Thursday, September 26, 2013

Billy Drummond on Dubai

Just a short one today, but here's Billy Drummond with a quick demonstration of his unique drum beat for his original 7/4 composition "Dubai":

This album, and Billy's drumming in general, was quite influential to me during the late 90s. He was easily one of the first "current" Jazz drummers that I heard that I really identified with. He really had his own original sound and a modern concept but it was also clear to me that he had really checked out the tradition and, to my ears anyways, represented a real continuation of all the older Jazz drummers I had been checking out and studying to that point. I've always been a big fan of his playing and this morning the clip above put a smile on my face.

Oh yeah, Billy also has very good taste in old drums and cymbals!

I only have one question after seeing this: Where is the rest of this interview? Please share this!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Jeff Hamilton Tribute to Ed Shaughnessy

From a recent tribute to the late Ed Shaughnessy, here's Jeff Hamilton on his highly melodic version of the Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol classic, "Caravan":

Hamilton's impressive melodic approach to the drums is nothing new, there's great recordings of him doing this that have been around for a while now, but I really appreciate his overall approach to using melody around the drum set. Especially his technique of bending the pitch of the drums while on the fly. It's somewhat similar to what Ari Hoenig has also been doing for sometime as well. If you tune your drums low enough to give yourself enough room to get a good contrasting interval between pitches, this offers some really interesting possibilities.

Bassist John Clayton is a long-time colleague of Jeff Hamilton's, going back to their student days at Indiana University. Here's what Clayton has to say about his long time rhythm partner in swing:

Hey, my friend Nick Fraser who is a great drummer from Toronto (and frequent reader of this blog!) is currently touring Canada with a great band featuring NYC tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, promoting their latest album "Towns and Villages".

They play Calgary on Saturday, September 28th at the National Music Centre and I would highly recommend catching them either here in Cowtown or along the rest of their National tour.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Okay, time for a little self-less self-promotion! Here's a few exciting concerts of mine coming up over the next few weeks. Come on by and say hello.

I'll be presenting the music from Miles Davis' seminal recording "The Birth of the Cool" with a nonet consisting of Calgary's finest on Thursday, September 26th at the National Music Centre, presented by JazzYYC:

On Monday, September 30th I'll be joining renowned Canadian alto saxophonist PJ Perry, bassist Jodi Proznick and the UofC Jazz Orchestra for the University of Calgary's Monday Night Jazz Series season opener:

And finally, on Thursday, October 3rd tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer rolls into town to join myself and bassist Rubim De Toledo for some trio fun down at the Kawa Espresso Bar:

These should all be very fun, exciting and different gigs to say the least. I consider myself very fortunate to play with such talented artists these days. This fall is really shaping up so stay tuned for more interesting events coming up.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Glenn Kotche in the Kitchen

I'd like to thank my father for forwarding me this brief but clever clip of drummer Glenn Kotche (of Wilco Fame) redefining the meaning of "Kitchen Music" (or is there even a meaning for that in the first place???) Anyways, enjoy this one...

And of course, here is Kotche's arrangement of "Monkey Chant" which demonstrates an incredible approach to playing solo multiple-percussion:

Here's another great clip of Kotche from the Modern Drummer Festival a few years ago in which he explains how he applies Steve Reich's "Clapping Music" to the drum set:

I have to say that Glenn Kotche is really doing a great job at exploring the possibilities and potential of solo drum set and how to integrate percussion instruments within the drum set. His use of "prepared percussion" is a also really a treat and very creative. It's all really quite inspiring and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Louis Armstrong on His Chops

This is an amazing story about two high school students who interviewed Louis Armstrong!


"You've got to be good or as bad as the devil...Even if we had two, three days off I still had to blow that horn a few hours to keep up the chops."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Billy Hart Interview

From South Korean television, here's a reasonably comprehensive and thought provoking interview with modern Master jazz drummer Billy Hart:

Why can't American (or Canadian!) television be this forward thinking and interview Masters like this while they are still alive?

