Monday, May 31, 2010

A Tribute To Edgar Bateman

The great Philly based drummer Edgar Bateman, a highly influential yet somewhat obscure drummer, recently passed away.
Bateman, who's playing I was familiar with from his work with vibraphonist Walt Dickerson, was touted by drummers Roy Haynes and Bob Moses as a significant influence on their playing.

Here's a clip of Edgar Bateman swinging hard:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Matt Wilson with Martin Wind's New York Quartet

Inspired playing here from drummer Matt Wilson with bassist Martin Wind, pianist Bill Mays and Scott Robinson on bass clarinet:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peter Erskine on Cymbals

This time it's Peter Erskine's turn to demonstrate more great cymbals at mycymbals.com:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Milt Jackson Quartet

A nice concert here featuring the great Milt Jackson with his quartet:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roy Haynes Cam

For those of us who have always dreamed of spying over Roy Haynes' shoulder while he's playing, here is some footage of Mr. "Snap, Crackle" with great camera angles for us to admire his movements:

And here with pianist Chick Corea and bassist Miroslav Vitous in a "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" reunion:

Dig this nice trailer for a CD boxset & retrospective of Haynes' career:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jack DeJohnette on Cymbals

Today it's Jack DeJohnette's turn to demonstrate cymbals at mycymbal.com. This time Jack is demonstrating his new Sabian "Three Point" ride that has recently hit the market. I played this ride cymbal at last falls PASIC conference. A nice cymbal indeed !

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jeff Ballard Trio

From a recent hit in Europe, here's drummer Jeff Ballard with guitarist Lionel Loueke and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon involved in some pretty inspiring trio playing:

And here's the same band, but from a different gig:

Let's hope that there is an album of this band forthcoming !

Monday, May 24, 2010

John Riley on Cymbals

More cymbal demonstrations from the mycymbals.com and the Memphis Drum Shop, this time played by drummer/educator John Riley.

Amazingly, the Zildjian cymbal company has attempted to recreate Mel Lewis' legendary 22" inch A Zildjian Swish Knocker that was given to him by Dizzy Gillespie.

Check out these nice cymbals here:

Here's more footage, this time of Zildjian R&D maestro Paul Francis demonstrating the recent "Adam Nussbaum" ride cymbal:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jeff Hamilton on Cymbals

The people at mycymbals.com and the Memphis Drum Shop have been posting clips of their fine cymbals for sale, often demonstrated by some of the great jazz drummers of our time (see my previous post of Ali Jackson Jr. doing the same).

Here's Jeff Hamilton demonstrating various cymbals from his "Hammer" cymbal series made by the Bosphorus cymbal company:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Victoria Day Long Weekend with 'Tain and Lewis Nash

I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend !

(this is just a Canadian thing right ?)

I just returned from a two week stint in British Columbia and was happy to see that my preset automatic blog posts that I setup before my trip all materialized as scheduled (!)

To celebrate my triumphant (!) return home before my next swing to Toronto next week - here's a couple of great clips that recently appeared on youtube.com.

Here's Jeff "Tain" Watts laying it out on his original tune "Vodeville":

And here's some "vintage" Lewis Nash in action:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Art Taylor Meets Johnny Griffin

Some nice footage here of drummer Art Taylor and "The Cat" Johnny Griffin:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Manu Katche

Lots of great drumming here from Manu Katche:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kresten Osgood

Some wild and wacky drumming (following an extensive speech in a foreign language!) from European jazz drummer Kresten Osgood:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I've been getting many requests lately to feature more of my technique exercises (it's been awhile!) so here's some chop busters to chew on:


These exercises are based on a concept shown to me by percussionist and all around nice guy Russell Hartenberger (Professor at the University of Toronto and member of the percussion super group "Nexus")

When I studied with Russell during the fall of 1999 at the Banff Centre for the Arts during an extended residency, he gave me several sheets of snare drum exercises that were basically paradiddle patterns but which incorporated accent patterns derived from various traditional Ghanaian drum ensemble pieces (such as Gahu). I found these exercises to be very useful and a very practical and musical application of rudimental snare drum paradiddle patterns.

I've taken this idea a step further and used Russell's concept but using Afro-Cuban clave patterns instead.

I like to think of this being the sort of thing that Joe Morello would have come up with if he grew up playing with Los Munequitos De Matanzas or if Changuito had studied with George Lawrence Stone (!)

So here's the rundown...

