Monday, March 14, 2011

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Hello everyone. Hope you enjoyed your weekend. It's been busy around here with lots of things on the go these days:

-I am currently playing with the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks company in their recent production of WILDS, running at Calgary's Grand Theatre until March 20th. Our first few shows went very well and the reception so far has been very positive. I'm really looking forward to getting deeper into this music as the shows go by. The level of musicianship and overall artistic talent is very high in this production.

It's a real fun challenge to play with dancers in a situation like this. The music, tempos and forms all have to be relatively consistent night-to-night or else it really throws the dancers off in a serious way (!) The challenge is to not only take care of business in those regards but to also keep things fresh and creative within those structures. It is a Jazz show after all ! All in all it's a great experience to be part of.

-I've been getting numerous inquiries lately about my private teaching availability. Yes, I am always accepting students and interested in working with you and answering whatever questions you might have. Drop me a line and we can get together at my studio here in Calgary or arrange for a long-distance web lesson via Skype.

-With Joe Morello's recent passing this weekend, I thought back to the impact that Mr. Morello's drumming has had on myself. I first heard Joe play on the Dave Brubeck album "Time Out" (the first CD that I ever owned that my father purchased for me 20 years ago) and was immediately impressed with his sound, feel and tremendous drumming ability. Being primarily a young drumline snare drummer at the time, his approach not only impressed me but exposed me to the wider musical possibilities of being a drummer.

Several years later I had the opportunity to hang out and take a lesson with Joe while he was doing some teaching in Kingston, Ontario. My good friend Chris Smirnios was smart enough to bring Joe up for a weekend worth of master classes and private lessons during the fall of 2007. I had a great time learning from Joe over several bottles of Heineken in a hotel restaurant with him showing me his basic sticking techniques (playing on the table nonetheless!) and telling many stories from the days of drumming yesterdays gone by. His comments on my grip and arm/wrist/finger movement still resonate today. His methods, instruction videos and book "Master Studies" have since become an important part of my practice routine.

I feel very fortunate and privilege that I had the opportunity to learn from Joe. He will be missed.

-Thanks to Jim Rupp who forwarded this oral history clip of Joe Morello from NAMM www.namm.org/library/oral-history/joe-morello

-A few albums that I've been checking out lately (in between learning music for the DJD dance show!):

Pat Metheny & Chick Corea "Like Minds"- Roy Haynes, drums & Gary Burton, vibraphone

Seamus Blake "The Call" - Bill Stewart, drums

Elvin Jones "Live at The Lighthouse", vol.1 & 2 - Elvin Jones, drums

Don Grolnick "The Complete Blue Note Recordings" - Bill Stewart & Peter Erskine, drums

Joe Dukes "The Soulful Drums of Joe Dukes" - Joe Dukes, drums

-Here's a fun little clip of Gene Krupa to get the week off to a good start featuring an old-school novelty piece entitled "Big Noise From Winnetka":

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