Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spike & Norm

I got a kick out of this dialogue between two old Canadian Jazz drummers filmed at Spike McKendry's recent 75th birthday celebration:

I first met Spike in Montreal years ago as he would often pop his head into Biddle's or Upstairs during one of his visits to town. Andre White introduced us to each other and Spike was always keen to talk shop with me about Jazz drumming and would regale me with stories about Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones and Buddy Rich from back in the day. We also talked over lunch a few years ago while I was in Toronto during the 2008 IAJE conference (Spike has since moved back to Montreal) and I think I learned more about about Tony Williams in an hour's conversation with Spike than all the drum books and magazines combined!

I didn't meet Norman Marshall Villeneuve until I moved to Toronto in 2007 (he and Spike would always hang out at the weekly jam session at the Rex) but I was certainly aware of his legacy and contributions from his days in Montreal. Incidentally, I played with pianist Oliver Jones this past weekend who is Norm's cousin (!) As you can see in the clips below Norman Villeneuve is a hard swinging drummer, very much in the spirit and style of the great Art Blakey (dig the sparkling/glow-in-dark drumsticks and his solo with a pair of maracas in the second clip!)

A particular quote brought a smile to my face from the very first clip above. When asked if those two were competitive with each other back in the day, Spike replied: "No, we were all friends. Montreal drummers were all friends with each other."

That says it all. Even today it's important that we remember that we're still all in this together!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Octagone Octet and Broken City Jazz Jam

Just a head's up for a couple of exciting events happening this week:

The Summit Jazz Series Presents


Saturday, June 2nd 2012
National Music Centre
(formerly known as Cantos)
134 11 Ave SE
$15/$10 Students


Al Muirhead - Trumpet
Mark DeJong - Alto Sax
Jim Brenan - Tenor Sax
Carsten Rubeling - Trombone
Sarah Matheson - Bari Sax
Jon Day - Piano
Jeff Gammon - Bass
Jon McCaslin - Drums

I'm looking forward to playing with this medium-sized ensemble on Saturday evening at the National Music Centre. We've managed to put together a size-able book of great music over the past few years (since my time working with a band such as this during my time at the University of Toronto). We'll be featuring Calgary's Jazz icon Al Muirhead on trumpet as well as pianist Jon Day who has recently returned to Calgary.

The Broken City Jazz Jam

Saturday, June 2nd 2012
613 11th Avenue SW


The McCaslin Vibraphone Project

Jon McCaslin - Vibraphone
Tricia Edwards - Piano
Bryan Niblock - Drums
Jeff Gammon - Bass

Yes, the Jazz jam session at Broken City is indeed still happening days. Ideally, I'm told that it will be held the 1st and 3rd weekends of every month unless there is a conflict (such as the upcoming Sled Island festival or the Stampede) which in that case they will try to re-schedule for a different weekend. I'm looking forward to another outing on the vibraphone and a good time will be had by all. Please come on by to support Calgary's longest running Jazz jam session. And once the session at Broken City wraps up, head on down to the National Music Centre to catch Octagone!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes

Thanks to the BBC here is a great documentary on the life and music of one of Jazz music's greatest icons:

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

It's been a few busy days here having participated in the first annual National Jazz Summit here in Calgary, a full day of workshops on Saturday and then a quick jaunt up to Edmonton to play at the Yardbird Suite for Ralf Buschmeyer's "Jazz Speak" CD release.

-A few more thank you's and shout out's are in order today to several great people I've had the pleasure of working with over the course of the past week:

Oliver Jones
Jim Brenan
Rubim de Toledo
Viijay Iyer
Dean McNeill
Ian Menzies
Andrew Moskar
Candace Elder
Tim Tamashiro
Ralf Buschmeyer
Doug Organ
Jeremiah McDade
Andrew Scott
Kevin Willms
Jonathan Bell and the students from E.P. Scarlett High School

-Here's a great clip of drummer Lewis Nash in action with alto saxophonist Antonio Hart and Michael Dease on trombone from a hit at the Blue Note with the Jimmy Heath big band:

-And here's a dynamic solo from Ian Froman (with a little help from Brad Turner!)

-Drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. turns 50 this week and celebrates the release of a new sextet CD. Check out this article on Ralph's recent happenings:


And this podcast interview with Ralph:


btw- if you haven't seen Ralph's latest instructional DVD from jazzheaven.com buy it NOW !!!

