Monday, December 17, 2012

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

And...it's Monday once again! I hope you are all well and thanks again for checking out my blog and for your continued support. Things have been busy on the go around here lately. I've been lucky to have played with some amazing musicians of late including Rubim DeToledo's CD project with trumpeter Sean Jones, Jim Brenan's incredible CD release, former Duke Ellington trombonist Brad Shigeta's swing band, trumpeter Dean McNeill's quintet and several big band concerts performing Duke Ellington's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite in both Edmonton and Saskatoon with the Yardbird Suite All-Stars and the Metro Big Band, respectively. I finished this weekend off with some gigs on the vibraphone (has been awhile!) I consider myself very fortunate to perform great music with such great musicians on a regular basis.

Here's a few things brewing around Four on the Floor headquarters these days:

- As I've stated before, drummer Johnathan Blake is one of my favorite contemporary young drummers on the scene today. Here is a great and energetic clip of him playing with bassist/composer Omer Avital's quintet:

Omer's quintet album "Live at Small's" has been on my CD rotation for quite some time and I really dig the variety of influences that pop up in his music (from Jewish folk melodies to Charlies Mingus and beyond...) I really hope that this band releases some more recordings in the future. I'll be first in line.

- In my quest to become a better Jazz vibraphonist and better my overall understanding of Jazz harmony and the practice of melodic Jazz improvisation these days, I've really been taking advantage of all the great information and wisdom posted on the website www.jazzadvice.com.

Calgary baritone saxophonist (and overall really nice guy!) Gareth Bane hipped to this great treasure trove of Jazz knowledge and I highly recommend it as it's a great resource for practical Jazz improv tips and lessons. If you ever find yourself "bored" and don't know what to practice...check it out!

- Here's another one of Peter Erskine playing his nice DW drums and demonstrating DW's latest hybrid maple/mahogony drum shells:

Man, those sound good!

- I first heard drummer Justin Faulkner when he joined Branford Marsalis' band during the summer of 2009 at the Edmonton Jazz Festival. Justin sat in on my drums and cymbals during a late night jam session I was hosting and he tore the house down with Branford and his crew on a lively version of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme". Faulkner is definitely a young drummer to keep an eye on:

- Speaking of drummers to keep your eyes and ears on...When I lived in Toronto several years ago I caught Larnell Lewis several times with many different groups down at the Rex.  He is an exceptional talent on the drums and it was always a joy to hear him play, especially with Rich Brown's band Rinse the Algorithm. Here's Larnell unleashing on some cool Yamaha electronic drums and Zildjian cymbals, discussing his approach:

- What am I listening to these days?

Danny Grisset Trio "Encounters" - Kendrick Scott (drums)

Phil Dwyer Orchestra featuring Mark Fewer "Changing Seasons" - Jon Wikan (drums)

Don Cherry "Mu, First Part & Second Part" - Ed Blackwell (drums)

Alex Sipiagan "Mirages" - Johnathan Blake (drums)

Tardo Hammer Trio "Look, Stop & Listen: The Music of Tadd Dameron" - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Bobby Hutcherson "Oblique" - Joe Chambers (drums) & Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz @ Lincoln Center Orchestra "Congo Square" - Ali Jackson Jr. (drums)

- Irish bassist and rhythmic visionary Ronan Guilfoyle offers some very insightful and important thoughts about the importance of developing a good "rhythmic feel" over at his blog: http://ronanguil.blogspot.ca/2012/12/a-friend-of-mine-told-me-that-at-recent.html

Ronan's columns and insights are always a great read and I learn something every time I venture over to his site.

- Lastly, to finish up today's post, here is the great Steve Gadd in a solo spot with the Pedrito Martinez group from last fall's PASIC 2012 conference in Austin, Texas:

Dig the retro, blue swirly finish on those slick Yamaha drums with the wood hoops. Looks cool and sounds great too!

Thanks again and gave a great week everybody.

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