination and passion to their craft. I also really sincerely appreciate Kim for being so supportive, putting her trust in my musical abilities and for inviting me to create the music for this project.

I always find my involvement with DJD to be a creative challenge and enjoy reaching deep and far and wide rhythmically, using the drum set orchestrally to give each piece what it needs, in a unique way that serves both the music and the dance. This show is no different and I've really learned a lot from the compositional and creative process that emerged over the last four months. I think anyone who listens to the music I've written (expressed so musically, I might add, by Chris Tauchner on piano and Jonathan Wielebnowski on bass) will hopefully experience a wide range of my influences, both as a drummer and composer. 

*here's some insider info: both Duke Ellington's Money Jungle album recorded with Max Roach and Charles Mingus in 1962 and Terri Lyne Carrington's 2013 sonic re-imagination of the same album were both significant influences for this project (among others)...but you'll have to hear it for yourself*

This show is definitely a career highlight for me and I really hope you enjoy watching this show as much as we do performing it!

For more information visit: www.decidedlyjazz.com

(photo by Kimberley Cooper)