Friday, April 30, 2010

Drumming With Joe Morello

Some great footage today of Master drummer and educator Joe Morello.

From his instructional video, here's Morello demonstrating a few basic hand techniques:

A here's some classic Joe Morello in action with pianist Dave Brubeck:

I had the opportunity to hang out with Morello a couple of years ago in Kingston, Ontario. My good friend, fine musician and fellow McGill jazz drummer Chris Smirnios had been commuting to New Jersey to study with Morello and arranged to have him make the trek up North to present a drum clinic and give some private lessons.

I made the drive to Kingston from Toronto that afternoon to catch the events and was lucky enough to hang out with Morello following his clinic. We sat in the hotel restaurant for several hours listening to his stories and watching him demonstrate his snare technique with two knives on the table (!)

Thanks for the memories Joe !

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Antonio Sanchez

Some fine playing here from drummer Antonio Sanchez who's credits range from playing guitarist Pat Metheny to trombonist Craig Brenan.

Dig his dynamic playing and fine chops on these clips:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lewis Nash on Brushes

For those of you who frequent my blog, you've probably noticed my appreciation for the work of New York Jazz drummer Lewis Nash and for the art of brushwork in general.

Well, today here's another tour-de-force....a dynamic brush solo and a virtual lesson in brushwork with the Master, Lewis Nash, again courtesy of the "Jazz Video Guy" Bret Primack:

This solo really fascinates me in terms of the sound Nash gets from the drums and the technique he uses. Generally, there are two different schools of brush playing in terms of sound production: playing off the head or playing into the head with the brush. In my experience, playing off the head with a staccato stroke is very effective when playing brushes with the snares off. This is how I started to play the brushes myself in the beginning, trying to emulate drummers such as Kenny Clarke and Papa Jo Jones. You get a nice clear sound and very defined, short stroke.

However, when I asked Joe LaBarbera about his brush technique at the Banff Centre during the summer of 1997, he encouraged me to leave the snares on when playing the brushes and trying "digging in" more with the brushes to get a fatter sound. Technically, completely opposite of what I had been used to practicing - but sounds great as well.

These days all brush techniques are good for me and I try to incorporate all of them into my bag o' brush tricks.

The above Lewis Nash drum solo is a great example of playing the brushes with the snares on, digging in to the drums and with what I would consider to be a fatter sound. I've heard Nash play brushes many times before and always considered him to be a Master brush player - although I was always pretty sure he was playing with his snares off and with that sharper articulation that I described above. So it was quite a revelation (for me anyways!) to hear and see Nash play brushes in that manner.

Lewis sounds great, as always. Time to practice my brushes... : )

And (on sticks this time!) here's Lewis swingin' hard with the Joe Lovano Nonet:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adam Cruz

This is one great drummer everyone should be more familiar with !

Here's Adam Cruz with Dave Douglas and Donny McCaslin (my namesake!):

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bill Stewart with John Scofield

Here's drummer extraordinaire Bill Stewart - going back a few years - in a great band that featured John Scofield with saxophonist Joe Lovano and the late, great Dennis Irwin on bass:

John Scofield's album "This Is What We Do", featuring this same group, along with Bill Stewart's Blue Note debut "Snide Remarks" were very influential records to me when they first came out in the early 1990s. My first introduction to contemporary and current jazz drumming trends of the time. I have to thank Mike Shulha, one of my early McGill jazz drumming comrades, for turning me on to Bill Stewart's great playing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

John Riley Masterclass

Lots of great information regarding Jazz drumming and the infamous "Moeller" stroke from jazz drummer & educator John Riley, taken from a recent master class:

Another repost, but here's Riley talking about his approach to uptempo ride cymbal playing:

And here is a short selection from John Riley's excellent recent instructional DVD "The Master Drummer":

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jeff Ballard !!!

