Thursday, November 29, 2018

Billy Drummond Recommends...

I am always interested and fascinated with who my favourite musicians are listening to and influenced by. Lucky for us, here's Billy Drummond sharing some of his favourite recordings, specifically ones that have outstanding recorded drum & cymbal sounds:

To summarize, here's his list of influential records to check out (now go do your homework!):

Wynton Kelly "Kelly at Midnight" - Philly Joe Jones (drums)

The Great Jazz Trio "Vol. 1 & Vol. 2" - Tony Williams (drums)

Steve Kuhn Trio "Life’s Magic" - Al Foster (drums) 

Cedar Walton "The Pentagon" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Miles Davis "Filles de Kilimanjaro" - Tony Williams (drums)

Herbie Hancock "Maiden Voyage" - Tony Williams (drums)

Jack DeJohnette "Special Edition" - Jack DeJohnette (drums) 

Jack DeJohnette’s Directions "New Rags" - Jack DeJohnette (drums) 

Cannonball Adderley "Something Else" - Art Blakey (drums)

Paul Motian "Le Voyage" - Paul Motian (drums)

The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine "Remembrance" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Clifford Jordan Quartet "Glass, Bead, Games" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Lee Morgan "Charisma"- Billy Higgins (drums)

And to conclude today's post, here's some great recent footage of Drummond's of Freedom of Ideas band in action (featuring some beautiful Tony Williams yellow Gretsch drums!):

Monday, November 26, 2018

Farnsworth Plays the Blues

From a recent hit at Small's, here's smokin' Joe Farnsworth with the legendary Buster Williams on bass and Dan Nimmer on piano:

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Tain'ish Soundcheck

Just a brief clip of Tain warming up the drums during a soundcheck to get the week off to a good start:

Monday, November 12, 2018


Toronto Jazz drummer Ethan Ardelli recently visited Calgary with his band this past weekend and I attended his performance & clinic at Long & McQuade on Saturday afternoon.

Ardelli is a fine drummer/composer and in explaining one of his own original compositions, he pointed to the influence of Cuban drummer Jose Luis Quintana (also know as "Changuito"), with whom Ardelli had also studied Afro-Cuban drumming with. He recommended that everyone check out Changuito's incredible drumming on the YouTube for further examples. I was actually reminded of Billy Hart saying the same thing (!) back at a Jazz workshop that I attended in Lake Placid, NY circa. 1998.

In fact, these two following instructional videos are exactly what Hart referred to (although at the time obviously there was no YouTube!) Anyways, get comfortable and check these two resources out, straight from source....

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jason Marsalis: Snare Drum Improvisations

A very musical and cleverly improvised solo piece from Jason Marsalis today, this time using ONLY a snare drum (with the snares turned OFF incidentally). Check out all the colours and hip grooves that he gets from the instrument:

This also brings to mind some similar solo snare drum improvisations that I've seen from the likes of Han Bennink and Ted Warren. I also heard Evelyn Glennie play a piece for solo suspended cymbal about a year ago at a concert in Calgary, AB. These are all amazing examples that we should follow in our quest to be musically inventive Jazz drummers.

Now imagine if one were to approach ALL the components of the drum set in the same way, exploring all the different colours, textures and rhythmic possibilities that we can get out of ONE instrument. Hmmm....

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Man, this Fall has really been flying by lately but I've been fortunate to have been on the go recently with clinics, private students, and a steady stream of gigs with the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra and, most recently, former CBC Jazz radio host Tim Tamashiro and his new show "When You're Smiling". Anyways, still lots of interesting things to share with you all these days and here's what we've got in store for you in this month's instalment of The Monday Morning Paradiddle. Enjoy!

- Thanks to Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah for passing along this feature on Chicago's Makaya McCraven from Rolling Stones magazine: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/makaya-mccraven-universal-beings-interview-746144/?fbclid=IwAR2ZGoVfA3mvHmCk7H838iEIDmVJB1oZS1F941SUPLKpHo2w_9vjYoac0Ew

- An older Modern Drummer feature on Canadian Jazz legend Terry Clarke:

- WBGO's Nate Chinen on new music from five different notable drummer/composers:

- Lenny White interviews Jeff "Tain" Watts over at his podcast iyouwee: http://iyouwee.com

- Here's Rudy Royston on his latest offering "Flatbed Buggy":

- Billy Hart recently visited Western Michigan University. Read all about it here:

- A article on Joey Baron from Downbeat magazine:

- Mike Clark interviewed by Modern Drummer magazine:

- Here's the trailer for the new upcoming Paul Motian documentary!

