Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Invertigo Trio featuring Peter Bernstein

Sorry, not much time for blogging these days. Too busy producing and promoting concerts! Here's another fun gig of mine coming up next week, this time with acclaimed guitarist Peter Bernstein. Along with my regular Invertigo Trio mates Jim Brenan (tenor) and Rubim DeToledo (bass) we'll be exploring a host of tunes with Peter including some favourite old standards and new originals.

Peter has long been a favourite of mine since the early 2000s so I'm really looking forward to this monumental gig with him and my friends. I first discovered his playing via his releases as a leader and as a sideman on the Criss Cross record label of which many of these titles found there way to the many used record and CD stores in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood (still not sure why...) Many of these "used" discs popped up on a regular basis and myself and the McDade brothers (Solon and Jeremiah) would regularly scour these shops not only to find some good deals on music but also for the opportunity to check out many great New York Jazz musicians that were not represented in the mainstream.

I miss those days. Looking through the bins of my local used .mp3 store just isn't quite the same.
(sarcasm off...)


The Invertigo Trio
Featuring New York Jazz Guitarist Peter Bernstein

Tuesday, November 5th 


National Music Centre
134 11th Ave SE
Calgary, AB

$20 General Admission
$15 students


Peter Bernstein – Guitar

Jim Brenan - Tenor Saxophone

Rubim DeToledo - Bass

Jon McCaslin - Drums & Cymbals

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Edgar Bateman "Milestones"

I was going to share some original compositions of mine today and some fun footage of Joe Farnsworth, but Sibelius is giving me grief on my new computer (!) so that will have to wait a day or two...

In the meantime, thanks to Boston trumpeter Jason Palmer, here's a nice one of the legendary Edgar Bateman with saxophonist Booker Ervin on a brisk version of "Milestones" to check out:

Bateman is not a name that you hear very much but was a well-known figure during his time. I was first introduced to his name while reading the introduction to Bob Moses' book "Drum Wisdom" where he mentions Edgar Bateman as a major influence.

My teacher at McGill University, Chris McCann (more on him later!), also hipped to some great recordings of vibraphonist Walt Dickerson that also feature Bateman on drums that are really worth checking out.

As a testament to his drumming, here is a link to a memorial radio broadcast recorded in his honour:


And here is a every eloquent article written by Rakalam Bob Moses as a tribute to Edgar Bateman following his passing that originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of JazzTimes magazine:

"Edgar Bateman was the greatest drummer I ever heard, and was equally extraordinary as a human being. He had great nobility of spirit. He was extremely focused and disciplined. He never drank, smoked, got high or used profanity. He was an excellent boxer in his youth (once having sparred with Ali when he was still Cassius Clay, and held his own). He maintained incredible physical strength, fitness and stamina throughout his life, studying Karate and doing 400 push ups a day well into his 70's. He was curious, open minded, kind, humble, deeply spiritual and always eager to study, learn and grow. He loved women, yet was always respectful and never dogged them as many men (and musicians) do. He loved to laugh, and had a wicked, sly, deadpan sense of humor. Often 2 or 3 seconds would elapse before you realized he had zapped you. He exhibited perseverance, optimism, positivity, good humor and grace throughout what could certainly be described as a very difficult life. He was my first and greatest inspiration as a drummer and person. I loved him like a father.

It was the early 60's and I was a teenager when I first heard and met Edger Bateman. Makanda Ken McIntyre, the gifted composer, multi woodwind player who was a family friend invited me to a Sunday matinée at the old Five Spot to hear his group. I had no idea that day would change my life so profoundly. It was never my way when seeing a band play, to sit near the drummer as many young drummers do. I always preferred to stand in the back center so as to have an overview of the whole band and also so I could make a graceful exit if I wasn't into the music. However, after hearing Edgar, within 5 minutes I had moved to a seat very near to the drums. I remember vividly, being amazed, mesmerized, flabbergasted, stunned and blown away by what I was hearing. I clearly recall thinking, “Wow, this is the greatest drummer I've ever heard”, and it's not like I hadn't heard other great drummers, having grown up in the same building as Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. After the set I introduced myself, told Edgar how moved I was by his playing and made him promise to call me whenever he had a gig and I would be there, and so began an over 40 year relationship of trust, faith, appreciation, respect, brotherhood and love.

