Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Kris Davis & Marcus Gilmore

Further to Monday's post, here's more footage from Kris Davis' album "Duopoly", this time featuring pianist Kris Davis with drummer Marcus Gilmore:

The world needs more music like this!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Kris Davis & Billy Drummond

One of my favourite recent albums of the past couple of years is pianist Kris Davis' "Duopoly". This album features improvised duets between Davis and various improvisors. One such pairing finds pianist Kris Davis with drummer Billy Drummond on two tracks (the other piano/drums duets on the album features Marcus Gilmore). One selection features improvisations on the theme to "Eronel" and the other, a completely improvised duet statement.

Here's a Modern Drummer article about this unique collaboration:


And, fortunately for us, here is video footage of both tracks from the album:

I've always been a HUGE fan of Drummond's drumming and have known Kris since she was barely out of high school (!) During the summer of 1997 we played together in a piano trio at the Banff Centre for the Arts with bassist Solon McDade, participating in the summer Jazz workshop. Definitely a highlight for me and I hope to play with her again in the future. I look forward to hearing more creative projects and collaborations from Davis in the years to come.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tim Mah's Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest Review

Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah recently attended the 2018 edition of the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival and here's his full report and impressions of this successful Canadian Jazz festival:

Recap of the 2018 Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival - Tim Mah 


When: February 8 to 10, 2018

Where: downtown Ottawa at La Nouvelle Scene (12 concerts on two different stages, and two late night jams) and the Mercury Lounge (one concert).

Seating: all performances were general admission.

Run time: most performances had an hour run time, with some running longer. The concerts were scheduled with minimal overlap.

Thursday, February 8


Personnel: Pierre-Yves Martel (electric bass, synthesizer), Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums), Guido Del Fabbro (violin synthesizer), Bernard Falaise (electric guitar), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, melodica), Martin Tetrault (turntable)

The festival opened with Montreal chamber jazz group, Quartetski, performing music from their 2016 album called “Mikrokosmos: Quartetski Does Bartók”, featuring the band’s adaptation of progressive exercises and études by the great Béla Bartók.

Dock In Absolute

Personnel: Jean-Philippe Koch (piano), David Kintziger (bass), Michel Mootz (drums)

Dock In Absolute, a jazz trio from Luxembourg, performed music from their 2017 self-titled album. The trio has toured across Europe and Asia. Ottawa was their only Canadian stop on their current tour.

This is a video of “Submission” from the self-titled album of Dock In Absolute:

Barbra Lica

Personnel: Barbra Lica (voice), Marc Rogers (bass), Will Fisher (drums), Tom Fleming (guitar), Joel Visentin (piano, keys, accordion)

Performing songs from her album “I’m Still Learning” and new songs, Barbra Lica and her band sounded cohesive and polished. Barbra Lica quickly builds a rapport with her audience through her charm, wit and stories.

The EPK for the 2017 album “I’m Still Learning”:

Paolo Angeli

Personnel: Paolo Angeli (guitar, voice)

Touring North America in support of his 2017 album “Talea,” Paolo Angeli mesmerized the audience with his performance, featuring his customized Sardinian guitar. Here’s a video of his National Public Radio Tiny Desk Concert:

Friday, Feburary 9

Hilario Duran & the Ottawa Latin Jazz Big Band

Hilario Duran (piano), supported by the Ottawa Latin Jazz Big Band, delighted the audience, performing music from his repertoire, including “Parque 527” from his 2018 Juno award nominated album “Contumbao” and jazz standards (“Manteca”, “A Night in Tunisia”).

The EPK for Hilario Duran’s album “Contumbao”, released in 2017:

Emma Frank

Personnel: Emma Frank (voice), Jim Black (drums), Martin Heslop (bass), Elias Stemeseder (piano), Simon Millerd (trumpet)

Emma Frank’s concert included songs from her new album, “Ocean Av” (released on February 16, 2018). Her songs are beautiful and feature intelligent lyrics.

The musicians on her new album include Emma Frank (vocals), Aaron Parks (piano), Jim Black (drums), Rick Rosato (bass) and Franky Rousseau (guitar).

The following is the video for “Ocean Av”:

Chet Doxas

Personnel: Chet Doxas (saxophone, electronics), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Rob Ritchie (guitar, synths), Zack Lober (bass, turntables), and Eric Doob (drums, electronics).

Chet Doxas and his band faithfully reproduced the music and energy from his 2018 Juno award nominated album, “Rich in Symbols” (inspired by the “No Wave” art movement of New York City’s Lower East Side between the years 1975-85). As the band performed each song, the corresponding piece of art was projected behind the band. The concert program with the corresponding pictures of the artwork can be found on Chet Doxas’ website: http://www.chetdoxas.com/pics-for-show/

Below is the video for “Starcrossings” from the album:

Jim Black Trio 

Personnel: Jim Black (drums), Thomas Morgan (bass), Elias Stemeseder (piano)

The Jim Black Trio’s concert featured music from their 2016 album “The Constant”. A review of the album from NPR’s Fresh Air can be found here:

Saturday, February 10

Fred Hersch

Personnel: Fred Hersch (piano)

Twelve time Grammy nominated pianist and composer, Fred Hersch, performed a solo piano concert, in support of his 2017 album “Open Book.” He didn’t disappoint the sold out audience.