-Thanks to CBC Music Online, here's a great interview with Jack DeJohnette who recently turned 70 and was named an NEA Jazz Master:


-What am I listening to these days?

Joe Pass/Ray Brown/Milt Jackson/Mickey Roker "Quadrant" - Mickey Roker (drums) & Milt Jackson (vibraphone)

Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Sextet "Illumination" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Jo Jones "The Jo Jones Trio" - Jo Jones (drums)

Oliver Jones "A Class Act" - Ed Thigpen (drums)

Rob Frayne & Chris McCann "Calypsony" - Chris McCann (drums)

Derrick Dickens "Search for the Cobra - Drum Duets" - Derrick Dickens & Matt Wilson (drums)

Thelonious Monk "Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane" - Shadow Wilson (drums)

-I've got a lot of interesting stuff on the go over the next while. If you are interested in hearing me play around town over the next month, here my are my upcoming gigs for the month of June:


1- Drum Workshop - Banff, AB

2 - Hosting the Broken City Jazz Jam (with the McCaslin Vibraphone Project) 3-6pm

2 - Octagone Octet @ The National Music Centre (formally known as Cantos) 7pm

6 - Ralf Buschmeyer Trio - Bragg Creek, AB 12pm

7 - Special guest with the Western Canada High School Jazz studies program 7pm

9 - Jeremy Coates Quartet @ The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club 9pm

18 - The McCaslin/Valdo Vibraphone & Bass duet project - Waves Coffee House (Calgary West location) 7:30pm

20 - The McCaslin Vibraphone Project (featuring pianist Lorna MacLachlan) - ProArts Noon Hour Music Series @ The Church of the Redeemer 12pm

20 - The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble - Leacock Theatre, Mount Royal University

22 - Phil Dwyer Trio @ The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club 9pm

23 - The McCaslin Vibraphone Project - The Belfry 7pm

28 - The Jeff McGregor Trio - Kawa Espresso Bar 8:30pm

30 - Shane Statz Quartet "Plays Sonny Rollins" @ The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club 9pm


8 - 14 - Prairielands Summer Jazz Camp (Regina, SK)

Thanks again for visiting Four on the Floor and have a great week everybody!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some Green Drums...

I'm kind of on the run for the next four days here so not much in terms of blog posting for the coming few days. In the meantime, for all the drum nerds out there, here's a few pictures of my drums and cymbals (and my shoes, if you look closely!) from today's rehearsal with Oliver Jones in advance of tomorrow evening's concert at the Grand Theatre in downtown Calgary as part of the National Jazz Summit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ed Thigpen - C Jam Blues

In advance of my gigs with pianist Oliver Jones this week as part of the National Jazz Summit here in Calgary, I'm shifting gears somewhat from having played pretty much only my own original music for the past four weeks. This is not a bad thing as I thrive on being a drummer that can go both directions, between being a bandleader and a sideman...and I consider myself very lucky to have that opportunity these days!!!

Oliver is a pianist coming out the Oscar Peterson school of Jazz piano playing so what better way to get into that zone as a drummer than to listen to lots of Ed Thigpen!

Here's the classic trio featuring Thigpen with Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown on Ellington's "C Jam Blues":

In terms of this particular stylistic approach to piano trio drumming I've also been checking out Jeff Hamilton's trio as well as Lewis Nash's work with Tommy Flanagan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The National Jazz Summit with Oliver Jones

I'm very excited to be participating this coming week in the first inaugural National Jazz Summit which is taking place in Calgary May 23-26. This is a co-production between the National Music Centre (formally known as the Cantos Music Foundation), the Banff Centre, CADME and JAZZ IS.

Along with my partners-in-crime Jim Brenan on tenor saxophone and Rubim de Toledo on bass (collectively known as the "Invertigo Trio") we'll be performing with Canadian Jazz legend and pianist Oliver Jones on Friday, May 25th at the Grand Theatre following three days of workshops and rehearsals. Pianist Vijay Iyer (who is currently taking over from Dave Douglas as head of the Jazz workshop at the Banff Centre) will also be sharing the bill with us that evening.

I'll also be presenting a workshop on the afternoon of Saturday, May 26th with visiting University of Saskatchewan Professor Dean McNeill. We'll be working with a student combo from E.P. Scarlett High School and discussing various aspects and dynamics of small group Jazz improvisation.

