Monday, April 24, 2017

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Spring is in full swing over here and thanks for checking back (it's actually snowing outside my studio window as I write this!) Anyways, here's a bunch of different things on the go and worth checking out this week:

- An older article but here's Canadian journalist Paul Wells on Montreal-now-New Orleans-based drummer John Fraboni's attempt to invite Elvin Jones over to his house for dinner!


- Another older but very good piece on Tony Williams from Jazz Profiles:


- We know Joe Lovano as one of the world's great Jazz saxophonists, but he's also a great drummer too and shows a great reverence for the great drummers. Here is an interview with Lovano from Greenleaf Music:


- The Drummer Resource Podcast is always a great source for interviews with different drummers, covering a variety of styles. In this episode Nick Ruffini speaks with Berklee professor and Alan Dawson disciple John Ramsay:


Billy Drummond is also interviewed at the Drummer's Resource Podcast over here:


And thanks to saxophonist Jeff McGregor, Drummond is also interviewed via the ongoing SmallsLIVE Workshop Podcast:

- The Drummer's Journal is a wonderful on-line magazine. I'm always really impressed by not only the content but also the layout and artistic choices that go into the presentation. Check it out here:


Definitely check out recent features with Steve Gadd and Peter Erskine.

- Han Bennink is featured over at NPR Music in a lovely segment entitled "The Jazz Drummer Who Makes Music Out of Everything":

- Jesse Simpson is quickly making a name for himself as a fine cymbal smith. Check out this little feature:

- Quincy Davis offers another "Q-Tip" lesson, offering some suggestions on how to develop your single stroke rolls:

Also, a huge congratulations to Quincy is due as he recently accepted the position as drum professor at the University of North Texas!

- A great lesson with David Garibaldi, breaking down the King Kong Beat:

- A little drum n' bass with Toronto bassist Mike Downes and Larnell Lewis:

- Another segment featuring Antonio Sanchez from the upcoming documentary "The Art of Listening":

- Now here's some fun music....The WDR Big Band featuring two projects with drummer's Al Foster and Billy Hart!

- What am I listening to these days?

Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera "Silent Voices" - Adam Nussbaum (drums)

Antonio Sanchez "Three by Three" - Antonio Sanchez (drums)

Joe Lovano "Tones, Shapes and Colours" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Gene Krupa & Louie Bellson "The Mighty Two" - Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson (drums)

Hugh Fraser Quintet "Pas de Problems" - Blaine Wikjord (drums)

Hugh Fraser Quinet "Looking Up" - Buff Allen (drums)

Nate Waters Quartet "Contra Contrafact" - Bobby Wiens (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to the great Jack DeJohnette:

"Listen really well, inspire the other musicians, be a team player, and know when to provide the fire, the intensity and the dynamics to the group. Be prepared to play what you don't know..."

- Jack DeJohnette

Monday, April 17, 2017

Paul Motian "West 107th Street" and Playing the Piano

Thanks to Chicago's Ted Sirota who shared this brilliant little drum solo from Paul Motian called "West 107th Street", originally featured on a duo recording with pianist Paul Bley entitled "Notes":

I was also recently intrigued by an episode of Uncle Paul's Jazz Closet, a wonderful regular podcast in which Motian's niece chronicles her uncle's music. Specifically, she recently shared several home recordings made on cassette of Motian practicing the piano and playing through several of his original compositions (circa. 1978). Check it out here: http://jazzcloset.blogspot.ca/2017/04/set-list-040717.html

I find this all quite inspiring and daunting at the same time. Apparently he was quite a devout student of the piano, had a regular teacher and practiced regularly (he even bought and played one of Keith Jarrett's pianos!) And of course, Motian was a prolific composer as well (you can purchase a volume of his compositions here: http://jazzcloset.blogspot.ca/p/motian-songbook.html)

Personally, I record myself a lot while playing the vibraphone, sometimes on the piano (maybe with my iPhone) and, most recently, singing ideas into a Sony digital dictaphone. I also find the Zoom H6 a very useful tool for recording myself on the drums. Overall I find the process of recording myself (even if I'm not playing my main instrument) a great way to document and develop different compositional ideas. However, I also find the idea of these personal recordings being released into universe for all to hear being absolutely terrifying too! They're not really for anyone but myself to listen to...

So who knows if Paul Motian really meant for anyone to hear these personal recordings, but boy are we sure lucky that we are afforded this rare opportunity, a glimpse into the artistic process of a master musician.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Christian McBride Trio - Tribute to Ray Brown

I enjoyed this Ray Brown trio tribute lately, featuring Christian McBride, Benny Green and Karriem Riggins, three exceptional and highly swinging musicians who all had a very close relationship with the late bassist Ray Brown:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Joe Farnsworth Vienna

Some short (but great!) clips of Joe Farnsworth in action, giving some sage advice to some very lucky students in Austria from a recent tour:

Dig his use of the mallets on this solo piece...

And finally a couple of very hip solos, playing with pianist Harold Mabern: