Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tim Mah's Top International Jazz Albums of 2019

Once again CJSW's Tim Mah, host of the weekly Jazz radio program Jazz Today (heard on Thursday mornings from 530-7am) and frequent contributor to this blog, offers his top picks for best international Jazz albums of 2019 (this is a wonderful follow-up to his excellent list of Canadian picks last week). As you can see below, Tim's choices are well informed and there was lots of great music offered to us over the past year.

This will be the final blog post of 2019 so drive safe everyone and see you next year!

"Tim Mah's Top Jazz Albums (International) of 2019"

Here are my favourite albums from international (non-Canadian) artists, released from December 2018 to November 2019:

1. Camila Meza & The Nectar Orchestra “Ambar”


2. Kendrick Scott Oracle “A Wall Becomes a Bridge”


3. Johnathan Blake “Trion” (with Chris Potter and Linda May Han Oh)


4. Reid Anderson, Dave King & Craig Taborn “Golden Valley is Now”


GOLDEN VALLEY IS NOW "Highway 1000" and "The end of the world" from Idée Fixe on Vimeo.

5. Lage Lund “Terrible Animals”


6. Branford Marsalis Quartet “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul”


7. Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science “Waiting Game”


8. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah “Ancestral Recall”


9. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom “Glitter Wolf”


10. Linda May Han Oh “Aventurine”


11. Melissa Aldana “Visions”


12. Joshua Redman Quartet “Come What May”


13. Miguel Zenon “Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera”


14. Nerija “Blume”


15. Jazzmeia Horn “Love and Liberation”


16. Guillermo Klein “Los Guachos Cristal”

17. Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider “Sun on Sand”

18. Kurt Rosenwinkel & Bandit 65 “Searching the Continuum”

19. The Comet is Coming “Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery”

20. The Art Ensemble of Chicago “We Are On The Edge”

21. Joel Ross “KingMaker”

22. Miho Hazama “Dancer in Nowhere”

23. Theon Cross “Fyah”

24. Caroline Davis “Alula”

25. Yazz Ahmed “Polyhymnia”

26. Yes! Trio (Ali Jackson, Omer Avital and Aaron Goldberg) “Groove du Jour”

27. Brad Mehldau “Finding Gabriel”

28. Julian Lage “Love Hurts”

29. Larry Grenadier “The Gleaners”

30. Portico Quartet “Memory Streams”

Also check out (in no particular order):

JD Allen “Barracoon”

Marta Sanchez “El Rayo de Luz”

Tomeka Reid Quartet “Old New”

Victor Gould “Thoughts Become Things”

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis “The Hope I Hold”

Ralph Alessi “Imaginary Friends”

Fabian Almazan Trio “This Land Abounds With Life”

Ben Monder “Day After Day”

Bill Frisell “Harmony”

Harish Raghavan “Calls for Action”

Steve Lehman Trio & Craig Taborn “The People I Love”

The Bad Plus “Activate Infinity”

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan “Epistrophy”

Chick Corea “Trilogy 2 (featuring Christian McBride and Brian Blade)”

Taylor Ho Bynum 9-Tette “The Ambiguity Manifesto”

Amirtha Kidambi & Elder Ones “From Untruth”

Laura Jurd “Stepping Back, Jumping In”

Dan Weiss Trio Plus 1 “Utica Box”

Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain & Chris Potter “Good Hope”

Roxy Coss “Quintet”

Greg Ward & Rogue Parade “Stomping off from Greenwood”

Junius Paul “Ism”

Dave Douglas “Devotion” (featuring Uri Caine and Andrew Cyrille)

Miles Okazaki “The Sky Below”

Alex Lore & Weirdear “Karol”

Theo Croker “Star People Nation”

Zach Brock, Matt Ulery & Jon Deitemyer “Wonderment”

Matt Ulery “Delicate Charms”

Mark de Clive-Lowe “Heritage” and “Heritage II”