I have to say that I'm really looking to working with Oliver Jones. I first heard Jones during his performance in Regina, Saskatchewan around 1992-1993 when he and bassist Dave Young performed at the local Regina Jazz Society. After the show I purchased a copy of his album "A Class Act" which featured Jones with bassist  Steve Wallace and drummer Ed Thigpen and this CD got a lot of airplay around my house as a kid (my father particularly enjoyed this one as well!) This was actually my first introduction to Thigpen's drumming and I was mesmerized by his groove and solo on the Oliver Jones original calypso-inspired theme "Stan Pat".  Of course this led to a life-long appreciation and study of Thigpen's work with the Oscar Peterson trio.

For more information about the events taking place during the National Jazz Summit, please visit the National Music Centre's website:


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Adderley Brothers

Well, it's been a busy long weekend over here at Four on the Floor. Thanks to everyone who came out to my CD release at the Beatniq on Friday and Saturday nights. The band played great and your support is much appreciated. If you are interested, you can purchase my new album Sunalta

Just a few thank you's and a quick shout-out to:

Gordon Fick
Andrew Noakes
Kat Dorian at CJSW
Brad Turner
Jim Brenan
Rubim de Toledo
Tom Van Seters
Rob Young
Gerry Hebert
The staff at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club
David Ward
Tim Tamashiro
John DeWaal
Kodi Hutchinson

Since today is a holiday (Victoria Day up here in Canada) just sit back and enjoy this one of the Adderley brothers from a Jazz Casual television spot featuring some, as always, great drumming from Louis Hayes:

Friday, May 18, 2012

This Weekend! Sunalta CD Release - Calgary

Hey Calgary!

If you are in town, don't miss this weekends pair of gigs. I'm performing with my quintet at the Beatniq both Friday & Saturday evenings with an outstanding group of musicians. Come on out an enjoy the music from my new CD Sunalta. It's going to be epic!!!

The Jon McCaslin Quintet
Sunalta - Calgary CD Release

Appearing at:

The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club www.beatniq.com

811 - 1st Street SW 
Calgary, AB

Friday, May 18

Saturday, May 19



Jon McCaslin – Drums 

Brad Turner - Trumpet (Vancouver)

Jim Brenan - Tenor Saxophone

Tom Van Seters - Piano (Edmonton)

Rubim de Toledo – Bass

Canadian jazz drummer Jon McCaslin is proud to present his latest release Sunalta on the Cellar Live record label, a collection of 12 original contemporary jazz compositions that feature an all-star quintet comprised of Brad Turner (trumpet), Phil Dwyer (tenor saxophone), Tilden Webb (piano) and Jodi Proznick (bass) with additional special guests on two septet numbers. This recording is a highly anticipated sequel to McCaslin’s 2003 debut release McCallum’s Island and features his hard swinging cymbal beat, tight ensemble work and musical drum solos in the context of a diverse selection of melodic and dynamic original compositions. With all the tunes on this album penned by one of Canada’s emerging jazz drummers, these pieces are inspired by the people, places and journeys that have shaped his life over the past ten years.

CD available at: www.cellarlive.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alvin Fielder Plays

Thank you to Chad Anderson, cymbalholic guru and 16" inch bass drum lobbyist, for passing this one on to me last night. It was a pleasant surprise to find this clip in my inbox after coming home in the rain after grabbing a burger and a beer at my local pub following a very successful live radio broadcast with my trio promoting my new album and upcoming CD release at the Beatniq this weekend (thank you to Gordon Fick, Andrew Noakes, Kat Dornian and everybody at CJSW!)

I have to say that I'm not all that familiar with Fielder's drumming but I really dig what I have heard (largely in part to Chad's many writings and praise over the years).

See for yourself, the Master in action:

Thanks to allaboutjazz.com here's an interesting article about this profound drummer worth reading:


And from 2009 here is a piece over at Destination Out on Fielder with some recommended music to check out:


I love this quote from Fielder (describing his style):

“I wanted to play my bebop as loose as possible and I wanted to play my free music as tight as possible.”
Works for me!

And here's a brief clip of Fielder talking about the great Billy Higgins:


Furthermore, here's what the all-knowing Wikipedia has to say about Alvin Fielder:

"Alvin Fielder (b. November 23, 1935, Meridian, Mississippi) is an American jazz drummer. He is a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Black Arts Music Society, Jackson, Mississippi, Improvisational Arts Trio/Quartet/Quintet and is a founding faculty member of the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. William Butler Fielder, jazz and classical trumpeter, Rutgers University Jazz Professor is Fielder's only sibling.

