Monday, July 30, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle: Summer Edition

I'm going to be taking my annual summer break from blogging and social media shortly, so this Monday Morning Paradiddle will be my last blog post until September. Fortunately for us, our correspondents have been quite busy, compiling a great list of articles and clips to check out over the remainder of the summer months. Hope you dig it.

- Chicago's Dana Hall featured in Modern Drummer magazine:


- I recently performed with Jazz great Sheila Jordan earlier this summer in Calgary. Here's a nice article from the Calgary Herald about this incredible women:


- Thanks to Tim Mah who forwarded this new podcast series from Lenny White (including interviews with Ron Carter and Mike Clark!):


And....this interview with Rodney Green:


- Brian Blade interviewed by The Trap Set:


And also a recent feature from the Globe & Mail:


- CBC Radio recently aired a wonderful piece on Sheila E and other great female drummers who've battled all sorts of societal obstacles and challenges in the music industry:


Also from CBC radio, a feature on John Coltrane's recently unearthed quartet album featuring Elvin Jones:


- Thanks to Patrick Boyle for hipping me to this 1971 WKCR interview with Elvin Jones:


- Hey look! It's a rare recording of Elvin Jones with the Duke Ellington Orchestra circa. 1966:

I don't think this arrangement lasted long (!) but it was nice while it lasted.

- Ethan Iverson on the legacy of Lorraine Gordon:


- An interview with Marvin "Smitty" Smith:


- From Jazz Profiles, a two-part feature on Philly Joe Jones:

Part 1 http://jazzprofiles.blogspot.com/2008/08/wonder-of-philly-joe-jones-part-1.html

Part 2 http://jazzprofiles.blogspot.com/2008/08/wonder-of-philly-joe-jones-part-2.html

- Some awesome bootlegs featuring Canadian Jazz Drumming Legend Claude Ranger courtesy of Scott White:


- Even more Claude Ranger, this time thanks to Montreal's Mike Rud who shared this personal recording of "Holy Land":

- Antonio Sanchez playing great, in a somewhat awkward interview:

- Adam Nussbaum always has GREAT things to say. Listen to his two-part interview from Drummer Nation:

And even more from the nice people over at Drummer Nation, an interview with Joe LaBarbera:

There will be more coming from Adam Nussbaum, here at Four on the Floor, in the fall so stay tuned.

- Eric Harland! Oh wow!

- Joe Farnsworth going for it, in Italy, on A Night in Tunisia:

- A few wise words from Ralph Peterson Jr.:

- Chris Smith recently started his own on-line teaching platform via YouTube entitled The Drum Hang. Here's the first instalment, featuring some important ideas on ride cymbal technique:

- I performed with Edmonton saxophonist PJ Perry a few years ago on a tribute to the music of Charlie Parker. Someone recently sent me this clip and you can hear me warming up in the background Lol:

- What am I listening to these days?

Solon McDade "Murals" - Rich Irwin (drums)

Cory Weeds Little Big Band "Explosion" - Jesse Cahill (drums)

Grant Stewart "TRIO" - Phil Stewart (drums)

Mike Allen Quartet featuring Hugh Fraser "Panorama" - Julian McDonough (drums)

Sheila Jordan "Portrait of Sheila" - Denzil Best (drums)

David Kikoski "Consequences" - Jeff Tain Watts (drums)

Soren Nissen "Departures" - Ian Wright (drums)

- And today's Final Word go to pianist Benny Green with some sage advice for anyone who is really interested in playing Jazz music:

Thanks again for checking back and for all your continued support.

Please enjoy the rest of your summer and see you in September!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tim Mah's 2018 Montreal Jazz Fest in Review

My good friend and frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah recently attended the 2018 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Tim has great taste in contemporary Jazz music and was kind enough to offer this summary of the great music he heard during his time in Montreal.

Tim also hosts the radio program Jazz Today on CJSW and can be found here: https://cjsw.com/program/jazz-today/

So, without any further adieu:

"Tim Mah's 2018 Montreal Jazz Fest in Review"
A recap of the 2018 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal / Montreal International Jazz Festival

When: June 28 to July 7, 2018

Where: The 39th edition of the festival included over 500 events across 13 venues and 7 outdoor stages, primarily located in downtown Montreal. There were over 150 indoor concerts and over 300 free admission events. The outdoor stages and primary venues are within walking distance. The music ranges from jazz, blues, rock, funk, R&B, pop, and folk musics.