Fred Hersch “Plainsong” from the album “Open Book”:

Taps and Traps: Heather Cornell and Jesse Stewart

Personnel: Heather Cornell (dance – sand, wood, tap), Jesse Stewart (drums, percussion)

This concert featuring Heather Cornell and Jesse Stewart was fascinating; as Heather Cornell demonstrated her tap dance mastery and Jesse Stewart played some of his unique instruments (including triple flute, waterphone, handpan).

The performance was at Studio B in La Nouvelle Scene, which is a black box theatre with a flat floor. The first row was the best place to view Heather Cornell’s footwork. The rest of the audience would not have been able to see and hear the performance as well as those in the first row.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Joe Lovano Trio featuring Idris Muhammad

Just some great trio footage today featuring the late Idris Muhammad with Joe Lovano circa. 2000:

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Welcome back and this is officially the very first Monday Morning Paradiddle column of 2018! Here's a vast assortment of random items to check out:

- Adam Nussbaum has new album out! (more on this one later...) Check out this feature from Downbeat Magazine on what promises to be a unique and interesting collection of music:


- Rudy Royston interviewed by Dave Douglas over at Greenleaf Music:


- A podcast interview with Joe Farnsworth from The Bird's Basement:


- DrumGab offers interviews with Mark Kelso:


...and Eric Harland:


- Todd Bishop from Cruiseship Drummer with a wonderful column on the legacy of Paul Motian:


- Ethan Iverson pens a wonderful piece on the not-talked-about-nearly-often-enough Donald Bailey:


- No drums (!) but Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle offers his favourite bass solos:


- From Drummer Nation, an interview with Michael Carvin:

- A sneak peek of an upcoming trio album featuring Brian Blade, Jeff Coffin and Chris Donahue:

- Marcus Gilmore goes for it with Chick Corea:

- What am I listening to these days?

Geof Bradfield "Birdsongs" - Dana Hall (drums)

Clark Sommers Trio "BaSH" - Dana Hall (drums)

Barry Elmes "Dog's Breakfast" - Barry Elmes (drums)

Phil Stewart "Melodious Drums" - Phil Stewart (drums)

Rodney Jordan "Playing Jazz, Volume 1" - Jason Marsalis (drums)

David Friesen "Four to Go" - Alan Jones (drums)

Nat Adderley "In the Bag" - James Black (drums)

Bud Powell "Off Minor" - Kenny Clarke (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to Joseph Campbell with some sage advice for all those who are looking to get some practicing done:

"You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen." 

- Joseph Campbell

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bob Gullotti: Chasin' the Bird

Not at that long ago (in the last ten years anyways...), Bob Gullotti was a big help towards my own doctoral research through the University of Toronto (much more than he likely realizes!)
In examining the notion of Melodic Jazz Drumming (found here: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/69408) I recalled an obscure article from a long out-of-print Jazz education magazine that I first discovered in the McGill University Library in which Gullotti described using the solo phrases from the Charlie Parker Omnibook to develop solo vocabulary on the drum set. This intrigued me then (late 90s?) and this idea not only left an impression on me as a Jazz drummer but also prompted me to reach out and interview Gullotti on this specific topic several years later.

We never met in person however we did speak at length over the phone and his description and explanation of his use of Bird's "melodies" and how to orchestrate them around the drums was a big help in my research. In fact, I somehow think of this and all the possibilities of Melodic Drumming in some way or another every time that I sit down to play and teach at the drums.

So here's an example of Gullotti demonstrating this very concept, on the Charlie Parker tune Chi Chi:

As you can see and hear, Bird's melodic ideas lend themselves very well to orchestration around the drum set.

Bob is also a founding member of the long standing Boston trio The Fringe with tenor saxophonist George Garzone and bassist John Lockwood. Be sure to check these guys out if you ever find yourself in Boston.

Here's a 2012 article from NPR on the legacy of this very important trio:


And if you are interested in learning more about Bob's drumming teaching concepts, I would highly recommend checking out this new instructional lesson from My Music Masterclass.com:


Thanks for all your help Bob!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Max + Dizzy: Paris 1989

A bit of a visit down memory lane for me today....here's some amazing footage of Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie from their 1989 duo concert in Paris, France.

I first bought this album 25 years ago (!) while on a high school band trip to Moscow, Idaho, attending the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Up until that moment I had only started to check out Max, mostly his work with Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins. So, for a number of reasons, this album really knocked me out...

First of all, I was amazed that so much music could be made from just two musicians on stage together. Entertaining the possibility of improvised duets with other musicians now offered me a world of possibility and the sky was now the limit. I had no idea that you could do that as a drummer! Soon after I would discover the Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell ECM record "El Corazon" (thanks to the Regina Public Library) and the rest, as they say, is history...

But in retrospect what really impressed me (and still does) is how personal Roach delivers his vocabulary and rhythmic ideas on the drums. He really OWNS every phrase that he plays. Of course, this only comes from a lifetime of playing and developing ones ideas time after time again. Not only did Roach invent a new language of Jazz drumming that set the bar very high and inspired countless others, but he perfected it in a highly personal way over the course of his entire career. By the time of this recording I don't think Roach was really searching for new things to play on the drums (I could be wrong...) but instead he focused on refining and delivering his time-tested ideas in very clever ways, arranged in very clear and musical statements.

Fortunately for us/me, the video footage of the concert exists:

And here's the full audio/CD version of the concert:

*Be sure to check out the audio up until the very end as there is an extensive interview with both Roach and Gillespie.