Fielder began playing drums at age 12, heavily influenced by recordings of Max Roach. While a student at Xavier University in New Orleans, he studied under Ed Blackwell at the recommendation of Earl Palmer, jazz drummer. When he continued studying pharmacy at Texas Southern University in Houston, he "worked with the "Pluma" Davis sextet, which included Don Wilkerson, Richard "Dicky Boy" Lillie, John Browning, and Carl Lott. Backed such artists as Lowell Fulsom, Amos Milburn and other R&B artists with extended engagements in Houston. Also did several studio dates for Duke records. Active on Houston jazz scene with Jimmy Harrison Quintet, John Browning Quintet, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson Sextet." He later went to graduate school in pharmacology. After taking his degree at the University of Illinois, he began playing in Chicago, co-founding the AACM in 1965. Over the next several years Fielder played with Sun Ra, Muhal Richard Abrams, Eddie Harris, Kalaparusha, Fred Anderson, Lester Lashley and Roscoe Mitchell. Fielder is among the musicians on Roscoe Mitchell's "Sound" recorded in 1966.

In 1969, due to his father's ill health, he returned to his home state of Mississippi. Fielder took responsibility for managing the family business, became active in school desegregation, and continued to pursue his passion for the music. In 1971 he met John Reese. Fielder became very active in and helped develop Reese's fledgling Black Arts Music Society (BAMS). Fielder was instrumental in bringing many important artists to Mississippi. The artists include Muhal Richard Abrams, Alvin Batiste, Ron Brown, Betty Carter, Teddy Edwards, Malachi Favors, Dexter Gordon, Dick Griffin, Johnny Griffin, Eddie Harris, the Heath Brothers, Billy Higgins, Joseph Jarman, Joseph Jennings, Clifford Jordan, Kidd Jordan, Oliver Lake, Mulgrew Miller, Woody Shaw, Robert Stewart, Kenneth Thomas, Henry Threadgill, Freddie Waits and Cassandra Wilson. Cassandra Wilson, a native of Jackson Mississippi, as a teenager was introduced to and encouraged to sing bebop by BAMS.

In 1975, Clifford Jordan and Fielder began working with Kidd Jordan in an improvisational ensemble. At times it was The Improvisational Arts Trio, Quartet and Quintet. Clyde Kerr, Alvin Thomas, Kent Jordan, Darryl Lavigne, Johnathan Bloom and Elton Herron have played with Improvisational Arts at various times. Fielder has appeared at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year from 1975 to 2008. In 1995, Fielder participated as a founding faculty member (the only non-Louisiana musician) in the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. He has taught every year until 2008.

He recorded in 1987 with Ahmed Abdullah, Charles Brackeen, and Dennis Gonzalez, and continued exploring in the free jazz vein in the 1990s with Joel Futterman, Kidd Jordan, and others. He toured with Andrew Lamb in 2002, and released the album A Measure of Vision under his own name in 2007.

In 2012, Fielder was awarded the Resounding Vision Award by Nameless Sound in Houston."

Perhaps Chad Anderson might be able to provide us with some insight to the method of the modern day master (?) : )

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bill Carrothers plays Clifford Brown w/Bill Stewart

Here's a good one featuring drummer Bill Stewart with pianist Bill Carrothers in a trio performing music from Carrother's latest Clifford Brown project:

I haven't heard his latest album yet but it's on my hit list and I look forward to hearing how these musicians interpret the music of trumpeter Clifford Brown's quintet music (this music holds a dear place in my heart as the albums that Clifford Brown and Max Roach did together are some of my all-time favorites going back to when I was a kid).

Stewart and Carrothers also have a history of playing together and I can highly recommend the duet album they did together several years ago.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Michael Spiro - Understanding the Triplet

Today's post features percussionist Michael Spiro's excellent masterclass from last year's PASIC conference in Indianapolis. Spiro is exceptional educator and really understands the rhythmic complexities of Afro-Cuban music. I wasn't able to attend last year's conference but the people at Vic Firth were and thanks to them the rest of us can learn a thing or two from Michael.

As Kenny Washington always says: "Watch, listen and learn!":

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

It's hard to believe that three years and over a quarter-million hits later (!) that this blog is still going strong. Thank you all for your continued support.

(just a quick favor to ask of you: if you notice any links or youtube.com clips that are inactive in any of my posts, please let me know!)