Set length: The outdoor concerts are one-hour sets. The set lengths for the indoor concerts varied by venue. For example, at Gesu, there are no opening acts, so expect the set to be 60 to 75 minutes long. At Place des Arts, the opening acts are usually 40 to 60 minutes, and the headline act runs for 75 to 90 minutes, with a 20 to 30 minute intermission. Expect similar set and intermission lengths at the other indoor venues. This is important to note if you are planning to attend a concert before or after an indoor concert.


Festival International de Jazz de Montreal / Montreal International Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world. With over 500 concerts and schedule overlaps, it was a challenge to hear all of the concerts I wanted to experience. This blog post covers 20 of the artists I heard and will feature the drummer in each of the bands.

1) Cecile McLorin Salvant

Personnel: Cecile McLorin Salvant (voice), Adam Birnbaum (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), Kyle Poole (drums).

Location: Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts

Recap: Cecile McLorin Salvant’s concert featured music from the Grammy award winning album “Dreams and Daggers.”

In this video (“A Night in the Life: Kyle Poole” from Jazz at Lincoln Center circa. 2014), Kyle Poole talks about being a student at the New School and a working musician at the same time:

This is a video of Kyle Poole with the Emmet Cohen Trio at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival:

2) Christian Sands

Personnel: Christian Sands (piano), Eric Wheeler (bass), Jonathan Barber (drums).

Location: Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts

Recap: The Christian Sands Trio performed a fast paced 40-minute set before the Cecile McLorin Salvant concert. Christian Sands and Cecile McLorin Salvant will be in Calgary on April 11, 2019, as part of the only Canadian tour stop for the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour (60th Anniversary Edition).

The drummer in the band was Jonathan Barber, who released his debut album, “Vision Ahead,” in May 2018. He can also be heard on Jeremy Pelt’s 2018 album “Noir en Rouge (Live in Paris)” and on Sharel Cassity’s 2018 album “Evolve”.

This is a video of the Jeremy Pelt Quintet performing the song “Make Noise!” at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival featuring Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (bass), Jacquelene Acevedo (percussion) and Jonathan Barber (drums):

Here is Jonathan Barber and his band performing “Mr. JB” from Jonathan Barber’s "Vision Ahead" album:

3) Keyon Harrold

Personnel: Keyon Harrold (trumpet), Shedrick Mitchell (piano), Burniss Travis (bass), Nir Felder (guitar), Charles Haynes (drums).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Keyon Harrold performed music from his 2017 album “The Mugician”

This is a video of Charles Haynes with Keyon Harrold at Duc des Lombards in Paris:

Here is Charles Haynes with Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life band at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London:

4) Emmet Cohen Trio with Veronica Swift

Personnel: Emmet Cohen (piano), Russell Hall (bass), Evan Sherman (drums), Veronica Swift (voice)

Location: Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill

Recap: The Emmet Cohen Trio performed four nights at the Upstairs Jazz - the first night with Veronica Swift, the second night with Houston Person and the last two nights with Benny Golson.

This is a video of a master class in Cleveland, Ohio, featuring Emmet Cohen, Russell Hall and Evan Sherman:

This is a video of the Evan Sherman Big Band:

5) Marius Neset

Personnel: Marius Neset (saxophones), Ivo Neame (piano), Michael Janisch (bass), Anton Eger (drums).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Marius Neset performed music from the 2017 album “Circle of Chimes.”

This is a video featuring Marius Neset and Anton Eger:

Anton Eger is also a member of the band Phronesis. This is a video of Phronesis performing “Herne Hill” (written by Anton Eger):

6) Ghost-Note

Personnel: Robert “Sput” Searight (durms), Nate Werth (percussion), Xavier Taplin (keys), MonoNeon (bass), Sylvester Onyejiaka (saxophone)

Location: Club Jazz Casino de Montreal

Recap: Ghost-Note is co-led by Snarky Puppy rhythm section members, Robert Searight and Nate Werth. The group performed music primarily from the 2018 album "Swagism".

This is a video of Ghost-Note performing “Swagism” at the 2018 Victoria International Jazz Festival:

This is a video of Ghost-Note performing “Milkshake” at the 2018 Victoria International Jazz Festival:

7) Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop

Personnel: Ernesto Cervini (drums), Dan Loomis (bass), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Joel Frahm (tenor saxophone), Tara Davidson (alto and other saxophone), William Carn (trombone)

Location: Club Jazz Casino de Montreal

Recap: Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop performed music from their 2017 album “Rev”.

