Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Willie Jones III

Impressive footage here of drummer Willie Jones III playing a brilliant solo (sans a high tom!) with guitarist Peter Bernstein:

I first heard Jones play with the Roy Hargrove band about ten years ago when I was making regular trips to New York to hear the likes of Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes play. Hargroves band was playing a lot around NYC at the time or at least it certainly seemed so as they were always playing at the Village Vanguard or the Bluenote whenever I was there (!) In fact I clearly remember eating a slice a pizza at the joint directly above the Village Vanguard while Willie was taking a solo. I know I missed a good one (while eating my slice of course!) as the ground was literally shaking underneath me. I asked the older Italian gentleman working across the counter how he liked all the Jazz music coming from underneath him. "Well, it's alright I guess..." he replied !

Here's a few other shots of Jones playing great:

And here he is playing THE gig of a lifetime with Roy Hargrove, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Billy Hart Masterclass

Some inspiring footage of drummer Billy Hart in a masterclass with students at Western Michigan University:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Philly 9 Stroke - Three Ways

Today's lesson focuses on a pattern that drummer Philly Joe Jones commonly used and how my interpretation of his sticking pattern has evolved over the years.

Jones was a devout student of the snare drum rudiments and regularly incorporated those and other sticking patterns commonly found in the drum texts of Charles Wilcoxin into his solo vocabulary. A common pattern that Jones used over the course of his career involved playing a repeated nine beat phrase of eighth note triplets. Listen to any record he did with Miles Davis and you're bound to hear it (among other albums of course...).

So anyways, when I first started to transcribe Jones' drumming I notated this nine beat pattern like this:

He would commonly play this pattern several times in a row as an over-the-barline type of phrase in 4/4, several times in succession. You'll also notice that the pattern alternates the accents between the right and left hands. However, after showing my transcriptions to my teacher at the time, Chris McCann, he informed me that Philly very rarely played single strokes and was more inclined to use some sort of combination of double strokes. Chris knew this first-hand as he was friends with Jones and at one time followed him around from gig-to-gig, studying him up close.

So taking that into account I started to use this following pattern that uses a combination of double strokes and singles rather than just singles:

This variation also leads with the right hand (rather than shifting the accents between the right and left hands) and I've got a lot of mileage out of this pattern over the years. However, fast forward about fifteen years, and after some time hanging out with John Riley and hearing him talk about Philly Joe Jones' drumming and sticking patterns, I apparently had it all wrong !

According to John this famous Philly nine stroke pattern looks something like this:

If you'll notice the right hand still leads but the combination of double strokes is much different than mine. If you dissect the pattern even further you'll notice that the whole pattern is a basically a 3/4 ride cymbal pattern played with the right hand on the snare drum (1 2+ 3) with the left hand filling in all the missing triplets.

Very logical and that's the genius of it !!!

Of course any of those three patterns work and I try to use all three in my own drumming. The more ways you have to execute a given pattern, the better - I think. And it will only help you unlock and develop further interesting patterns around the drum set.

Here's a repost of the great Philly Joe Jones in action, here performing with Thelonious Monk. Dig his use of double strokes throughout:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Evelyn Glennie on Listening To Music

Today's post features a very insightful video with percussionist Evelyn Glennie speaking about the importance of learning how to listen to music:

Special thanks to my sister-in-law Siobhan Thomas who hipped me to this !

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Thursday...With Roy Haynes !

Indeed - Roy Haynes is the coolest drummer alive !

And here in a duet with pianist Chick Corea:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shannon Powell

Some brief but very groovy footage of Shannon Powell, the "King of Treme", who's a very fine drummer from New Orleans whose credits include work with the Preservation Hall band, Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall:

"Powell's Place" - Preview HD from Tutti Dynamics on Vimeo.

Shannon Powell at WWL CBS morning edition from Howard Lambert on Vimeo.

Shannon Powell takes over the FOX morning news from Howard Lambert on Vimeo.