Chris Potter “Circuits” (featuring James Francies & Eric Harland)

Joe Martin “Etoilee”

Matt Mitchell “Phalanx Ambassadors”

James Brandon Lewis “An Unruly Manifesto”

ELEW “Cubism”

Persona (Caroline Davis and Rob Clearfield) “Anthems”

Chris Speed Trio “Respect For Your Toughness”

Marquis Hill “Love Tape”

David Sanchez “Carib”

Sun Speak “Moon Preach”

Curtis+Garabedian+Sperrazza “New Year”

Jeremy Pelt “Jeremy Pelt The Artist”

Kevin Hays & Lionel Loueke “Hope”

Jason Palmer “Rhyme and Reason”

Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn “The Transitory Poems”

Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi “Trio Tapestry”

Jerome Jennings “Solidarity”

Remy Le Boeuf “Assembly of Shadows”

Dan Tepfer “Natural Machines”

Veronica Swift “Confessions”

Ben Flocks “Mask of the Muse”

Brent Birckhead “Birckhead”

Matt Maneri “Dust”

Tom Harrell “Infinity”

Chick Corea “Antidote” (featuring the Spanish Heart Band)

Brandee Younger “Soul Awakening”

Sara Gazarek “Thirsty Ghost”

Rachael & Vilray “Rachael & Vilray”

Anthony Wilson “Songs & Photographs”

Jacky Terrasson “53”

Petros Klampanis “Irrationalities”

Ulysses Owens Jr. “Songs of Freedom”

Matt Brewer “Ganymede”

Hiromi “Spectrum”

Ronin Arkestra “Sonkei”

Nicholas Payton “Relaxin’ With Nick”

Jeff Ballard “Fairgrounds”

Chris Lightcap “Superbigmouth”

Brittany Anjou “Enamigo Reciprokataj”

Sarathy Korwar “More Arriving”

Chase Baird “A Life Between”

Friday, December 27, 2019

Drums West: Jim Henson meets Chico Hamilton

A very clever 1961 paper animation by Jim Henson (The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, etc.) set to West Coast Jazz drummer Chico Hamilton's brushwork:

Monday, December 23, 2019

Tim Mah's Top Canadian Jazz Albums of 2019

Well, it's that time of December again when we look back to the year behind us and then to the year ahead. Once again CJSW's Tim Mah, host of the Jazz radio program Jazz Today (heard on Thursday mornings from 530-7am) and frequent contributor to Four on the Floor, offers his top picks for Canadian Jazz albums of 2019.

As you will see below, there are plenty of great things happening in Canadian Jazz these days!

Make sure to come back again shortly for Tim's pick's for top overall international Jazz releases of 2019.

"Tim Mah's Top Canadian Jazz Albums of 2019"

Here are my favourite albums, led or co-led by Canadians, released between December 2018 and November 2019:

1) Kris Davis “Diatoms Ribbons”


2) Seamus Blake “Guardians of the Heart Machine”


3) Landline “Landline”


4) Anna Webber “Clockwise”


If you missed it, please listen to Anna Webber talk about her music with Dave Douglas on the podcast called “A Noise From The Deep”:


Below is a video of Anna Webber performing at the Experimental Sound Studio:

5. Nick Fraser, Kris Davis and Tony Malaby “Zoning”


6. Gentiane MG Trio “Wonderland”


7. Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin “Clock Radio”


8. Jacques Kuba Seguin “Migrations”


9. Laura Anglade “I’ve Got Just About Everything”


10. Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal “The Mystic Mind”

11. Tara Kannangara “It’s Not Mine Anymore”

12. Brad Turner Quartet featuring Seamus Blake “Jump Up”

13. Steph Richards “Take the Neon Lights”

14. Curtis Nowosad “Curtis Nowosad”

15. Sam Wilson “Groundless Apprehensions”

16. Louis-Vincent Hamel “Self Enquiry”

17. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque “On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme”