I have so many great memories of Edgar, way too many to recount for the space limitations of this essay. Going to the gym and watching Edgar skip rope and work the speed bag (what incredible rhythms he created). Hanging out in the kitchen of my folks house, eating, talking and laughing. Both my parents loved Edgar, he was so gracious and charming. Going to his loft on West 28th St. to watch a rehearsal with his band which included a young Joe Henderson, Alan Shorter (Wayne's brother) and Lonnie Liston Smith. They played one my compositions (my first) and seemed to like it because they played it for about 20 minutes. What a thrill and validation for a 15 year old to hear these great musicians play my tune and how kind of Edgar to include me in that experience. Later Edgar asked me to sublet this loft while he went to Europe for a few months. The few months turned out to be several years and eventually I had to give up the loft but I had some great times there living and jamming in Edgar's space. Wonderful musicians like pianist Elmo Hope (another mentor of mine) would come by to play and I used to love walking by the many middle eastern clubs in that neighborhood, listening to the music and watching the belly dancers. I went to just about all of Edgar's gigs and they ran the gamut from lofts to dive bars to strip clubs etc. One of the most memorable ones was at the Half Note with Eric Dolphy, Lee Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson and Reggie Workman. The absence of a piano seemed to leave more space and Edgar filled it so creatively and organically. I also saw him play with Sonny Rollins, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and many other great players.

How can I describe his playing to those who never heard him? Edgar played time at a place where time creates space. His sense of swing was so profound as to be absolutely free, totally non-mechanical and as spontaneous and natural as the flight of a butterfly. He had worked out some supremely difficult independence, often sounding like several drummers at once, yet never used this ability to show off. He remained absolutely committed to the total creativity of the moment. Unlike most great drummers, he had no “licks” and I never heard him play the same thing twice. His stroke and motion was so loose, relaxed and graceful, it seemed to defy gravity. Watching him play with brushes reminded me of a swan on a lake.

One of my regrets is that very little of Edgar Batemans greatness is represented on recordings and some of the best examples of his playing are on albums that are quite obscure and difficult to find. So, in August of 2006 I brought Edgar to my house in Quincy where we did two days of recording. The first day, were drum duets with lots of Edgar solos, and the second day we added horns including Jerry Bergonzi, Jason Palmer, Stan Strickland and young bassist Justin Purtill, playing off some of my crazy melodies. What a joy and blessing to have spent those days with my hero, Edgar Bateman making such powerful, intense and unique music together. When it comes out (in the near future I hope) it will be a double CD entitled Creative Infinity and Love Eternal. Thank you, Edgar for a lifetime of inspiration."

- Rakalam Bob Moses (Jazz Times, Feb. 2011)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Matt Wilson - "It's Never Boring!"

I was very fortunate to study with drummer Matt Wilson over the course of six months back in 2004 thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. I learned a lot about playing music on the drums and how to start thinking "outside the box" while at the same time strengthening my musical and technical fundamentals on the instrument.

If you've ever seen Matt play live, in particular with his own groups, you'll recognize that you are being treated to a total sonic experience, one that engages and entertains the audience at the same. As Jazz musicians we can all learn something from this, especially in this day and age when Jazz audiences are sometimes dwindling and we are increasingly required to develop new audiences and maintain regular ones at the same time.

Matt gave an excellent talk at last year's JEN conference about this very topic:

And as a testament to what a great educator he is, I also spotted this masterclass of Matt's from earlier this summer:

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well, it's been some seriously busy times around here lately following ten days of exciting projects on the go around town including gigs with my Birth of the Cool nonet project, epic gigs with saxophonists PJ Perry and Phil Dwyer and then my own band as part of the Breakout West Festival/Western Canadian Music Awards.

But, as always, here's a plethora of random and interesting things to check out:

- Drummer Dave King of The Bad Plus fame recently sat down with NPR and produced a very thought provoking interview:


I love this quote:

"If your drummer sucks, you suck. Like if your goalie sucks, your hockey team sucks!"

There is definitely truth to this!

Here is another more extensive masterclass with Dave King and as you'll see, he has lots to say!

- Willie Joness III has always been another favourite of mine. Here he is featured with pianist Cedar Walton and dig the Billy Higgins influenced latin groove and drum solo:

- My good friend and percussionist Luis Tovar recently presented his own TEDx Talk here in Calgary:

Luis is a serious percussionist and master of rhythm. You can catch him with any number of great latin bands on regular basis in the Calgary area.

- Bassist Butch Warren recently passed away. I can't begin to think of how many of favourite albums he appears on! Peter Hum over the Ottawa Citizen posted a very nice article about him over at jazzblog.ca:


Jason Marsalis was also quick to remind us of Warren's master of the beat via this one:

- My good friend and former fellow McGill  Jazz drummer Rich Irwin recently gave a drum clinic in Ottawa:

Can you name the tune he's alluding to throughout?