I first heard Shannon Powell on a Harry Connick Jr. television special on a CBC broadcast from London, England on New Year's Eve circa. 1992. Most of the show featured Connick singing in front of his big band and an orchestra but the rhythm section featured the solid Shannon Powell on drums with Ben Wolfe on bass. The concert featured Connick playing piano in a trio format with Powell and Wolfe for a few numbers (selections from the soundtrack of "When Harry Met Sally" I think ?) including a very hip arrangement of "Stompin' at the Savoy" which featured Powell on a contemporary, Gene Krupa inspired drum solo (with plenty of N'Awlins thrown in for good measure !). I wish I still had a copy of that.

I'm guessing that this show with Connick and Powell was one my first exposures to Jazz on television and I was smart enough to record the concert on my parent's Beta Max recorder. Very influential for me at the time and I eventually wore that tape out !

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Morning AM Paradiddle

Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend as the end of August (and the summer for that matter!) is quickly looming on the horizon. Where the heck did this summer go anyways ?

- Someone in my comments section asked me to recommend my favorite Jack DeJohnette albums as a leader/sideman.
Here's a few of my favorites (I'll probably update this list over the course of the week as I think of more!):

Album Album
Music We Are
Bill Evans at The Montreux Jazz Festival
Anything with the Gateway Trio
Anything with the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio (Bye Bye Blackbird and Standards in Norway are two of my favorites)
Tales From The Hudson
Song X
Anything with Kenny Wheeler (Gnu High, Deer Wan, Double Double You)
Real Book

Please feel free to chime in with your favorites as well.

-I enjoyed a great gig on Friday night at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club here in Calgary and was treated to a fine trio consisting John Riley on drums, Ralph Bowen on tenor saxophone and Kenny Davis on bass. They all sounded great and were all really stretching in their solos over a repertoire of classic standards. It was refreshing to hear such a high level of intensity and I really appreciated Riley's ability to accompany Bowen's long and developed solo's with such patience and musicality. From experience I know it's a challenge to pace yourself properly when playing with a tenor player (such as Bowen) who really likes to stretch and develop a solo over many, many choruses with such authority (paging my dear friend, Montreal tenor Al McLean here !). Also, the trio tackled a few extreme uptempo numbers and Riley demonstrated how it's done with text book precision and musicality. Riley and the others sounded GREAT and I would love to hear a recording of these three in the future.

-I was also very fortunate to spend an evening with John Riley last week for a private lesson over at my studio while he was in town teaching at the Mount Royal University Jazz workshop. John is a very genuine human being and an exceptional teacher. We mostly talked about some different approaches to playing odd meters on the drums and he left me with more than enough things to practice and listen to for awhile (time to stock up on my Dave Holland Quintet albums...). John was also kind enough to share some amazing recordings he had on his iPod featuring a very rare and revealing interview with Tony Williams, some studio outakes from the "Miles Smiles" session (interesting to hear Miles trying to teach Tony how to play that classic groove on "Freedom Jazz Dance") and introduced me to the Joe Morello drum solo on "Sounds of The Loop" (at some points it actually sounds like TWO drummers...check it out it out if you have a chance). If you ever have the opportunity to hear John play (ie. just about every Monday night at the Village Vanguard with the Vanguard Orchestra), see him in a clinic or take a private lesson with him I would highly recommended it. His knowledge of Jazz drumming and his ability to teach and explain those ideas are exceptional.

- My wife and I spent some time not too long ago at the Glenbow art gallery in Calgary checking out an exhibition featuring the work of Quebec abstract artist Jean Paul Riopelle. Similar to the work and concept of Jackson Pollock, Riopelle's works featured large canvases full of brilliant colours and unpredictable shapes. For some reason I feel a connection to his abstract paintings and in many ways I relate to his concept of "order from chaos". I sometimes wonder if his paintings might make a good visual representation of some of my drum solos (!)

- If anyone from Calgary is reading this please come out to some exciting gigs I am playing this coming Thursday and Friday evenings at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club playing with a great band featuring the music of Cannonball and Nat Adderley:

A Tribute To The Adderley Brothers

Thursday, August 26 & Friday, August 27



Gerry "Cannonball" Hebert - Alto Sax

Johnny "Nat" Summers - Trumpet

Steve Fletcher - Piano

Kodi Hutchinson - Bass

Jon McCaslin - Drums

- I've got quite a bit on my plate coming up over the next month so my blogging is going to slow down a little bit. Thank you for your patience and your continued support.