Well it's Monday and, as per usual, here's an assortment of random things on the go here at Four on the Floor:

- Thanks to everyone who came out to my CD release in Edmonton, AB at the Yardbird Suite last Saturday. There were lots of drummer's in the crowd that night! (good ones too!!! No pressure there haha...)

Special thanks and a quick shout-out to:

Jim Head
Jim Brenan
Tom Van Seters
Stefano Valdo
Jasiek Poznanski
Adrian Albert
Nicolas Arnaez
Curtis Jacobs
Roger Levesque
Jonathan Eng
Efa Etoroma Jr.
Shaquille Headley

- Congrats to Calgary bassist Kodi Hutchinson who recently took over as the on-air host of the radio program "A Time for Jazz" on Alberta's CKUA radio station. Tune in to Hutchinson's program every Saturday from 12:00-3:00pm and rebroadcast on Sundays from 12:00-3:00am at 93.7 fm. www.ckua.com

- Speaking of radio, WBGO has a several great interviews and conversations with some great drummers archived on their website these days:

Here's Charlie Persip:


And here's Matt Wilson:


There is serious wisdom and inspiration to be heard from those two...

- Sundays are always an interesting day for me (and, in particular, Sunday evenings...there is something about that time of day and bringing a close to the week while preparing for the week ahead. I think I'm even going to compose a tune that affect haha!)

Here's a recent article on how Dafnis Prieto spends his Sunday's from the New York Times:


- What can I say? Bobby Hutcherson is my all-time hero on the vibraphone....Here he is unleashing on John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice":

- Here are a couple nice clips of my friend Johnathan Blake who's playing really great these days, as always.

From a recent performance in Toronto, here's Blake in a duet with Tom Harrell on "Blue n'Boogie":

And here he is in a solo spot playing with Kenny Barron's trio:

Dig Johnathan's very unique cymbal set-up (or should that be "set-down"?)

-I also admire Peter Erskine's beautiful touch and compositional flow on the drums, no matter what the context. Here's a nice feature for Erskine that demonstrates that:

- Billy Martin recently toured as part of a collection of instrumental solo performance artists entitled The Alone Together Tour. Here he is on his piece "Treehouse":

- What am I listening to these days?

Elvin Jones - "On The Mountain" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Herlin Riley - "Cream of the Crescent" - Herlin Riley (drums)

The Moving Instant - "The Moving Instant" - Gavin Sorochan (drums)

Oscar Peterson - "The Way I Really Play" - Bobby Durham (drums)

Matt Wilson's Arts and Crafts - "An Attitude for Gratitude" - Matt Wilson (drums)

Owen Howard - "Drum Lore" - Owen Howard (drums)

Louie Bellson - "East Side Suite" - Louis Bellson (drums)

Terry Gibbs - "Take It From Me" - Louis Hayes (drums), Terry Gibbs (vibraphone)

- My hometown CD release for my new album Sunalta (cellar live) is coming up very soon!

The Jon McCaslin Quintet - Sunalta CD Release

Appearing at:

The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club www.beatniq.com

811 - 1st Street SW 
Calgary, AB

Friday, May 18

Saturday, May 19



Jon McCaslin – Drums 

Brad Turner - Trumpet (Vancouver)

Jim Brenan - Tenor Saxophone

Tom Van Seters - Piano (Edmonton)

Rubim de Toledo – Bass

Canadian jazz drummer Jon McCaslin is proud to present his latest release Sunalta on the Cellar Live record label, a collection of 12 original contemporary jazz compositions that feature an all-star quintet comprised of Brad Turner (trumpet), Phil Dwyer (tenor saxophone), Tilden Webb (piano) and Jodi Proznick (bass) with additional special guests on two septet numbers. This recording is a highly anticipated sequel to McCaslin’s 2003 debut release McCallum’s Island and features his hard swinging cymbal beat, tight ensemble work and musical drum solos in the context of a diverse selection of melodic and dynamic original compositions. With all the tunes on this album penned by one of Canada’s emerging jazz drummers, these pieces are inspired by the people, places and journeys that have shaped his life over the past ten years.

