Monday, October 10, 2011

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

I'm happy to be spending Thanksgiving in Montreal this year (that's Canadian Thanksgiving, eh?) and it's been great catching up and playing with old friends in my old town after a brief stopover in Toronto last week. I spent the better part of ten years studying and working in Montreal and I owe a lot to the musicians in this town in terms of my own personal musical development and personal journey.

- My wife and I hit the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill on Saturday evening to hear trumpeter Kevin Dean and his fine quintet consisting of Janis Steprans on tenor saxophone, Andre White on piano, Alec Walkington on bass and Dave Laing on drums. The band sounded great, as always, on a program of Kevin's brand new compositions that, while impressively steeped in the hard bop tradition of Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Barry Harris, Blue Mitchell and Horace Silver, featured everyone very nicely on hard swinging and very cleverly written compositions and arrangements.

- Kevin has a real talent for writing interesting and well thought out melodic compositions that are equally fun to play as they are to listen to. I was lucky to study Jazz composition with Kevin during my McGill days and he always stressed the importance of integrating the arrangement within the composition and this is something that he does very well. I've tried to incorporate that concept in writing my own compositions and I feel that this always provides for memorable compositions and it's a very useful overall composing technique.

- Drummer Dave Laing is one of the nations best on drums. I was fortunate to study with Dave during my undergrad years at McGill and also had the opportunity to watch him in action on a regular basis with many of Montreal's top Jazz artists back in the day. Listening to Dave's hard swinging and driving cymbal beat and hearing his exceptionally clear phrasing on the drums is always inspiring, refreshing and a nice incentive to hit the woodshed once I get home! I also sat in a rehearsal with Joe Sullivan's big band and witnessing Dave's thundering and driving beat reminded me of why his playing has always been one of my favorites.

Here's a little sample of "Scooter" in action:

- Pianist & drummer Andre White has recently resurrected in his long-time website "Jazz View" that features interviews with many of Canada's leading Jazz artists. Dig that here: http://andrewhite.ca/jazzview/newoverview.html
Look for an upcoming interview with Jerry Fuller from Andre's archives. Jerry was certainly one of Canada's influential Jazz drummers during his time.


A few things to take note of these days that caught my interest lately:

- Drummer/author/educator Steve Fidyk has an upcoming article in the November issue of Modern Drummer magazine where he discusses some different approaches to dealing with playing the ride cymbal from the perspective of holding the stick using some different fulcrum points. Here's the video portion of this article:


- Ethan Iverson, pianist with the Bad Plus and blogger over at DO THE MATH, interviews legendary swinger Mickey Roker over here:


My fellow Canadian Jazz drummer/bloggers have been busy over at their respective blogs:

- Vancouver-based Jesse Cahill has some great lessons dealing with variations on a common three-note phrase between the hands and feet over here:


- Ted Warren over at his blog Trap'd has more interesting brush lessons plus an inspiring article about what it really means to play the music at hand with focus, purpose and integrity:


- Ralph Peterson Jr. has a new instructional DVD in the works. I'm really looking forward to checking this out in it's entirety. In the meantime, several excerpts of this video have been posted at drummerworld.com

Check those out here:

- Likwise, drummer Eric Harland has a DVD of his own coming out as well and a few previews of those can be checked out here as well:

Dig the "blues" in particular! Wow...

- Speaking of Eric Harland, here he is in a unique duet with trumpeter Avishai Cohen in some ruins:

- Here's some nice up close footage of drummer Billy Hart taking his turn during a performance with "The Cookers":

Just don't take his picture up close with the flash on while he's playing!!!

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