- Hey does anyone know of some happening Jazz clubs in Rome ?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Greg Hutchinson Meets Bill Stewart

Some intense double drumming here featuring Bill Stewart and Greg Hutchinson going at it with Joshua Redman's double quartet:

Check out the over-the-top drum duet in this segment:

Wow - I can only imagine what it must be like to play between those two guys !!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frankie Dunlop Strikes Again

Another solo today from the underrated Frankie Dunlop (in my opinion anyways!):

During my studies at McGill University in Montreal with drummer/pianist Andre White, studying Frankie Dunlop's approach to comping and his unique solo style was standard fare. His big, fat swinging eighth note feel is something quite different from his contemporaries and provided the perfect compliment to the rest of the Thelonious Monk band. For awhile I was also really into playing along with Monk records that featured Dunlop on drums with his rhythm partner John Ore on bass. I'm a big fan of the bouncy quarter note feel they got when grooving at medium tempos. Check him out !

Of course his resume wasn't limited to his work with Monk and I would be very interested in hearing his other work with other band leaders as well. Any suggestions ?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jack DeJohnette & John Surman

Some VERY long distance footage of Jack DeJohnette and saxophonist John Surman in duet:

I saw DeJohnette and Surman play a duet concert like this at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2001 and it was a life changing experience for me. I was sitting only a few feet from DeJohnette's drums during the show and it was a revelation to experience his nuance of sound and dynamics from the drums. Jack also played quite a bit of piano and that was impressive as well !

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Max Roach Speaks

From a Masterclass in 2001 at Loyola University part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, here's the Master himself Max Roach talking and playing:

Notice how sharply dressed Mr.Roach is !

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Joe Morello "It's About Time"

A very rare and out of print album here from Joe Morello featured with his sextet and big band:

This album represents Joe Morello's first work as a band leader following his tenure with Dave Brubeck. Some really inspired and swinging playing here from Joe in both sextet and big band settings. I think this is the first time I've heard Morello swing a big band !

Someone was nice enough to post the audio of this album on youtube and special thanks to Mike Tarrani at www.drumz4sale.blogspot.com who brought this great album to my attention in the first place via his blog.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Liebman, Nussbaum & Swallow

Some fine trio playing here from the Masters Dave Liebman, Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum:

It's always a treat to hear these three musicians play together. Their musical history goes back so many years and they really have a connection that only comes with having spent countless hours playing together.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Monday Morning RLRR LRLL

- Vocalist Abbey Lincoln recently passed away. She was actually quite an influence on me during my younger years as when I first got into Jazz as I was listening a lot to Max Roach. Two of the first Max Roach records I purchased were Roach's "We Insist...Freedom Now" and "Percussion Bitter Suite" and while they were quite influential to me as a drummer, they also featured the majestic and powerful voice of Abbey Lincoln:

- Looking for something to practice ? Vancouver Jazz drummer Jesse Cahill has been diligently posting many great drum lessons on his blog. Lots of great and practical things to practice here

- Does anyone have a copy of drummer Joe Dukes' album "The Soulful Drums of Joe Dukes" he recorded with Jack McDuff ? I would love a copy of this one !

- The pen truly is mightier than......a drumstick ?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another Comping Exercise...

This is a variation I came up with based on a popular application of the exercises found in the book Stick Control to develop useful Jazz independence and comping skills on the drum set.


The basic exercise that we'll start with is this:

*btw - I didn't come up with this basic one : )

(I'm going to credit Alan Dawson with this, although Chris McCann hipped this to me a number of years ago)

So then...

Play the ride cymbal rhythm with your right hand with the hihat on beats 2 & 4

Using the first pages of Stick Control divide the rhythms between your left hand on the snare drum and bass drum using this key:

R = Bass Drum

L = Snare Drum (left hand)

So what you get is a constant stream of swung eighth-notes between your left hand and bass drum underneath the steady ride cymbal and hihat. This in itself will take some careful and persistent practice to master, so take your time. Don't forget to keep the ride cymbal beat on top of the overall sound or else it can easily get buried underneath the constant rhythms of the snare and bass drum. And of course if it ain't swingin', it's not going to work and sort of defeats the purpose !