This is a video of Turboprop performing “Pennies from Heaven” at the Rex in Toronto:

Here is a video of Turboprop performing “Red Cross” at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, AB:

8) Mark Guiliana

Personnel: (Beat Music): Mark Guiliana (drums), Bigyuki (keys), Chris Morrissey (electric bass), Jeff Taylor (voice)

Personnel: (Jazz Quartet): Mark Guiliana (drums), Jason Rigby (saxophone), Fabian Almazan (piano), Chris Morrissey (bass), Gretchen Parlato (voice)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Mark Guiliana performed three concerts at Gesu as part of the Invitation Series. The first concert was with John Medeski and Billy Martin. I attended the last two concerts: Mark Guiliana 's Beat Music, featuring Bigyuki, and the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet with Gretchen Parlato.

This is a video of Mark Guilana's Beat Music (featuring Bigyuki) from Zinc Bar in 2014:

This is the concert video of the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet at the 2017 Montreal International Jazz Festival:

9) Herbie Hancock

Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano, keys), Lionel Loueke (guitar), James Genus (bass), Trevor Lawrence Jr. (drums).

Location: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts

Recap: Herbie Hancock and his band performed classic songs from Herbie Hancock’s repertoire.

This is a video of 2016 Herbie Hancock’s concert on Jazz Night in America from the BRIC Celebrate Festival, featuring all of the band members and Terrace Martin (keyboards, saxophone):

This is a video of an interview with Trevor Lawrence Jr. talking about his 2017 debut album called “Relationships”:

10) Thundercat

Personnel: Thundercat (a.k.a. Stephen Bruner) – bass, voice; Dennis Hamm – keys; Justin Brown – drums.

Location: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts

Recap: Thundercat performed a 60-minute set before Herbie Hancock’s concert.

Here’s a video of Thundercat on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, with Dennis Hamm (keys), Miguel Atwood Ferguson (violin) and Justin Brown (drums):

Justin Brown’s debut album “NYEUSI” was released at the end of June 2018. This is a video of Justin Brown and NYEUSI's Boiler Room Live set:

11) Gilad Hekselman Trio with Mark Turner

Personnel: Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Rick Rosato (bass), Jonathan Pinson (drums), Mark Turner (tenor saxophone)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Gilad Hekselman’s concert featured music from the album “Ask For Chaos” (to be released in September 2018)

Here is a video of Jonathan Pinson with the Gilad Hekselman (“gHex”) trio performing “Take the Coltrane”:

This is a video of Jonathan Pinson with the Daniel Szabo trio at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles:

12) Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band

Personnel: Brian Blade (drums), Jon Cowherd (piano), Chris Thomas (bass), Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Melvin Butler (tenor and soprano saxophones)

Location: Monument National

Recap: Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band featured music from the album Body and Shadow.

This is a video of Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band at the 2015 Rimouski jazz festival performing “Migration”:

This is a video of Brian Blade with the Children of the Light Trio (including John Patitucci and Danilo Perez):

13) Renee Rosnes

Personnel: Renee Rosnes (piano), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Robert Hurst (bass), Lenny White (drums)

Location: Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts

Recap: Renee Rosnes was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson award at the 2018 Montreal Jazz Festival. The 60 minute concert featured music from Renee Rosnes’ 2018 album “Beloved of the Sky”.

An interview with Lenny White from the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series 2015:

Lenny White in Clinic from 1983:

14) Dave Holland Zakir Hussain & Chris Potter Trio (“Crosscurrents Trio”)

Personnel: Dave Holland (bass), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Chris Potter (saxophone)

Location: Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts

Recap: Crosscurrents is an international super group led by Dave Holland and Zakir Hussain, which has been touring across the world over the last year. A subset of the band (“Crosscurrents Trio”) has been performing at jazz festivals this summer. Zakir Hussain was the recipient of the Antonio Carlos Jobim award from the festival.

This is a video of the Crosscurrents Trio at the 2018 Istanbul Jazz Festival:

The Crosscurrents concert (May 2018 at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center) featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America:

15) Theo Croker

Personnel: Theo Croker (trumpet), Irwin Hall (alto saxophone), Mike King (piano, keys, bongos), Eric Wheeler (bass), Kassa Overall (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: Theo Croker performed music from his most recent album “Escape Velocity” and new music from his forthcoming album “Star People Nation.”