18. Donna Grantis “Diamonds & Dynamite”

19. Harris Eisenstadt “Canada Day Quartet Live”

20. Dan McCarthy “City Abstract”

21. Dan McCarthy “Epoch”

22. Dominique Fils-Aime “Stay Tuned!”

23. Fraser Hollins “Treehouse”

24. Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School “Aftermath” 

25. SHPIK “Temple O”

Also check out (in no particular order):

Mike Allen “Just Like Magic”

Joel Miller “Unstoppable”

Florian Hoefner Trio “First Spring”

Mike Murley “Taking Flight”

TuneTown “There From Here”

Matt Choboter Band “Spillimacheen”

Trevor Giancola “Sonnet 18”

John Stetch “Black Sea Suite (Live)”

106 Collective Quartet (Adrean Farrugia, Chris Wallace, Luis Deniz, Roberto Occhipinti) “Surface”

Jazzlab Orchestra “Quintessence”

Four Visions Saxophone Quartet (Samuel Blais, Dave Liebman, David Binney & Donny McCaslin) “Four Visions”

Bria Skonberg “Nothing Never Happens”

Yannick Rieu “MachiNations”

Gordon Grdina Quartet “Cooper’s Park”

Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra “Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra”

Andres Vial “Gang of Three”

Kyle Hutchins Trio “You Sound Like Pine Trees”

Rafael Zaldivar “Consecration”

Jim Doxas “Homebound”

Brad Turner “Pacific”

Jim Brenan 11 “50/50”

Stephanie Urquhart “Concealment”

Andre Wickenheiser “A Happy Little Accident”

Carsten Rubeling “Volk // People”

The North “Plays the Music of Kenny Wheeler”

Thompson Egbo-Egbo “The Offering”

JV’s Boogaloo Squad “Going to Market”

Malleus Trio “Play Nice”

Dave Robbins Sextet “Joan of Art”

Ted Quinlan “Absolutely Dreaming”

Mike Allen Quartet “Celebrating Sonny Greenwich”

Kevin Dean “Sunset Trail”

Yves Leveille “Phare”

Carlos Jimenez Quintet “Don’t Fall”

Alex Fournier “Triio”

Dave Young “Lotus Blossom”

Mark Kelso Jazz Project “The Chronicles of Fezziwig"

Pat LaBarbera & Kirk MacDonald Quintet “Trane of Thought”

Heather Bambrick “Fine State”

P.J. Perry “This Quiet Room” (featuring Bill Mays)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Jochen Rueckert's Instructional Videos *UPDATE*

If you check out the sidebar of this blog, you'll notice the banner and link to Jochen Rueckert's series of instructional videos. These are really great and I highly recommend them.

Jochen has just informed me that he's having a 25% off sale until January 1st, 2020 so I would jump on that if I were you...Use "HOLIDAY SPECIAL" as the discount code.

This discount is also good for everything for sale on his website, including his four e-books.

You should also check out his new album Favours by his alter-ego Wolff Parkinson White:

Here's the link in case you are too lazy to click on the link on the side of the screen: https://www.jochenrueckert.net/#instructional-videos

And here is a breakdown of each episode by topic and content (descriptions provided by Rueckert himself!):

"The first episode focuses on improving your general time, swing feel, feathering the bass drum and some tips on playing fast.

The second episode contains pretty much everything I have to say about playing the brushes.

The third episode is a collection of things I hear people doing all wrong, over and over...

The fourth episode focuses on the way I like to practice improvising and soloing.

The fifth episode focuses on everything connected to touch and sound, including the ways I hold a stick, where I hit a cymbal, but also what cymbals and sticks I use, for example.

The sixth episode focuses on getting comfortable in odd meters like 5/4 and 7/4 as well as more composite time signatures, like 15/8.

The seventh episode offers some thoughts on how to interact in a band, some tips on playing in 2, and how to navigate original music.