CD available at: www.cellarlive.com

Friday, May 11, 2012

Music for Pieces of Wood - Nexus

Thanks to Patrick Boyle who sent this one my way. Here's the percussion ensemble Nexus performing the seminal Steve Reich piece "Music for Pieces of Wood":

I consider myself very fortunate to have spent some time studying and working with percussionist Russell Hartenberger (who is seen performing in the very clip above) over the years. I first met Russell in 1999 while I was participating in a long-term residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts where we worked together. Specifically we spent a great deal of time dealing with the mechanics of getting a good sound out of the drums and dealing with West African and North Indian rhythms. I've also been fortunate to work with Russell during my time at the University of Toronto while working towards my doctorate. Russell's affinity for rhythm in all it's guises is quite impressive and he's a great teacher.

Also, the group Nexus itself has always been a tremendous source of inspiration for me. My father first gave me a CD that featured a compilation of Nexus' various percussion ensemble recordings when I was in high school. I've always been impressed with their ability to combine virtuosity on their instruments with such a high level of musicianship and a deep knowledge of all things rhythm and percussion that spans the globe.

I only had the opportunity to hear Nexus perform once while I lived in Toronto but it was exceptional concert that featured a completely improvised evening of percussion ensemble music that also featured pianist David Braid and Phil Nimmons on clarinet. When you put musicians of that caliber on stage together that know how to deal with sound and space on such a high, intimate level great things are always bound to happen.

Here's a few more of the group Nexus to enjoy (I've posted a few of these before...)

This one features Steve Gadd tap dancing!

And another of Nexus featuring Gadd on drum set and Ghanian Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah in a rudimental inspired piece entitled "Duke's Lullaby":

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Mel Lewis!

Well, my favorite big band drummer Mel Lewis is no longer around, but his influence is undeniable.

Here's a couple to remember the great Melvin Sokoloff who was born on May 10, 1929 in Buffalo, New York to Russian immigrant parents:

And if you're interested, here's Mel Lewis from a series of radio programs talking about the history of Jazz drumming that are really worth listening to:


Thanks to John Riley and the kind folks at the Percussive Arts Society who put that one together.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kenny Washington with the Benny Green Trio

A late post today but it's a good one...here's the modern day master Kenny Washington in action with Benny Green and Peter Washington courtesy of a strategically placed, clandestine camera recorded from the audience:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Elvin Jones with Earl "Fatha" Hines

And...we're back!

Things are busy and on the go these days (seems to be a trend these days but I'm not complaining!) and now I'm finally back home and catching up after a very productive and inspiring weekend playing in Vancouver. I had the time of my life playing my music with my quintet at the Cellar over the weekend, promoting my latest album "Sunalta". I also spent a very productive Sunday afternoon recording with pianist Tilden Webb and bassist Jodi Proznick over at Brad Turner's recording studio and I'm looking forward to hearing the results from that.

A few people I would like to thank and who deserve a quick shout-out:

Cory Weeds & the staff at the Cellar Jazz club
Brad Turner
Phil Dwyer
Tilden Webb
Jodi Proznick
Tristan Webb
Mr. & Mrs. Webb
Terry Deane & the staff at Pizzeria Barbarella
Nou Dadoun
Brent Mah
Jeremy Price
Scott Wannop
Dave Robbins
Jesse Cahill

Anyways, back our regularly scheduled programming...here's a few audio files via youtube.com that feature Elvin Jones with Earl "Fatha" Hines on piano and Richard Davis on bass from a 1966 date entitled "Here Comes Earl "Fatha" Hines":

This date came as a pleasant surprise to me and I'm going to make a point of finding the entire recording either on CD or LP. These cuts are another testament to Elvin's exceptional brush playing (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he played the whole record date with just his brushes - I'll guess I'll have to wait to find out!)

Another similar record date that comes to mind is Tommy Flanagan's "Overseas" which is another earlier piano trio outing that features Elvin on brushes. Also highly recommended.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jon McCaslin Quintet - Live at the Cellar

Howdy folks,

I'm on the road for the next few days promoting my latest album Sunalta. If you are in the Vancouver area please drop by the Cellar and say hello this Friday and Saturday.