Here is a one-bar clave accent pattern written over two bars of 8/4 time:

You can basically look at this pattern as being phrased in groupings of eighth-notes like this:

6 + 6 + 4 + 6 + 6 + 4 (the pattern is repeated)

Similarily, here's a 3-2 Son Clave written the same way:

Groupings: 6 + 6 + 8 + 4 + 8

And the reverse, 2-3 Son Clave:

Groupings: 4 + 4 + 8 + 6 + 6 + 4

And finally, written as a 3-2 Rumba Clave:

Groupings: 6 + 8 + 6 + 4 + 8

So practice all these patterns as single strokes RLRL, etc. and accenting each of these clave patterns. Make sure that the strokes are even and that you are properly playing the accents so the clave pattern is clear. This is important because the whole point of this exercise is PHRASING while using rudiments.

Once you've got that down, start to substitute different paradiddle sticking patterns for the groupings of single strokes, but still following the accent patterns.

Y'a dig ?

So going back to the first 3-2 Son Clave pattern:

I would make the following substitutions:

Groups of 4 = single paradiddle

Groups of 6 = double paradiddle

Groups of 8 = triple paradiddle

So keeping that mind, the 3-2 Son Clave pattern with those paradiddle stickings would look like this:



You could of course also incorporate paradiddlediddles (RLRLRR) for the groups six as well.

For example, here's the same accent pattern but using a different paradiddle/sticking combination:



Really the possibilities are endless and I'll leave it up to you to figure out any number of sticking variations using those accent patterns and different paradiddles. One could write a book of this stuff !

For further ideas of different clave patterns to use, check out Billy Martin's fine coordination book Riddim:

Lots of great clave-type patterns from all over the world are found in that book.

Don't forget that the whole point of this is to make MUSIC. These clave patterns are powerful rhythms and you'll find many interesting ways of playing them on the drum set with these expanded sticking combinations.

I'd like to thank Russell Hartenberger and Dafnis Prieto for their help and inspiration with these ideas.

Now grab your practice pad and hit the 'shed !

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Joey Baron on Roulette TV

Check this out !

A brilliant full-length solo drum concert performed by Joey Baron:

Roulette TV: JOEY BARON from Roulette Intermedium on Vimeo.

Positively amazing...time to shave my head : )

Friday, May 7, 2010

Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense

I received a brilliant DVD in the mail this week - a great documentary recently released entitled "Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense". This documentary is an examination of the state of Jazz music in today's terms as expressed by artists who are currently active and pushing this music forward. Lots of candid opinions and passionate statements from a diverse group of Jazz artists who are leading the charge.

Now, I always contended that there was lots of great information to be found in Ken Burn's PBS documentary series "Jazz" from a few years ago but that it was really about ten episodes too short (!) having glossed over too much important music that was made in the 60s through the 80s and didn't address the dynamic music being made today.

Fortunately, I think this new documentary really fills a much needed void. While it did offer many honest opinions about the challenging current status of Jazz music today, overall I felt a positive message prevailed that this music is indeed alive and moving forward. A nice break from a lot of the doom and gloom, "Jazz is dead" type of messages that so often frequent the press....not that there aren't more than a few hardline statements made in this piece. But they are well grounded statements and I feel that the arguments are balanced and an overall positive message is conveyed.

I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone who is interested playing Jazz today, in the present tense.

Here is a trailer to wet your appetite:

Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense from John Comerford on Vimeo.

And you can learn more about this great documentary here:


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bobby Hutcherson & Kenny Barron

A nice duet today of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson playing with pianist Kenny Barron:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Steve Holmes on Flam Rolls

A very useful lesson on incorporating flam rolls into one's drumming. A great way to "loosen" up your drumming a la Jack, Tony and Elvin:

Compliments of Steve Holmes at the House of Drumming.

Phil Woods On Being A Professional Musician

Courtesy of Calgary jazz pianist Egor Ukoloff.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio

Some very fine playing here from guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Kendrick Scott from a recent tour in Europe:

Tom Tom's ? Who needs any Tom Tom's ???

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rob McConnell RIP

So long Rob and thank you for your music !

btw - that's none other than Jerry Fuller swinging hard behind McConnell in that that clip !

Anat Cohen

What the heck is a clarinet player doing on a jazz drummer's blog ???

Well, I've really been digging this album of clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen's recently:

Great playing and ensemble writing on this one. Oh yes, it also also features the wonderful drumming of Ali Jackson Jr., Antonio Sanchez and Duduka Da Fonseca !

Here is Cohen's Anzic Orchestra at a recent hit at New York's Jazz Standard, with Ali Jackson Jr. leading the charge from the drum chair:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hal Galper on Rhythm & Syncopation

Some fantastic master class footage here today of pianist Hal Galper speaking on various topics relating to the improvisation process:

Courtesy of Bret Primack, "The Jazz Video Guy"....who evidently has access to all the good stuff !