From the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival, this is a video of Theo Croker's “Dvrk Funk”:

This is a video of Kassa Overall in the Geri Allen Trio:

16) Allison Au Quartet

Personnel: Allison Au (saxophone), Todd Pentney (piano), Jon Maharaj (bass), Fabio Ragnelli (drums)

Location: TD Stage

Recap: The Allison Au Quartet was the recipient of the 2017 Grand Jazz Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The quartet returned to the 2018 festival to perform on the TD Stage (the largest outdoor stage at the festival). This was the final stop on the cross Canada tour. The quartet was featured in the June 11, 2018 Four on the Floor post, regarding their appearance in Calgary.

This is a video of the Allison Au Quartet performing “Tides” from the Juno Award winning album, Forest Grove:

This is a video of Fabio Ragnelli with the Alex Goodman Trio, performing “Let’s Cool One”:

17) Steve Kuhn

Personnel: Steve Kuhn (piano), Aidan O’Donnell (bass), Billy Drummond (drums)

Location: Monument National

Recap: The festival recognized Steve Kuhn’s 80th birthday with this concert. The Steve Kuhn trio performed a set of jazz standards to an appreciative audience.

Here is a video of Billy Drummond with the Steve Kuhn Trio, including Steve Swallow (bass):

See the Four on the Floor blog post on July 19, 2018 for more on Billy Drummond.

18) David Binney’s Alhambra Quartet

Personnel: David Binney (saxophone), Luca Mendoza (piano), Logan Kane (bass), Nate Wood (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: David Binney’s Alhambra Quartet concert featured compositions from Binney and Mendoza. Chris Potter joined the band for one song. Alhambra is a reference to Los Angeles, where all of the band members are from. The concert included songs from across David Binney’s catalogue, including his 2018 album “Hear & Now” and an unreleased song from a 2019 album with Antonio Sanchez, Ben Monder and Matt Brewer.

Nate Wood’s fOUR is a project of one take performances with no prerecorded backing tracks, overdubs or click track. The album, called “X.IT,” is scheduled for release on July 27, 2018.

This is a video of Nate Wood’s “Rabbit” from the fOUR project:

This is a video of Nate Wood performing with Kneebody (2014 in Seattle):

19) Dr. Lonnie Smith Evolution

Personnel: Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ). Jonathan Kreisberg (guitar), Johnathan Blake (drums), Jason Marshall (baritone saxophone), Robin Eubanks (trombone), John Ellis (tenor saxophone), Andrew McAnsh (trumpet), Alicia Olatuja (voice).

Location: Gesu

Recap: Dr. Lonnie Smith was one of the artists selected to perform during the Invitation Series at the festival. The concert I attended featured the large ensemble called “Evolution”, which is a reference to the 2016 album on Blue Note Records. Dr. Lonnie Smith also performed one night with his trio and another night with Chris Potter. Toronto trumpeter, Andrew McAnsh, was a late substitution for this concert (he flew in the day of the concert).

Here is Johnathan Blake with the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio (Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jonathan Kreisberg, Johnathan Blake) performing “Beehive and My Favourite Things”:

This is a video of Johnathan Blake performing “Shuffle Boil” with the Kenny Barron Trio (plus guest, Elena Pinderhughes on the flute) from the 2016 Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Check out the previous posts on Four on the Floor Blog featuring Johnathan Blake.

20) Shai Maestro Trio

Personnel: Shai Maestro (piano), Joe Martin (bass), Ofri Nehemya (drums)

Location: Gesu

Recap: The Shai Maestro Trio performed an improvised set, drawing from Shai Maestro’s most recent album, The Stone Skipper.

One of the songs performed at Gesu was “From One Soul to Another” from The Stone Skipper. This is a video of the Shai Maestro Trio (Shai Maestro, Jorge Roeder, Ofri Nehemya) performing the song at the 2017 Voll-Damm Jazz Festival in Barcelona:

This is a video of Ofri Nehemya, with Omer Avital’s band, performing “Know What I Mean!?” (from Omer Avital’s 2018 album, Qantar):

Monday, July 23, 2018

Kongsberg 1975

A shout out and very special thank you to Julian MacDonough who found this gem.

From Kongsberg, Norway circa. 1975 here's a documentary with some great performance footage and insightful interviews from the likes of Ed Thigpen, Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones and Dannie Richmond:

I really like Mr. Higgins' answer when asked what the role of the drummer is:

"He's a navigator", Higgins replied...now think about THAT for awhile!

