Monday, June 30, 2014

Oscar Peterson & Louie Bellson "Cute"

Thanks to our Italian correspondent Fabio Baglioni, here's a great one of the ever musical Louis Bellson featured with the Oscar Peterson trio on Neal Hefti's "Cute" taken at a brisk tempo:

I think Bellson's explanation of his use of the Roto-toms was pretty cool! Nobody else can pull that off...

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Hello everybody and I hope everything is super groovy in your part of the world these days. Things are busy over here in my neck of the woods with Canada's Jazz festival season kicking into high gear. But as usual here's a smattering of different things to check out:

- In honour of Father's Day, here's a nice piece from NPR's A Blog Supreme on some famous drummers and their drumming fathers:


- New Orleans drummer Geoff Clapp recently contributed a GREAT article on the nuances of playing the ride cymbal over at Drum Magazine:


- I really dug this article by Branford Marsalis over at Downbeat magazine recently:


- George Colligan contributed a great blog post about Time and on playing with a metronome over at his blog Jazz Truth:


- I heard through the grapevine that Vancouver tenor saxophonist Steve Kaldestad requires his ear training class at Capilano University to transcribe Jorge Rossy's drumming on "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" from Brad Mehldau's "Art of the Trio Vol.1". As you can see below, there is a lot of great information to learn from this one:


- Here's some great insight on Ahmad Jamal and the drumming of Vernell Fournier from Kenny Washington:


And then of course that led me to dig up this one courtesy of Ted Panken:


- My friend Phil Dwyer is now consulting on this CBC on-line Jazz stream. Check out some serious Canadian Jazz talent!


- A very insightful interview with the multi-talented drummer/vibraphonist Jason Marsalis:


- And speaking of New Orleans drummers, here's two of the greats featuring Shannon Powell and Herlin Riley:


And then Shannon Powell with Johnny Vidacovich:

- Some nice solo drumming (as always) and interview from Billy Martin:


- I'm really hoping that Brian Blade records with his recent trio project featuring Danilo Perez and John Patitucci (they are touring as "The Children of The Light" this summer). In the meantime check out this  very musical drum solo:

- Special thanks to Sir Dale James for sharing this one of percussionist and rhythm guru Efrain Toro with Peter Erskine and Alex Acuna:

- What am I listening to these days?

Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Tate, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis & Arnett Cobb "Very Saxy" - Arthur Edgehill (drums)

Amiri Baraka "New Music, New Poetry" - Steve McCall (drums)

Gerry Hemingway "Kernelings" - Gerry Hemingway (drums and percussion)

Buster Williams "Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1999" - Carl Allen (drums)

Miles Davis & Sonny Stitt "Live in Stockholm 1960" - Jimmy Cobb (drums)

Teddy Edwards Sextet "Jazz Scene USA" - Doug Sides (drums)

- Dig this crazy footage of Buddy Rich playing "Mercy Mercy Mercy" circa. 1975:

I love the gogo dancers and what's up with that left hand of his???
Man....I really don't think he was human!

- Speaking of Buddy Rich....this is just hilarious (But I dig it. It still sounds like Buddy Rich!):

- And the last word today goes to this gentleman:

Thank you for all your great music Mr. Silver...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Denny' s Combos

I've been messing around with this snare drum exercise lately and thought I would share it with you all today.

This exercise, known as "Denny's Combos", was written by Tom Float and taught to me by Jody Mario and Chris Worthington (who both played snare with the Blue Devils) during my drumline days back in the early 1990s. I guess Tom really dug his bacon and eggs...

It's a great exercise because it emphasizes transitions between a progression of several different rudiments, something every rudimental drummer should be able to do effortlessly.

I also really dig this one because it has a subtle Wilcoxin vibe to it (probably because of the hand-to-hand flams, I suppose).

Here are the four variations:

(Please forgive the change in size of these examples. I just recently switched over to a newer version of Sibelius and haven't quite mastered creating .jpeg files from it quite yet!)

I was going to record an audio track of me playing this but found this one of the Impulse drum line playing through it instead (and I think they do a pretty good job!):


- Take it slow at first

- Play it with a metronome and strive for rhythmic accuracy

- Try leading with both the Right and Left hands

- Play it with brushes!

- Attempt replacing the double stroke rolls with 32nd note single strokes rolls!

- Add some kind of bass drum/hi-hat pattern underneath

Monday, June 9, 2014

Peter Erskine on Brushes

Peter Erskine is a great brush player and a great teacher so lucky for us the folks over at Drumeo were nice enough to host and post this lengthy brush lesson with the Maestro himself (although he does start the program with sticks!) There is lots to learn here:

And to put some things into context, here's Peter from a recent appearance right here in Canada from Victoria Drum Fest 2014:

(If you'll notice Peter is also playing one of the new Zildjian Kerope ride cymbals.)

I've also really been digging and practicing along with Erskine's play-a-long Apps currently available on the iTunes App store, all downloaded to my iPhone. The Erskine Jazz Essentials Vol. 1 & 2, Afro-Cuban Essentials, Joy Luck Play-a-Long and The Code of Funk are all very useful resources to practice with. Check them out here:


Monday, June 2, 2014

Moving (around the drums)

Rochester, NY drummer Aaron Staebell was kind enough to contribute this very useful and practical exercise that he learned from Rich Thompson, his teacher at the Eastman School of Music.

Here's what Aaron had to say about his contribution:

"This is a short video demonstrating a movement exercise that we were all doing at Eastman back in the early 2000s. Our teacher was Rich Thompson, a really tremendous drum set pedagogue. He did some time with the Basie band in the 80s. The point behind this exercise was to play as smoothly and comfortably as possible. It was always paired with the term "Conservation of Motion". Hopefully your blog readers dig it!"

It's pretty self-explanatory from this short demonstration that Aaron put together:

Basically, your Right hand moves around the drums either clockwise or counter-clockwise, then your Left hand follows one eighth-note and one drum behind the Right hand.

I actually messed around with this very idea when I was still in high school (!) many years ago but had forgotten about it. Grant Laxdal and I came up with some other variations in the same style as well where the hands travel in opposite directions and start on different drums. Throw in some 3/4 or 4/4 foot pattern ostinatos and perhaps even incorporate the cymbals, then you'll have a wealth of variations to deal with that will get you around the drums in creative and, possibly, uncomfortable ways. We could probably write all these variations down but we are better off to use our imagination and work it out. Thank you Aaron and get to work everybody!

Aaron is also an active educator in the Rochester area. Here is a recent masterclass of his on the subject of setting up one's drums properly:

Do you have anything you'd like to contribute to Four on the Floor?
Drop me a line at: fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com