Some fine playing here from drummer Jeff Ballard:

And here, some more burning playing this time with Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau:

Lots of toms !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bobby Hutcherson & McCoy Tyner - African Village

Some real high energy vibraphone playing and drumming here from Bobby Hutcherson and Eric Harland, respectively, on McCoy Tyner's "African Village":

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trilok Gurtu - Rhythms of the World

Pseudo-Jazz drummer Trilok Gurtu is truly a musician that defies categories. I've been listening to his brand of world/fusion music since high school and have always appreciated his inclusionary approach to music and bringing different musicians together.

Here is a nice documentary that features Trilok Gurtu along with trumpet visionary Don Cherry:

And here is Trilok in a solo feature demonstrating his unique & creative approach to the "drum set" and assorted percussion instruments:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Billy Martin - Solo Drums

A couple really nice clips of drummer Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame) playing a couple of solo drum pieces:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lewis Nash On Playing Ballads

This one is a repost but I was so taken by Nash's articulate and sincere explanation of playing ballads on the drums, I just felt I had to devote a special post to it:

Brilliant !

Amazingly enough, the art of playing a ballad on the drum set is one that is rarely spoken about or addressed in method books, etc. and it should be...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jimmy Wormworth

Jimmy Wormworth is a great drummer of vast experience that most people don't even know about (!) Fortunately he is still active, working in NYC, plays frequently at Small's and swinging his butt off !

Check out his dynamic sense of swing, shown here playing with tenor titan Grant Stewart:

Some real nice swingin' jazz drumming there. I love the sound and feel he gets from the snare drum during his solo spot - very much from the Philly Joe Jones school of drumming (who maybe got that from Big Sid Catlett?) Great jazz drumming from someone who was there and who has lived it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Drum Tuning Tips

You can own the most expensive and best made drums in the world....but if you don't know how to TUNE them properly, you might as well being playing a very expensive set of cardboard boxes !!! Unfortunately, the proper tuning of a drum set is a very poorly misunderstood concept these days.

Here in these clips, courtesy of the fine people at Evans Drumheads, drum designer Bob Gatzen shares his thoughts, wisdom and strategies on how to properly tune a drumset:

For further information, check out the "Drum Tuning Bible":


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More "Lessons" With Brian Blade !

A few intimate shots of the Master in action, up close & personal:

Is it just me....or does Blade NOT play any kind of standard jazz drumming licks (???) Wow indeed...

A couple shots here of Brian playing in a soundcheck with his Fellowship band:

And here with John Patitucci and Danilo Perez:

Man, even on a "drums-du-jour" set that like that blue set of Ludwigs, Brian Blade still sounds like......Brian Blade !!!

And one last one - here Brian lets loose with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock (Happy 70th Birthday Herbie!) and Dave Holland:

Some really explosive moments in that statment. More than a few lessons and enough inspiration to take away from that to last a lifetime ! Really makes me want to go out and purchase a 16" bass drum and a 24" cymbal...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Doudou N'Diaye Rose

Years ago, when I was in high school, I would watch the now defunct SCN television station (Saskatchewan Communications Network) and tune in to watch their Sunday showings of concerts from the Montreal Jazz Festival from the early 1980s. These was in the pre-internet era, so watching these unreleased concerts was always a rare find. Some of those memorable episodes included concerts featuring the Buddy Rich Big Band, Jaco Pastorious with Bob Mintzer and Peter Erskine, the Maynard Ferguson Big Band (with my old teacher Dave Mancini kicking it!), the Modern Jazz Quartet, Lionel Hampton and Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition ensemble.

Also, this network would often air interesting documentaries about music in general. One program which really caught my attention and left a deep impression on me was entitled: "Djabote: Senegalese Drumming & Song From Master Drummer Doudou N'Diaye Rose" (Directed by Béatrice Soulé and Eric Millot: 1993). Featuring the Senegalese Master Drummer Doudou N'Diaye Rose and his drum ensemble, this performance documentary was my first introduction to the world of West African drumming. I taped that program, watched it dozens of times....only to lose the cassette somewhere along the line (I'm sure it's in a box at my parents house somehwere).

