Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday with Han Bennink

Dutch drummer Han Bennink is a creative force and a fearless improviser who isn't afraid to go out on a musical limb while at the same time reflecting his hard swinging and vaudeville drumming roots. He's another drummer I admire (like Matt Wilson) who isn't afraid to inject a little humour, playfulness and fun into his playing (music IS supposed to be run right ya dig?)

Bennink was just in Calgary last month performing with Canadian saxophonist Brodie West during Calgary's Sled Island music festival. Unfortunately I missed their performance but it wasn't for a lack of trying! I was playing a gig on the vibraphone across town that night but I scrambled to pack up my vibes in my car to make the tail end of their show. Unfortunately they only played a short 35 minute set, so by the time I got there I was out of luck and they were long done! I should have hauled in my vibes anyways and set them up for an impromptu jam....I'm sure he would have been into it : )

But anyways, here's a great one of Han in action on the drums and on the floor (four on the floor right? haha) accompanying a tap dancer (further to my previous post about Baby Laurence earlier this week):

Bennink is also an incredible brush player and, as you can see here, he doesn't need much more than a pair of brushes and a snare drum to make it work!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Laurence!

Years ago my teacher in Montreal, Chris McCann, gave me a cassette copy of "The Drums" featuring the great Jo Jones. This is an important resource for all Jazz drummers to listen to and study as Jones demonstrates his unique and highly swinging approach to the drumset while as discussing (and imitating!) some very obscure drummers, influences and techniques on the drums.

If you don't own this yet and you are serious about Jazz drumming, you should probably get it.

Just sayin'...

One part that really got my attention, in particular, is the portion where Jones talks about the influence of the great tap dancers on the development of his own playing style. I was very intrigued by this and I've blogged a bit before about this important relationship between tap dancing and Jazz drumming (with a shout of course out to Mike Tarrani who has also addressed this as well over at his fine blog Music for Drummers). Tap dancing (and dancing, period!) had a tight-knit relationship with early developments of Jazz drumming and the two influenced each other, hand-in-hand. While most of the great Jazz drummers that we listen to and admire were fully aware and immersed in this, this notion seems mostly lost of most of today's generation of Jazz drummers and Jazz musicians (with many exceptions however!)

In particular, over the course of the recording of "The Drums" Jo Jones cites the influence of a hoofer by the name of Baby Laurence as someone who had a huge influence on his own particular approach to dealing with rhythm on the drums.

See here for a clip of Laurence in his later years giving Sammy Davis Jr. a run of his money!

I was interested to learn more about this important tap dancer and his wicked approach to rhythm. Fortunately for us here's a documentary on the life of Baby Laurence "The Jazz Hoofer" to check out:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Billy Drummond Plays

Those of you who follow my blog regularly will know that Billy Drummond has long been one of my favorite contemporary Jazz drummers. His dynamic and hard swinging style and his great beat and giant cymbal sound have always appealed to me. He's also got quite a nice cymbal and drum collection...

I first heard Billy play during the late 90s while I was still living in Montreal. Drummond was touring quite a bit with pianist Renee Rosnes as a trio those days and I caught their act several times with many great bassists including the likes of Ed Howard, John Patitucci and Scott Colley.

Some of my favorite Billy Drummond albums that I always like to recommend include:

As a leader:

"Native Colours"


"The Gift"

As a sideman:

Tim Ries - "Universal Spirits"

Chris Potter - "Vertigo"

Vincent Herring - "Secret Love"

Actually....any of these fine albums that Billy recorded on the Criss Cross label are worth checking out!


Thanks to one dedicated youtube.com poster, here's a great collection of Billy Drummond solos to check out:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rufus Reid with Mulgrew Miller and Lewis Nash

Special thanks to our Irish FOTR correspondent Conor Guilfoyle who hipped me to these great clips featuring the great bassist Rufus Reid along with Mulgrew Miller on piano and Lewis Nash on drums from Reid's excellent bass instructional DVD "The Evolving Bassist":

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Remembering Paul Motian

More Matt Wilson today. Here he is joined by guitarist Steve Cardenas and saxophonist Chris Cheek in a panel discussion about the music of Paul Motian:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts Plays

From a recent performance and clinic, here is the great Matt Wilson in action with his group Arts & Crafts:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ray Brown Masterclass

This is one is for all my bass playing friends out there (well, everybody should take note of this one!) Thanks to Calgary bassist Jeff Gammon who pointed me in the direction of this nice find:

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - Summer Edition

Welcome to July and a belated happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians out there! This is going to be the last Monday Morning Paradiddle for a while and blogging will be on the lighter side for the next couple months. I'll still be posting reasonably often but I've got a few other things on the go these days that need my attention. Summer hours, ya dig?

Here's a collection of things to check out to get the week started:

-Thanks to the kind people over at Vic Firth who bring us these rhythm section master classses with educator Steve Houghton:

Steve is an exceptional educator and always has articulate and insightful comments on how to improve ones musicality. His book "Studio & Big Band Drumming" was an important book for me when I was younger and prepared me for the logistics of dealing with how to interpret a drum chart and play within a big band.

-Allaboutjazz.com brings us an interview with the daring, eclectic and dynamic drummer/composer/visionary Tyshawn Sorey:


-It's time to swing with the Jeff Hamilton Trio:

Have you heard Jeff's latest trio CD "Red Sparkle"? It's a good one...

Check out these Jazz Times interviews where Jeff talks about this recent one:


-Here's some nice playing from Ali Jackson Jr. with J@LC saxophonist Sherman Irby from the folks over at Saxquest:


-Looks like Idris Muhammad has a new autobiography out:


I look forward to picking up a copy of that one!

-And of course, octogenarian Master Haynes never ever ceases to impress, amaze and inspire:

Thank you all for your continued support, wherever you may be from around the world. Until next time, keep swingin' !