The Jon McCaslin Quintet - SUNALTA CD Release

Friday, May 4

Saturday, May 5


Cellar Jazz Club - 3611 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia


Jon McCaslin - Drums

Brad Turner - Trumpet

Phil Dwyer - Tenor Saxophone

Tilden Webb - Piano

Jodi Proznick - Bass

If you are interested a copy of my latest album, please drop me a line and I'll set you up or visit www.cellarlive.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Jazz Baroness

Here's an interesting documentary on the life of Pannonica von Koenigswarter, an important jazz personality and patron who was active in New York during the 40s and 50s:

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about this important figure in Jazz music:

"Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild was born in December 1913, the youngest daughter of Charles Rothschild and his wife, Hungarian baroness Rozsika Edle von Wertheimstein, daughter of Baron Alfred von Wertheimstein of Transylvania. She was born into a branch of the wealthiest family in the world at the time. Her paternal grandfather was Baron Nathan Rothschild. She grew up in Waddesdon Manor, among other family houses. The name "Pannonica" (nicknamed "Nica") derives from Eastern Europe's Pannonian plain. Her friend Thelonious Monk reported that she was named after a species of butterfly her father had discovered, although her great niece has found the source of the name is a rare kind of moth. She was a niece of Walter Rothschild, the 2nd Baron Rothschild, and her brother Victor Rothschild became the 3rd Baron Rothschild. (According to thepeerage.com, she was granted the rank of the daughter of a baron on 15 March 1938.) Her elder sister Dame Miriam Rothschild was a distinguished scientist and zoologist. In 1935 she married French diplomat Baron Jules de Koenigswarter, later a Free French hero. They lived together in a château in north-west France. She worked for Charles de Gaulle during World War II. The couple separated in 1951 and she moved to New York City, permanently renting a suite at the Hotel Stanhope on Fifth Avenue. As a result of their separation, Koenigswarter was disinherited by her family, the Rothschilds. The couple eventually divorced in 1956. In 1958, she purchased a house with a Manhattan skyline view, originally built for film director Josef von Sternberg, at 63 Kingswood Road inWeehawken, NJ.

In New York, Koenigswarter became a friend and patron of many prominent jazz musicians, hosting jam sessions in her hotel suite, and lending them her chauffeur and Rolls Royce when they needed a lift to performances. She is sometimes referred to as the "bebop baroness" or "jazz baroness" because of her patronage of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker among others. Following Parker's death in her Stanhope rooms in 1955, Koenigswarter was asked to leave by the hotel management; she re-located to the Bolivar Hotel at 230 Central Park West, a building commemorated in Thelonious Monk's 1956 tune "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are". She was introduced to Thelonious Monk by jazz pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams in Paris while attending the "Salon du Jazz 1954", and championed his work in the USA, writing the liner notes for his 1962 Columbia album Criss-Cross, and even took criminal responsibility when she and Monk were charged with marijuana possession by the police. After Monk ended his public performances in the mid-1970s he retired to Koenigswarter's house in Weehawken, New Jersey and died there in 1982.

There are numerous compositions in her honour. Gigi Gryce's "Nica's Tempo", Sonny Clark's "Nica", Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream", Kenny Dorham's "Tonica", Kenny Drew's "Blues for Nica", Freddie Redd's"Nica Steps Out", Barry Harris's "Inca", Tommy Flanagan's "Thelonica" and Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica" were all named after her. The San Francisco art rock band Oxbow released a recording entitled "Pannonica" name checking Koenigswarter (unrelated to the Thelonius Monk composition) with reissues of their 1991 album King of the Jews.

In October 2006 the French company Buchet Chastel published Nica's book Les musiciens de jazz et leurs trois vœux (The Jazz Musicians and their Three Wishes). Compiled between 1961 and 1966, it is a book of interviews with 300 musicians who told her what their "three wishes" would be, and is accompanied by her Polaroid photographs. The book was edited for publication by Nadine de Koenigswarter, whom Nica always introduced to people as her granddaughter but was in fact her great-niece. An English-language version has appeared in paperback as Three Wishes: an Intimate Look at Jazz Greats. Her photographs were exhibited in 2007 at Rencontres d'Arles festival (France)."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dafnis Prieto - MacArthur Fellow

Drummer Dafnis Prieto was recently awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his talents as a drummer and composer.

Here is Dafnis strutting his stuff from a recent ceremony acknowledging his accomplishments at NYU:

I was very fortunate to study with Dafnis for a couple of weeks during a residency workshop at the Banff Centre during the winter of 2010. He has an incredible amount of technique, independence and facility on the drums (in true Cuban style!) but never lets that overshadow his capacity for making meaningful music. He is a real visionary in terms of his approach to sound, rhythm and melody and I honestly think that his contributions to the instrument will make him recognized as an innovator in the years to come.

During our time together he really stressed the importance of studying the roots and rhythms of traditional Cuban Rumba music and also pointed to more progressive players such as Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman and Peter Apfelbaum for inspiration.