Fortunately, years later in Montreal - while browsing the world music department at the HMV on St. Catherines Street (Hey, remember those days ? Actually going to a store to browse and purchase a CD ? Sage Reynolds - are you reading this ? : )
- I came across an audio recording of this very same documentary that was produced and released by Peter Gabriel's Real World label. Plenty of other great gems on that label. Are they even still producing albums ???

Anyways, I noticed that a portion of that original documentary has popped up on youtube. Please enjoy:

Thank you Mr. Rose !

Monday, April 12, 2010

And This Is How It All Starts...

Just like Bert says: "You gotta have soul..." : )

Even More Drumming and Tap Dancing...

From Clayton Cameron...But this is getting just a tad bit ridiculous:

However, very clever !

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kim Thompson Kicks A**

One last post before the weekend finishes and the dawn of a fresh new week.

This particular clip, featuring drummer Kim Thompson with guitarist Mike Stern, Lew Soloff on trumpet and bassist Francois Moutin laying it down at NYC's infamous 55 Bar, has been inspiring and motivating me very much over the past few days:

Kim Thompson is a terrific jazz drummer who has also performed extensively with Beyonce (!) in addition to the likes of Kenny Barron, Tia Fuller and Mike Stern. I first met Kim a number of years ago while I was wandering the halls of the Manhattan School Music in New York City preparing for my Master's audition. She was a heck of a drummer then and is really playing great these days. The energy in that particular youtube footage is awesome !

She also reminds me of this other fantastic female drummer who also plays the crap out of the drums:

Hmmm...was that one of Tony's old K's that Cindy Blackman is playing in that fine clip ?

I might have to take her (and Tony's!) cue and invest in a couple extra floor toms !

Clark Terry & Louis Bellson on Improvisation

Two masters of their craft: drummer Louis Bellson and trumpeter Clark Terry talk about the Jazz improvisation process:

And if you'll notice, Bellson is only playing one bass drum here - but it's a big one !

Saturday, April 10, 2010

People Who Don't Play The Drums Playing The Drums...

And doing so very well !!!

Here's Michael Brecker pretending to be Elvin Jones:

And Chick Corea grooving hard:

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Art of Brushes: Round Table Discussion

Posted on youtube.com as a companion to the the excellent instructional DVD "The Art of Playing Brushes" - here drummers Steve Smith and Adam Nussbaum sit down behind the scenes and discuss how it works with the masters featured in this DVD: Billy Hart, Joe Morello, Eddie Locke, Ben Riley and Charlie Persip:

Learn from the Masters !

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jabali is Billy Hart

Today a short but very nice documentary feature on drummer Billy Hart courtesy of Bret Primack, the "Jazz Video Guy":

Billy is an amazing drummer who plays with an extreme range of dynamics. Here is a crude but very inspirational clip (to me anyways!) of Hart in a solo spotlight:

And here playing in trio with guitarist Assaf Kehati:

Billy is also a master brush player and was recently featured on the lastest brush instructional DVD produced by Adam Nussbaum and Steve Smith for Hudson music. Check that out if you are interested in learning how the Master's play the brushes. More on that later in the days to come....Here is Hart demonstrating his unique approach to playing Latin music with the brushes:

And of course, saving the best for last (!), here is Billy Hart playing "There is No Greater Love" at Birdland with an all-star band of epic proportions consisting of saxophonists Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Michael Brecker with Rufus Reid on bass and Phil Markowitz on piano:

I was fortunate to study with Billy during the summer of 1998 at the Lake Placid Jazz Workshop held in Lake Placid, New York.
BIlly is a great teacher and speaks from a lifetime of experience - he's literally played with all the greats. In particular, he was quite keen to hang out with us and work with us group of drummers on a daily basis and well beyond the scheduled master classes. Hart had us set up multiple drum sets and invent arrangements for this mass "drum choir" where we could all play together. He was very insistent about us learning tunes on the drums and becoming familiar with the melodic language of bebop learning pieces such as "Blues for Alice" and "Anthropology" on the drums.