MotianInMotion_Alternate_Trailer_ from Michael Patrick Kelly on Vimeo.

- A pair of tributes from Hudson Music, originally used for Zildjian's 375th Anniversary concert in 1998 featuring Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Louie Bellson and Roy Haynes!

- Dan Weiss doing his thing in an urban basketball court:

- Thanks again to Tim Mah for sending along this TEDx talk which is certainly worthy of taking a good look at in this day and age:

- A Neon Jazz interview with Kobie Watkins on the heel of his recent release "Movement":

- When people talk about Philly Joe Jones, this particular track often enters into the conversation (and for good reason!):

- Finally, check out this groovy clip of Geoff Clapp in the studio from awhile back:

I've been taking FaceTime lessons with Geoff lately and he is a great teacher and I highly recommend connecting with him. Contact him via Facebook and schedule an on-line lesson asap. You won't regret it!

- What am I listening to these days?

Time Warp "There and Back" - Barry Elmes (drums)

John Wadham "Drums and Friends" - John Wadham (drums)

Willies Jones III "Groundwork" - Willie Jones III (drums), Warren Wolf (vibraphone)

Donny McCaslin "Give and Go" - Gene Jackson (drums)

Peter Beets "New York Trio" - Willie Jones III (drums)

Bud Powell "Portrait of Thelonious" - Kenny Clarke (drums)

Lee Morgan "The Procrastinator" Billy Higgins (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to pianist and Jazz Messenger Benny Green who, lucky for us, often shares some great gems of wisdom via his Facebook page:

"Preparation" by Benny Green

"If anyone asked me then and if anyone asks me now, why I moved to New York City in 1982, it was always to become a Jazz Messenger.

There was no texting, no email nor social media in 1982. You’d get your ass to the club where the people you wanted to play with were performing, and you'd be dressed reasonably appropriately for that particular band. You'd have listened and played along with some of their records and you'd know some of their arrangements.

You’d be present-minded and not pretend to yourself that one lone recording of a musician from 27 years prior is a reasonable indicator of their current repertoire. You'd consider your instrument's essential vital characteristics as pertained to the aesthetics of the musicians you were about to hear in-person - and keeping it real, who you were hoping to sit in with and eventually be hired to perform and record with.

You’d want to feel like you could bring something to the plate in terms of authenticity with the older players, and contemporary fire and freshness with your peers.

You’d want to know some history, you’d want to know some American popular songs and some instrumental Jazz standards, to be able to play the blues, to be able to play a ballad, and to have endurance with up-tempos.

You’d want to be able to play well for singers, you'd need to be able to play in the appropriate style for swing, for pre-bop, for bebop, for hard bop, for The Jazz Messengers, for Miles and for Coltrane, for soul and funk, bossa novas and sambas (Phoebe's that is).

I've been blessed to have a career playing 99% of the time in 4/4.

You'd better swing your tail off, have that “spark”, or else - hey it’s NYC, nothing personal and thanks for shopping with us.

If you were a young cat, carried yourself with some dignity and humility and were well-dressed, Art would see you coming around, look you in the eyes and get a very accurate read on you - Art Blakey could see your soul and he'd be looking to assess your mettle.

If Art noticed that some of the cats, the more the better, were hanging and talking in a serious way with you on the breaks, then it was a simple matter of being there constantly and waiting for your chance to one night late on the 2nd set, perhaps be invited to step onto Art’s bandstand." 

- Benny Green via Facebook, October 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Chris Smith - The Drum Hang Vol. 2

Another batch of GREAT Jazz drumming lessons from New York's Chris Smith (who's also currently performing with the Birdland Big Band and the likes of Dick Oatts and Garry Dial). There is LOTS of practical and well-informed information here so take note and learn something from someone who really knows what they are talking about!

Thanks again Chris and keep 'em coming!