And here's a short-cut to the footage of Elvin Jones and his quartet (featuring Pat LaBarbera on tenor saxophone....apparently this was also his very first European tour with Elvin's band):

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Billy Drummond on "Little B's Poem"

A wonderfully musical solo from one of my favourite Jazz drummers, the great Billy Drummond, improvising on Bobby Hutcherson's composition "Little B's Poem" from a recent hit at Small's in New York City:

And while we're at it, here is Drummond offering a story on how he came to play with the great Sonny Rollins:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Savion Glover & Marcus Gilmore

And...we're back.

And what better way to kick off our summer return than with some recent and truly dynamic interplay between two master rhythmatists: tap artist Savion Glover and Marcus Gilmore on drums.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Jazz Camp

I will be taking a brief break from blogging for a bit here (although please check my Instagram feed as I'll still be posting photos of random drums & Jazz drummers regularly over there...) In the meantime I'll be heading to my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan shortly to teach at the annual Prairielands Summer Jazz Camp being held at the University of Regina for the next ten days.

I've been involved with this particular Jazz camp for 25 years now, first participating as a student when it started back in 1994 then 1995, then working as a camp assistant for a number of years, eventually taking over as the Jazz drum instructor in 2002 until now.

Jazz camps (and workshops in general) are an intense, fun and a great experience. I've taught at and participated in quite a few over the years. Those first two camps I attended in Regina back in the mid-90s while I was still in high school were formative experiences for me: having the opportunity to work with drummers Kevin Dempsey and Andre White and also offering introductions to many teachers who would later become important figures and mentors in my formal education in later years while studying in Montreal and Toronto (ie. Kevin Dean, Gordon Foote, Paul Read, Kirk MacDonald, Mike Downes, Kevin Turcotte, Brad Turner, Chase Sanborn, Kristin Korb, etc.)

While definitely not high school experiences, I've also attended the summer Jazz workshops at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1997) and the Lake Placid Jazz Workshop (1998). Between those two experiences I had the opportunity to work with amazing drummers and teachers such as Joe LaBarbera, Abraham Adzenyah and Billy Hart (!) as well as the chance to play with and learn from such icons as Kenny Wheeler, Don Thompson, Hugh Fraser, Hadley Caliman, Pat LaBarbera, Joe Lovano, Tim Hagans, Kenny Werner, Rufus Reid, John Abercrombie, Jim McNeely and Dick Oatts!

The Lake Placid, New York workshop is long gone but the Banff Centre still hosts an amazing workshop every summer and I highly recommend this to everyone I know. That summer in Banff really changed my life and it really is a special place. Some of the musical relationships that started during those summers with other "campers" continue to this day.

A couple of Jazz "camps" that are currently on my radar and hope to attend in the near future include Billy Martin's "Rhythm, Sound and Magic" Workshop https://www.rhythmsoundandmagic.com and Phil Dwyer's Jazz and Culinary Arts Academy https://mcmillanartscentre.com/school-for-creative-arts/the-phil-dwyer-academy-of-music-culinary-arts/phil-dwyer-jazz-and-culinary-arts-academy-at-the-mac-this-summer/

If you are a high school student looking for an intensive Jazz experience or an emerging university Jazz student (or older even...) I can't recommend enough to take part in an intensive workshop or "Jazz camp" experience at some point. They will undoubtedly put you in new musical surroundings and push your knowledge and abilities.

So wherever you might be this summer and whatever Jazz experience you choose to participate in, no matter what stage you are at in your musical career, happy camping!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cobb Special

A post shared by Four on the Floor (@fouronthefloorblog) on

It's been a while since I've posted one of these...so here you go!

This is a pattern that I like to play and that I often get asked about. This pattern is inspired by some things I transcribed from Jimmy Cobb on the Joe Henderson album "Four". Keep in mind that this is NOT what Cobb played but instead an idea that was derived from something I thought I heard him play. I believe there is great value in transcribing solos and vocabulary from the Masters but I also believe that if you come up with something of your own while doing so, well that's okay too!

The pattern goes by quickly so I alternate between playing it slow, then fast.

The pattern itself is comprised of single strokes. It is a ten-note pattern, divided into four-note then six-note groupings (with an accent on the beginning of each).

In the video above I play the pattern four times, divided around the drums, with a little "bebop" ending to wrap it up. Hope you dig it.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Interview with Roy Haynes 1994

Another gem from the vaults of WGBH, here's an interview with Roy Haynes (aka the coolest and hippest man in the known universe!) circa. 1994 with Eric Jackson:


And, in case you needed reminding...