- I thought this one was quite interesting. Here are a series of videos of Canadian drumming icon Al Cross as interviewed by Al Hay. In these clips he talks extensively about Joe Morello and the Moeller technique:

- Here's another great interview with Jack DeJohnette courtesy of George Colligan and allaboutjazz.com:


I really learned a lot from this article and, in particular, the part where Jack explains how he develops his bass drum technique:

"Ok, for developing the bass drum technique, at least for my type of practicing, I play with ride cymbal beats, letting the right foot follow the right hand, practicing slowly, always practicing slowly and gradually build it up. You determine what speed and intensity you can do it, so you don't overdo it. You have to develop this technique utilizing the spastic muscle. You're doing this off of your toe, so your heel is up. You can also try and do it flat footed, heel toe heel toe heel toe, doing it that way, or doing both ways. But you get more power out of it when the foot is up, using the heel toe. And then the other thing to do is play triplets, utilize the triplets, and then playing with accents, you can either use your ride cymbal to follow, and just play independently. Then the next thing to try is to play things, ideas that you know, between the hand and foot, or play ideas with the foot that you normally play with two hands, or one hand. It takes some time to build it up. I'm still working on developing it. It depends on the solo I'm doing whether I'll utilize... sometimes I'll take a whole solo with the foot. And you know that's a whole other kind of concept, but doing it in the way so that it communicates something musically. Yeah, its a challenge, but fun."

- Here's one of Jack putting that wisdom into practice from the Drum Boogie Festival held annually in Woodstock, NY:

- Ralph Peterson Jr. has been a real influence lately, especially in light of his recent instructional DVD release. Here's Peterson and saxophonist Bill Pierce discussing their upcoming Art Blakey Tribute. There are also some nice shots of Peterson's drumming and his drum impressions of "Buhaina" throughout:

- New Orleans and 2nd Line funkmaster Stanton Moore recently paid a visit to the Regina Drum Festival and brought the house down with a little help my good friends, the Pile of Bones Brass:

- Irish Bassist Ronan Guilfoyle recently posted this brilliant quote and piece of advice from Elvin Jones:

“There’s only one way to achieve this thing, and that’s hard work. You’ve got to do it. You can’t just dream that something is going to happen; you’ve got to make it happen. And the way to do that is to prepare. And preparing requires a lot of discipline. They used to say, ’Go into the woodshed and practice.’ That’s what it’s all about. You have to get into the shed. A lot of young cats have the wrong idea. They forget there’s a lot of hard work involved. I try to keep them aware of the fact that hard work is necessary to accomplish that. They have to get in the habit of self-discipline, and not just when you think somebody’s looking. You have to do it all the time. It has to be part of what your life is all about. You commit to music in a way that you commit to yourself. If you can’t do that, you might as well forget it.”

There's some serious wisdom in there.

Also, check out Ronan's nice tribute to drummer John Wadham:


- Speaking of Elvin Jones....in case you haven't seen this pivotal documentary on Elvin called "Different Drummer", I suggest you drop whatever it is you are doing immediately and watch this!


When the masters speak, we listen!

Alright everyone, that's all I've got today. Thanks for checking in and come back soon!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For Peter

I was very saddened to hear that my good friend and Regina bassist Peter Dyksman passed away early last week. I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to make it back to Regina tomorrow in time for his funeral and final farewell.

Inspired by my friend Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle's excellent post about his old friend, drummer John Wadham http://ronanguil.blogspot.ca/2013/09/the-wad-great-drummer-great-man.html I thought I would take a moment to share a few thoughts of my own about my friend Peter.

I first met Peter when I was still in high school and just getting started with my own journey as an aspiring Jazz drummer. Over the years I was very fortunate to play dozens of gigs with Peter with many  different groups in concerts, casual Jazz gigs and the occasional background jobbing gig around Regina. Peter taught me many important lessons about how to conduct myself on the bandstand and I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to play with him as much as I did over the years. I consider him to be an important mentor of mine.

I was trying to think back to some of my favourite gigs that I played with Peter over the years. Not easy, as there were many! But a few that do come to mind include playing trio with pianist/vocalist Louise Rose around the year 2000 and several of Peter's own shows that he led featuring his sextet, a group that became a favourite project of his after he retired. The last time I played with Peter was backing up vocalist Diane Nalini at the Regina Jazz Society during the winter of 2010.

However, I think if there is one gig that stands out for me it would have to be a quartet gig that consisted of myself, Peter on bass with Jim Gallagher on piano and Kris Craig on guitar at the Regina Teacher's Club on the corner of Regina Avenue and Elphinstone in the spring of 2003. Jim and I had just spent the weekend playing with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and had experienced a challenging several days dealing with the headline artist who was brought in and who proved to be a major headache! Jim, in particular, really rose to the occasion that night following our symphony ordeal and I don't think I've ever heard him sound better. Peter was right on the money too and swung hard with every note. In particular he called the very challenging Oscar Pettiford tune and bass feature "Tricotism", played the melody and absolutely nailed it! I don't there is a bass player in Regina who has attempted that since...

