Friday, December 30, 2016

Ludwig Drum Co. Contest Solos

This is our last blog post of 2016 and we'd like to leave you all with a few things to practice over your holiday break. So dust off your drum pad and get to work! (perhaps this might be a chance to work off some of that turkey and extra piece of pie hmmmm?)

I'd like to thank Greg Way for giving me these sheets (and several large boxes of percussion literature!) back in the mid-90s before he left Regina, Saskatchewan for Ontario. If I had to guess I'd say this was some sort of educational promo material that the Ludwig Drum Company printed and distributed back in the 60s (?) Anyways, there are some real gems here that are just as relevant now as they were back then.

Here's a clip of the great Frank Arsenault performing the very same version of "The Downfall of Paris":

And J. Burns Moore playing the "Connecticut Halftime":

Here's "Hell on the Wabash" as performed in period uniform:

And the Hellcats lay it down on the "Three Camps" (this is a chops buster...):

Thank you all for your continued support.
See you in 2017!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Neil Peart Warming Up...

 I think this is amazing.

And it's no coincidence that the foot ostinato that Peart chose to use was directly inspired by Max Roach's "The Drum Also Waltzes" (I recall reading about this in Modern Drummer magazine, maybe back in early 90s sometime?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tim Mah's Top Jazz Picks of 2016

Calgary's Tim Mah is a good friend, a huge supporter of the local scene here in Calgary and has excellent taste when it comes to food, wine, coffee, fashion and, of course, Jazz music. Tim was nice enough to contribute today's guest blog post, his choices for the best Jazz albums of 2016.

"Tim Mah's Top 2016 Jazz Albums" by Tim Mah

In December, many “Best of the Year” album lists are published and the Grammy Awards nominations are announced.  I like reading these lists, as they serve as a filter for the thousands of albums that are released each year. I often discover albums that I have not had the opportunity to hear.

Below is a list of 20 Jazz albums for 2016 that were among my favourite Jazz albums of the year, in no particular order:

1. Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling “Upward Spiral”

2.  Gregory Porter “Take Me to the Alley”

3. Murray Allen & Carrington Power Trio "Perfection" 

4.  Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, and Matthew Garrison "In Movement"

5. Jeremy Pelt "#Jiveculture"

6.  Ben Wendel "What We Bring"

7.  The Pedrito Martinez Group "Habana Dreams"

8.  Tord Gustavsen, Simin Tander, and Jarle Vespestad "What Was Said"

9.  Takuya Kuroda "Zigzagger"

10.  Francisco Mela "Fe"

11.  Logan Richardson "Shift"

12.  Theo Croker "Escape Velocity"

13.  Alfredo Rodriguez "Tocororo"

14.  Camila Meza "Traces"

15.  Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society "Real Enemies"

16. Seamus Blake "Superconductor"

17. Champian Fulton "After Dark"

18. Esperanza Spalding "Emily's D+Evolution"

19. Jane Monheit "The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald"

20. Kris Davis “Duopoly”


"Honourable Mentions…"

Jerome Jennings “The Beast”  

Melissa Aldana “Back Home”

Brandi Disterheft “Blue Canvas”

Ingrid & Christine Jensen “Infinitude”

Al Muirhead “Oop!”

Bria Skonberg “Bria"

Marquis Hill “The Way We Play”

Dominic Faranacci “Short Stories”

Warren Wolf “Convergence”

Quinsin Nachoff “Flux"

Rudy Royston Trio “Rise of Orion”

Donny McCaslin “Beyond Now”

Robert Glasper Experiment “ArtScience”

Laurence Hobgood “Honor Thy Fathers”

Avishai Cohen “Into the Silence”

Terrace Martin “Velvet Portraits”

Ibrahim Maalouf “Khaltoum”

Metalwood “Twenty”

Snarky Puppy “Culcha Vulcha"

Norah Jones “Day Breaks"

Monday, December 19, 2016

Billy Hart's Three Career Stages...

During the summer of 1998 I attended a short-lived Jazz workshop in Lake Placid, New York and Billy Hart was the guest drum teacher.

During one of Hart's masterclasses, he shared this comical piece of wisdom, his take on the career trajectory that Jazz musicians often take:

Stage one: "Who is Billy Hart?"

Stage two: "Get me Billy Hart!"

Stage three: "Get me someone who sounds like Billy Hart!"

Monday, December 12, 2016

(Super) Moutin Bros.

While I was visiting Montreal during the end of October I had the privilege of hearing the Moutin Brothers Reunion Quartet offer a clinic at McGill University and then see them perform at the Upstairs Jazz Club. I was very impressed with the shear technicality and sophistication of French bassist Francois Moutin and his brother Louis on drums. The entire group, including recent McGill faculty addition Jean-Michel Pilc on piano, was outstanding.

The highlight of both the clinic and gig, for me anyways, was a very clever drum/bass duet on a medley of Fats Waller compositions. A subsequent search of the inter web provided these duets as well, all worth watching:

Personally I'd like to see much more of this kind of thing!

And I also came across this very entertaining musical comic book narrative of the amazing Moutin brothers:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Jerry Granelli on Drums

Jerry Granelli and his trio have been touring across Canada this month, playing the music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I missed their Calgary show as I was playing a xmas themed Jazz show with my own big band at the same time (!) but fortunately I came across this recent footage of Granelli improvising at the drums:

I'm really intrigued by the very fluid and graceful manner in which he hits the drums. It's almost like watching a painter in action, spreading colours across a very large canvas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mel Lewis/Bob Mintzer Duet

One more Mel Lewis post to finish the week...Special thanks to Christopher Smith who has graciously shared this amazing video, transcriptions and insight into Mel Lewis over the past week.