This is overall a very useful exercise to develop your Jazz independence skills. However, I don't think I've ever heard a serious Jazz drummer who's worth his mettle accompany a soloist with a constant stream of eighth notes between the snare and bass drum for measures and choruses on end !

Independence and coordination are of course important skills to have but one of the important keys to applying all this technical stuff in a musical situation is how you use......SPACE

So the following is my own variation of the above Stick Control Jazz independence exercise that takes the use of SPACE into acccount:


Instead of playing a constant steady stream of swung eighth notes, use these rhythmic cells instead:

Apply the sticking variations from Stick Control between the snare and bass drum using these cells and you'll develop a whole new vocabulary that is readily applicable to playing with other musicians.

For example:

Take the line of Stick Control that is LRLL RLRR (a single paradiddle starting on the left hand)

Voiced between the snare drum and bass drum (play with ride cymbal and hihat accompaniment - not notated here) this pattern would look like this:

Now apply that sticking with the various rhythmic cells as above. I'd suggest repeating each rhythmic cell several times to really get into the feel of each one (like 8 times each or so)

So here is LRLL RLRR broken up between the snare/bass drum using cell #1:

Ya' dig ?

You'll find that you can take a simple rhythmic cell or "motif" and use it in several different and practical ways.

See what other variations like this you can come up with on your own.

As Bob McLaren likes to say: "Just something to practice and keep you off the streets!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ian Froman

Some very cool home footage (featuring multiple camera angles!) of Ottawa raised, Berklee educated, New York based Jazz drummer Ian Froman:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dan Weiss Encore

More footage today of modern day Jazz drumming innovator Dan Weiss doing his thing:

Pretty ridiculous if you ask me...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Newk Speaks

When Sonny speaks....we listen:

Thank you to Saskatoon Jazz educator Nick Fanner who passed this on to me !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cannonball, Louis Hayes & Homework

I've got an exciting gig coming up at the end of the month playing with the Gerry Hebert/Johnny Summers Quinet at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club that will feature repertoire from the classic Cannonball Adderley Quintet. So I'll be checking out a lot of drummer Louis Hayes in the coming weeks.

Here's a few clips of that classic band playing some of thier hits that have provided me more than enough motivation and inspiration to hit the woodshed lately:

And this one is a repost but Louis Hayes is absolutely burning so here it is again:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ari and Edmar

I caught this duet of Ari Hoenig and harpist Edmar Casatneda on the Small's feed last December.

Here is small taste of the amazing music I heard, from a recent gig of theirs:

I really hope these guys have a duet recording project in the works !

Or perhaps a youtube clip longer than 0:43 seconds : )

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

-After reorganizing my CD collection and relocating it to a new spot in my basement last week, I made of point of cataloguing and listening to all my favorite albums that feature Canadian Jazz drummers as band leaders. Here's a few that I particularly enjoy:

Andre White- "Signal"

Barry Elmes -"Different Voices" and "Time Warp"
(I actually have an original copy of their first album on vinyl from the late 70s!)

Terry Clarke - "It's About Time"

Chris McCann - "Froggin' Around" and "Calypsony"

Ted Warren - "First Time Caller" and "Songs For Doug"

Karl Jannuska - "Liberating Vines"

Dave Robbins - "At The Mark"

Joel Haynes - "The Time Is Now" and "Transitions"

Morgan Childs - "Time"

Barry Romberg - "Random Access"

Mark McLean - "Playground"

Nick Fraser - "Drumheller"

Thom Gossage - "The Now Beyond"

Michel Lambert - "Drum Duets"
(you can find these amazing tracks here)

- And a few other outstanding Canadian Jazz drummers that I would like to hear leading their own recorded groups on CD
(this is my own selfish plea here... : )

Bob McLaren
Dave Laing
Jesse Cahill
Jim Doxas
Dan Skakun
Anthony Michelli
Kevin Dempsey
Ian Froman
Jim Blackley
Brent Jefferson

- Hey does anyone know if Jerry Fuller or the elusive Claude Ranger ever led any recording dates as a leader ???

