Monday, November 1, 2010

The Monday AM Paradiddle

-This was a busy weekend with a variety of gigs on the go ranging from a playing an evening of duet's with a piano player, sitting in with a rocking fusion group to kicking a full-sized big band. I feel very fortunate to find myself in so many diverse musical situations these days.

-Speaking of big bands, I'll be performing next Sunday, November 7th in Regina with the Bob Moyer Big Band at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum's annual big band/meat pie extravaganza. Admission includes a take home shepards pie. Can't go wrong with a deal like that : ) I first cut my teeth with this band during the mid 90s and while Bob hasn't been with us since 2005, his legacy and band lives on. I feel fortunate to have worked with Bob when I did and I learned a lot of on the job training from him about playing in a big band, playing for dancers, backing up vocalists and how to play a proper Saskatchewan polka (among many other important things I didn't learn in school!)

-My wife and I caught the Spanish Harlem Orchestra last Wednesday evening at the Jack Singer concert hall at the EPCOR Centre in Calgary. Make sure to see this amazing and tight-knit contemporary salsa orchestra whenever you can. The playing was great, high energy and explosive. Although I'm sure that everyone in the group (and the traditional Cuban son group Septeto Nacional who opened for them) were throughly scratching their heads and wondering why everyone was sitting down and not dancing(!) It's hard to stand still when listening to those guys...

The music was also a nice reminder of my experience traveling to Cuba in 2006 and hearing so much great music on literally an hourly basis. Many of Oscar Hernandez' arrangements for the Spanish Harlem Orchestra caught my attention as I had played some of them during my tenure with the Montreal Jazz Big Band a few years ago. That project in itself was an incredible experience whereas I actually got paid (!) to learn about authentic Afro-Cuban drumming from Mario LaBrosse and his crew of talented percussionists while playing with the MJBB.

-Percussionist Michael Spiro and Jesus Diaz have a great website dealing with conga techniques at www.congamasterclass.com Lot's to learn here !

-Check out Jesse Cahill's recent entry In Defense of Rudimental Drumming over at his blog. Hard to argue with that...

-I'll be presenting a series of workshops later this week at this year's Saskatchewan Music Conference held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I'm looking forward to working with many of Saskatchewan's music educators and hope to impart us much information as I can regarding Jazz drumming and drum set pedagogy. For more information regarding this conference check out their website here: www.saskmusic.org

-A few people forwarded this short film to me. Entitled "The Drummer", this film stars real-life NYC drummer Dave Ratajczak:

The Drummer from Bill Block on Vimeo.

-And finally, courtesy of Toronto drummer and all around nice guy Bob McLaren, here's some tracks of Kenny Clarke from a radio broadcast with the Miles Davis/Tadd Dameron Quintet in Paris circa. 1949:

As always, Klook's the man!!

btw - just over one week to go until PASIC 2010 in Indianapolis...

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