Another memorable Billy Hart story....when I was studying with Matt Wilson in New York City during 2004, I eagerly made the trek to the Fat Cat to hear Billy's quartet with Ethan Iverson, Ben Street and Mark Turner. Well, for some reason, Mark never made it to the gig so the band just played trio. I gather the group usually plays original compositions but considering the circumstances they just played an evening of standards. It was a delight and a real lesson to hear these musicians burn on a set of classic tunes (pieces like "Solar"). I'm sure the original tunes they intended to play would have of been great and most likely repertoire documented on this great album:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Wookie Plays Drums

Byron "wookie" Landham is a fantastic drummer from Philadelphia who is probably best known for his extensive work with organist Joey DeFrancesco (does that make Joey = Han Solo?) I've seen Byron play several times with Joey on keys and he's always been a hard swinging, dynamic and musical drummer to listen to.

Here are a couple of clips of "Wookie" in action:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Steve Jordan on Elvin Jones' Cymbals

Some interesting footage here of drummer Steve Jordan, taking time off of his tour with Jon Mayer, to play some cymbals formerly owned by Elvin Jones:

Courtesy of the fine folks at the Bennett drum shop.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Morning with Steve Gadd

Here's some footage of the great Steve Gadd I quite enjoyed shown here playing with percussionists Alex Acuna and Luis Conte:

And is some footage from his "Mission from Gadd" clinic tour courtesy of the find people at Hudson Music:

Haha...any questions ? : )

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jason Marsalis on Vibraphone

Many people know of the youngest Marsalis brother, Jason, as being a world-class jazz drummer. In fact, in one interview I read somewhere, both Branford and Wynton decreed that it was Jason who was the most talented musician of the bunch! Indeed, he is a killing drummer. But what most people probably don't realize that he is a killing vibraphonist as well. Check out Jason in these following clips:

Jason recently released an album in the past year featuring himself on vibraphone (and solo drumset with many ingenious overdubs!) performing his original compositions:

You can hear Jason talk about his relationship to the vibraphone here at Jason Crane's fantastic jazz interview website, The Jazz Session:


Quite the inspiration to all of us aspiring jazz drummer/vibraphonists out there...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gary Burton Solo Vibraphone

Footage of the master by himself, here's vibraphone virtuoso Gary Burton playing some solo vibraphone:

And here, some more recent footage of Burton:

I'm also looking forward to tracking down and tracking and checking out this obscure album (?) that also features Joe Morello on drums:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Victor Lewis

Wise words of wisdom from jazz drummer Victor Lewis courtesy of Drummer's World NYC:

And here playing great with saxophonist Joel Frahm, Kenny Barron and Rufus Reid at the Sweet Basil:

Som nice footage with pianist Don Grolnick, Eddie Gomez, Randy Brecker and Joe Henderson:

A nice reminder as to why Joe Henderson is my favorite tenor player !
Check out the "Complete Don Grolnick on Blue Note" if you can find it. Great playing and great tunes on that two-disc set.

And lastly, a fine solo with Joe Lovano:

Lovano has always got good taste in drummers !!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dan Weiss

In this brief footage NYC drummer and visionary Dan Weiss talks about his latest album project and his influences:

Dan is an incredible drummer and someone who I consider will be recognized as a major innovator in the years to come. His fusion of contemporary jazz drumming with Indian rhythmic concepts is unparalleled in my opinion. I recently heard Weiss perform his piece 'Tintal for Drumset' at last years PASIC conference in Indianapolis. His technical abilities are very impressive and I admire his in-depth knowledge of the Carnatic Indian rhythmic language to the point where he can express this on the drumset with such a sense of musicality. If Tony Williams were raised in Bombay or Calcutta, he probably would have sounded like Dan Weiss !