-Alrighty, after caving into popular demand from several people here is my tried, tested and true crepe recipe (courtesy of an old tattered copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook !)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted

How to make the crepes:

Measure and stir in the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
For each crepe, lightly butter a skillet and heat over medium heat until butter is bubbly.
Pour scant 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet and immediately rotate pan until batter covers bottom.
Cook until light brown; turn and brown on other side.

Most people are amazed that you don't need one of those special crepe griddles, like the ones you see in restaurants. I use a large Wok and find that it works great !

Serve with large quantities of maple syrup and enjoy !

- Hey check this cat out ! I've never heard of him but he sounds great.

-And last but certainly not least, here's a clip of my good friend and percussionist Memo Acevedo from an old SCTV clip with John Candy. There are also a few other Toronto Jazz musicians who make a guest appearance in this bizarre skit. Mambo !

Friday, August 6, 2010

Conversation With Dafnis Prieto

A very informative interview and discussion with drummer Dafnis Prieto about his process of music making:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Francisco Does It Again...

I've really been enjoying these clips of drummer Francisco Mela lately:

I really dig Mela's wide open sound and style. Very Roy Haynes and Jack DeJohnette'ish with a distinct Cuban element thrown in.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jeff Ballard

A few more clips of one of my favorite drummers these days, Jeff Ballard strutting his stuff:

His inventiveness and sense of rhythm, pulse and orchestration really impress me everytime.

And of course I've posted this one before....but I like it so much here it is again:

An epic !

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Michael Carvin Solo Drums & Clinic

A wealth of great drumming and good information here from drummer and educator Michael Carvin - a legendary Jazz drum teacher who was evidently taught a lot of very accomplished Jazz drummers in his time:

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend wherever you may be.

Don't forget your bug spray. Those little bastards are vicious these days !!!

Now onto my Monday morning ramble...

- A big thank you to Neil Corlett and all the staff and students who participated in the MusiCamp Alberta music workshop held in Red Deer last week. Lorna MacLachlan did a fabulous job of getting the vocal Jazz students to sing together and it was a delight to back them up in the rhythm section with bassist extraordinaire Stefano Valdo. Also some very nice moments during the Friday evening faculty concert with saxophonist Mark DeJong and trumpeter Joel Gray joining Lorna, Stefano and myself in a quintet that performed Lorna and Mark's original compositions.

- How about those Riders ? They managed to pull out a win over the Hamilton TigerCats on Saturday evening with a score of 37-24 at Mosaic Stadium to improve their record to 4-1 this season. Hamilton receiver Arland Bruce III had a career game but Rider kicker Luca Congi kept us in the game and we somehow found a way to win. Looking forward to the matchup against Montreal on Friday evening. Should be a good one. And ugly : )

- Thank you to George Marsh who kindly emailed me the other day following my previous post about him and Matt Wilson.
Check out Marsh's thought provoking book "Inner Drumming" at his website www.marshdrum.com

You can learn more about his fine recordings and books there. If you dig around there are also a number of interesting percussion metronome .mp3's you can download to play along with.

Here are a few more clips of George Marsh performing some solo drum pieces:

- In my previous post I mentioned the passing of British Jazz Drummer and Oscar Peterson sideman Martin Drew. Unfortunately Britain lost another great Jazz drummer recently with the passing of Chris Dagely in a tragic bike accident over the weekend. I recently heard Dagely play in October at Ronnie Scott's in a band that opened for The Bad Plus. I remember being really impressed with his playing as it's always nice to hear another great Jazz drummer who I've never heard of before playing so great. For more information check out this webpage: http://londonjazz.blogspot.com/2010/07/chris-dagley.html

- Looking for something to practice during the summer doldrums ? Check out Pete Lockett's online snare drum book "Symetrical Stickings For The Snare Drum" here. Some really interesting approaches to applying paradiddle'ish stickings to create interesting and practical patterns. Oh yes, and it's free ! If you poke around his website you'll find many other great things to practice as well that should keep you occupied for several summers !!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Martin Drew RIP

British Jazz drummer Martin Drew recently passed away:


Thanks to Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen who made me aware of this. Drew was a fine drummer and long-time accompanist of Oscar Peterson and British saxophonist Ronnie Scott.