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well it's finally September. Welcome back and now that summer is pretty much over (yikes!) the office staff over here at Four on the Floor are slowly making their way back to their cubicles and hard at work. Frequent blogging will now resume and our foreign correspondents have accumulated a wealth of fun things to share in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks for your support and please come back often.

Here's what's buzzing around Four on the Floor HQ these days:

- New York Latin Jazz drum Steve Berrios passed away earlier this summer. Here's a few nice articles from around the web about this very influential and yet underrated percussionist:





I first heard Steve play with the Fort Apache band at the Sweet Basil in New York around the year 2000. I had just come straight from my audition at the Manhattan School of Music and was determined to hear this alleged master of the Latin Jazz drumming continuum. And I wasn't disappointed. His drumming had all the roots of both Afro-Cuban and Jazz drumming mixed and matched in a very personal and musical way. I don't think I've ever played a cowbell with my drums the same way since.

I was first introduced to Steve's drumming when his name was mentioned in an interview with Jeff "Tain" Watts. Apparently Steve was the drummer that Tain sought out after he had left the Tonight Show Band and moved back to New York. You can definitely hear a modern Latin Jazz/Timba influence in Tain's drumming at times and a lot of this comes via Steve.

Here's a few videos of Steve Berrios doing his thing:

- Here's a couple of things from drummer Carl Allen to check out.

First, a roundtable chat with Allen and Allison Miller:


And here's a masterclass from Carl taken from the Montreux Jazz Festiaval:


If you didn't catch Carl's masterclass on ride cymbal playing from last year's JazzEd Conference, here are some highlights:

- My good friend, New York Jazz drummer Alvin Atkinson Jr. has a cool series of interviews on-line called "The Drummer Speaks". Check out this episode featuring none other than Gregory Hutchinson:

- Here's Adam Nussbaum in action from a recent masterclass over at Drummer's Collective featuring guitarist Oz Noy:

- What am I listening to these days? I've been checking out a lot of great music over the past few months. Here's what's been spinning on my CD player, turntable, mp3 player and car stereo lately:

Jackie McLean "Swing, Swang, Swingin" - Art Taylor (drums)

Elvin Jones "Puttin' it Together" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Christian McBride Trio "Out Here "- Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums)

Alan Jones Sextet "Climbing (Rough)" - Alan Jones (drums)

Miles Davis "The Birth of the Cool" - Kenny Clarke/Max Roach (drums)

Mike LeDonne "Speak" - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Igor Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring"

Erik Satie "Gymnopedies"

Ted Nash "The Creep" - Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums)

Warren Wolf - "Black Wolf" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

David Virelles  "Continuum" - Fransisco Mela (drums)

Fort Apache "Rumba Buhaina" - Steve Berrios (drums & percussion)

Sonny Stitt "Sonny Stitt and Hank Jones" - Shadow Wilson/Roy Haynes (drums)

- A nice quote here worth considering from former US President Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

- I studied with Jazz drummer Chris McCann from 1995 through 1999 while an undergrad at McGill University in Montreal. His teachings and wisdom were quite profound in terms of my development and resonate even to this day.

Chris has been working on some original music for quite some time. Thanks to Montreal trumpeter Andy King for passing this along, here is a taste of Chris's unique music:

- I've really been digging Kendrick Scott's drumming lately and this next clip with Kurt Rosenwinkel is no exception!

Interestingly enough, here is Kendrick's teacher, Craig Green, who has also taught many of the great young drummer's that have come out of Houston, Texas in the past few years (see Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Jamire Williams...)

Here is another interview with Scott where he shares some of his thoughts on music:

- Finally, I'm very pleased to announce that my latest album "Sunalta" has been nominated for "Best Jazz Recording of the Year" by the Western Canadian Music Awards. The conference and awards ceremony take place in Calgary this coming October. http://breakoutwest.ca/2013-wcmas/

Thanks again to all who helped make this album happen!