Off the bandstand Peter was a good friend too and took a great interest in my career and would often give me a call to offer words of encouragement when he heard that I was about to play a big gig. He also set a good example to me and to others of how to conduct myself on and off the bandstand as a human being. During one challenging time in my career I distinctly remember him passing along some words of wisdom to me that still resonate to this very day:

"The definition of Integrity is doing the right thing while no one else is watching..."

I am really going to miss him.


Here's one of my favourite Peter Dyksman stories (as told to me by Toronto Jazz pianist Gary Williamson):

"Back in the 60s while Peter was living in Toronto, he, Gary and Jerry Fuller drove out to a country club north of Toronto to play an evening of background music for a private event. Apparently Jerry had had a "long" night on the town the evening before and was wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, never taking them off all day nor during their gig. The manager of the country club took exception to this and started giving Jerry a hard time, started to belittle him in front of the patrons of the club and threatened to fire him and the band on the spot.

In a moment of pure wit and infinite cleverness, Peter tapped the manager on his shoulder and said:

"Excuse me sir, but our drummer is blind!"

Apparently the manager turned a shade of white and was beyond embarrassed from his apparent mistake and ignorance.

Not letting an opportunity to be wasted, Peter and Gary escorted Jerry around the club arm-in-arm for the duration of the evening (so he wouldn't bump into anything of course!) and took full advantage of all the food and drinks offered to them to make up for the misunderstanding.

At the end of the night the manager continued to apologize for his mistake and promptly offered to pack up Jerry's drums and load them into his car. Jerry said: "Sure, thanks!" and stood by (still wearing his sunglasses of course) while the manager hauled his drums.

When he was finished, sweating from moving Jerry's drums, the manager apologized one more time.

Jerry replied: "Thanks. No problem!"
He then promptly sat in the driver's seat of his car and drove away.

The country club manager nearly had a heart attack..."


Yesterday while I was driving around Calgary running some errands and as the sun was setting this particular piece came on the radio as I was thinking about my friend. I think it is a very fitting soundtrack and tribute to my friend Peter:

Peter Dyksman - 1937-2013

September 23, 2013 - Peter was born and raised in The Hague, Netherlands where later, his son Shaun would spend his early years with his grandparents, Leendert and Antoinette Dijksman and his uncle Jan Dijksman. In 1956, Peter arrived in Canada at the age of eighteen as an immigrant from the Netherlands ñëjust off the boatí he would say. His first stop was Regina where ultimately Peter would reside for some fifty years. Interrupting those years spent here in Regina, Peter's travels as a musician would take him to many parts of Europe, the Middle East and both Eastern and Western Canadian Provinces. The many influences he experienced both abroad and here in Canada added great dimension to his abilities and his reputation as a bassist grew rapidly. That rigorous course in his professional career later prompted Peter to return with his son to Regina where he continued to enjoy his career as a musician and where he, along with his wife Sharon began his many year commitment as a business owner of The Music Box and the Academy of Musical Education (later Long and McQuade Music) in both Regina and Saskatoon. Peter served on the board of the Regina Jazz Society for several years and in 2004 he was the recipient of the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival's Special Recognition Award. Over the past two decades Peter struggled with very difficult health issues. Under the care of his physicians, Dr. J. McHattie and Dr J.S. McMillan, Peter's faith in God allowed him to live a very full life as a performer and significant contributor to the Regina business community. His leisure time was spent enjoying the beauty of this province, specifically at Regina Beach and more recently at Buena Vista. Peter's health challenges never prevented him from having sincere relationships with all of his friends and among those who were members of his church family. For many years he contributed much to the music worship and other ministries at Hillsdale-Living Hope and Heritage Alliance Churches and served on several Christian Community event committees with significant years devoted to Alpha Ministry's as an advisor and coach. Very recently Peter was diagnosed with an immediately threatening illness and with his wife Sharon and their son Shaun at his side, on Monday September the 23rd Peter passed into the presence of God. He is survived by his wife Sharon; his son and his wife Tricia; and his four grandchildren - Antoinette, Adrianna, Annika and Pekka Dyksman; his brother Jan Dijksman and his wife Will; plus many relatives from Saskatchewan, Holland and Britain. Peter was a consummate and loving husband and leader in his home, adored by his family and a humble servant of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A Service in celebration of Peter's life will be held on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 11:00 am at Heritage Alliance Church, 3575 Hillsdale Street, Regina with Pastor Cory Steinson officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Peter, to The Salvation Army, Division Headquarters, 2240-13th Avenue, Regina SK, S4P 3M7. (From the Regina Leader Post)