WELCOME TO FOUR ON THE FOUR: A BLOG ABOUT JAZZ DRUMMING AND ALL THINGS UNRELATED, BROUGHT TO YOU BY JON McCASLIN

Monday, November 28, 2022

Billy Higgins - Firm Roots

Big thanks to Bret Primack aka The Jazz Video Guy for sharing this inspiring footage of the great Billy Higgins with Cedar Walton's quartet (along with David Williams on bass and Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone), featured here on Walton's classic composition Firm Roots, filmed at the Umbria Jazz Festival circa. 1997:

Monday, November 21, 2022

Jo Jones!









Papa Jo Jones: The Man Who Played Like the Wind

A pair of pieces featuring the great Jo Jones today.

First up, a brilliantly epic version of Caravan featuring Jo Jones with Mary Lou Williams circa. 1978. 

I attended a wonderful listening session with Toronto clarinetist Virginia MacDonald last week at the JazzYYC Tune In - Tune Up conference in Calgary, AB. Virginia played a lot of great music for us by many overlooked female jazz artists and Mary Lou Williams featured prominently in her presentation. And of course this eventually led me down a bit of a rabbit hole and I eventually discovered the clip you see below:


Toronto jazz drummer Morgan Childs also shared this Jazz at the Philharmonic concert filmed in the Netherlands circa. 1957 featuring the Oscar Peterson trio, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Stuff Smith and others....with Jo Jones behind the drums, who is swinging the band and audience into a frenzy, all with a big smile on his face!

Take a listen to this entire concert and watch the Master in action:


And a few more things worthy of checking out:

- An older 2020 piece from Vinnie Sperrazza's fine and always insightful blog entitled Listen to Jo Jones

- And Jazz Profiles offers this extensive feature on Jo Jones' musical career

So yes, now go listen to Jo Jones!



Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Four on the Floor T-shirts Have Returned!














"The guys get shirts and that's just the way it is..." 

- Paul Anka


The classic black Four on the Floor t-shirts are now 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 or reach me through Facebook/Twitterland/Instagram and I'll set you up asap.

These are only available in limited quantities and last time these went pretty quickly so don't delay and order today while supplies last!




Adam Nussbaum, John Riley and Francisco Mela all have their Four on the Floor t-shirts and so can you!

Monday, November 14, 2022

Brian Blade '94









I am working towards a very cool collaborative drumming and contemporary dance project these days. So choreographer Catherine Hayward and I were checking out some music featuring Brian Blade with Daniel Lanois for some inspiration last week and of course this lead me down a bit of a Brian Blade rabbit hole. And here it is.

Thanks to Drummerworld's Bernhard Castiglioni who shared these videos of Brian Blade with Joshua Redman circa. 1994:




Monday, November 7, 2022

Interview with Billy Drummond















Check out my recent interview with the great Billy Drummond, who recently released his latest album Valse Sinistre featuring his band Freedom of Ideas on the Cellar Live record label.


I've been a huge fan of Billy Drummond's drumming and music for over 25 years now (thank you Joel Haynes!) so naturally I was very honoured and excited to have the opportunity to speak with one of my drum heroes.

Check it out:


Acclaimed by Downbeat as “one of the hippest bandleaders now at work,” Billy Drummond’s thrilling, powerful and highly musical playing has also made him one of the most called-for sidemen of his generation. 

Mentored in the bands of jazz legends Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, J J Johnson and Sonny Rollins, Drummond is now widely acknowledged as one of today’s most versatile drummers, making sideman appearances with a veritable who’s who of jazz greats on over 350 albums. 

He has made four albums as a leader—including Dubai, a New York Times Number 1 Jazz Album of the Year—and five as a co-leader, including We’ll Be Together Again in Three’s Company, a trio with Javon Jackson and legendary bassist Ron Carter, which made several Top Ten lists of the Year. Modern Drummer magazine recently honored Dubai as one of the 50 Crucial Jazz Drumming Recordings of the Past 100 Years—”distilling to only 50, a century’s worth of drumming on jazz recordings, which by any reasonable guess would comprise tens if not hundreds of thousands of titles.”

Born in Newport News, Virginia, where he grew up listening to his father’s extensive jazz record collection, Drummond was leading his own bands from the age of eight, and teaching adults from the age of just 14, before going on to study classical percussion at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. In the late 1980s, he was encouraged by Al Foster to move to New York, where he was almost immediately recruited to the young band Out of the Blue (OTB), recording Spiral Staircase for Blue Note Records. When OTB disbanded, Billy joined Horace Silver’s Sextet, simultaneously starting life-long associations with Buster Williams and Bobby Hutcherson, and subsequently joining J J Johnson’s band, followed by a three-year stint touring with Sonny Rollins.

Since then, Drummond has performed and recorded with many of the world’s jazz greats, including Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Buster Williams, Steve Kuhn, JJ Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Charles Tolliver, Nat Adderley, Charles McPherson, Eddie Henderson, James Moody, Sheila Jordan, Andrew Hill, Ron Carter, Carla Bley, Eddie Gomez, Larry Willis, Hank Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, Stanley Cowell, Archie Shepp, Joe Lovano, Javon Jackson, Chris Potter, Eric Reed, Ralph Moore, Vincent Herring, Franco Ambrosetti (Italy), Karin Krog (Norway), Sadao Wantanabe (Japan), Toots Thielemans (Belgium), Barney Wilen (France), Laurent DeWilde (France), Jan Lundgren (Sweden), and Michel LeGrand (France).

“I consider myself very fortunate to have come up playing with some of the innovators of jazz who, in many instances, helped shape the way this music is and will always be played,” says Drummond. “Priceless experience for a young person learning how to be a musician. They taught me how to be a professional – to know the material, to be on time and, most of all, to play from your heart.”

In addition, Drummond is a highly respected educator who has taught some of the current generation’s best young drummers while juggling a busy touring schedule with his duties as Professor of Jazz Drums at the Juilliard School of Music and NYU. He also gives private lessons and master classes—via Zoom and in-person—all over the world.