The eighth episode outlines my general influences as a composer (especially besides jazz) and offers some thoughts about four of my songs from We Make the Rules including Alloplasty, Yellow Bottoms, Saul Goodman and Pretty From Afar.

The ninth episode focuses on background and analysis of four songs off my album Charm Offensive: Purring Excellence, 5-Hydroxytryptamine, Stretchmark, Charm Offensive, as well as Hayden Chisholm's arrangement of "Just friends" from my very first album Introduction.

The tenth episode focuses on answering the question : "Who are your greatest influences as a drummer?" I discuss all of the ones that made a big impact on me, especially when I was in my early 20's, try to explain why and also give listening examples. The email that you will get from the store will have a list of each drummer's records that I listened to a lot."

- Jochen Rueckert

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Victor Lewis "Blackfoot"

Check out this drum intro and up-tempo performance from the always dynamic Victor Lewis, featured here with Steve Turre, James Carter, George Cables and Buster Williams:

And here's a bonus, a full-length drum duet from 2004 featuring Victor Lewis and Andrew Cyrille:



Monday, December 16, 2019

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Seasons Greetings! Well, 2019 is quickly coming to an end and what a year it's been. Today's Monday Morning Paradiddle column will be the last one of the year. However, please visit back often over the next two weeks as blogging will continue with Tim Mah's highly popular year-end "Best of 2019" lists as well as other assorted interesting Jazz drumming items.

This year represents the 10th anniversary of Four on the Floor. Thank you for all of your continued support. Hey don't forget to follow and subscribe to my Instagram page!

Anyways, as always, here's a long list of interesting things to check out:

- Max Roach featured on Marian McPartland's NPR radio program Piano Jazz and also remembering Tony Williams from a 1997 Jazz Times article

- Jack DeJohnette interviewed by Jazz Weekly

- Ralph Peterson Jr. on the legacy of Art Blakey from Philadelphia's The Key

- Terri Lyne Carrington featured in the New York Times

- Thanks to Tim Mah for forwarding this profile on Nate Smith from Jazz Times magazine

- An article from DRUM! Magazine on the legacy of the Gretsch Progressive Jazz drum set

- Brooklyn's cymbal wizard Jesse Simpson interviewed on the Seancast Podcast

- And from the Contraption Podcast several interviews with many great drummers including the likes of  Stanton Moore, Ulysses Owens Jr.Ra Kalam Bob Moses, Ed Soph and Johnny Vidacovich

- A 1981 Modern Drummer article by Scott K. Fish on Ed Blackwell entitled "Singing on the Set"

- Allan Cox recently released Meet the Bass Player Vol.2a follow-up to his earlier and highly recommended play-a-long resource. Check it out here and then go practice!

- John Riley recently hipped me to Markus Leukel's unique drum book Grooves A to Z. There are lots of interesting patterns and grooves to check out here (download it for free!) Highly recommended.

And thanks to the kind people over at the Memphis Drum Shop, here's John demonstrating Zildjian's Swish Knocker ride/crash cymbal, designed with the great Mel Lewis in mind:

- Jerome Jennings interviewed by Neon Jazz on the heels of his excellent recent release Solidarity:

- Jamison Ross interviewed over at the Working Drummer podcast:

- Airto Moreira's tribute to Miles Davis

- Chicago's Dana Hall in some trio action with Clark Sommers on bass and Chris Madsen on tenor saxophone on Miles Davis' Little Willie Leaps:

- Jeff Ballard in some duo action with pianist Frank Woeste in the Libretto Dialogues:

- Some rare psychedelic double drum duet footage of Kenny Clarke and his big band compatriot Kenny Clare:

- What am I listening to these days?

Neil Caine "Backstabber's Ball" - Jason Marsalis (drums)

Jerome Jennings "Solidarity" - Jerome Jennings (drums)

Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera "Trane of Thought" - Joe LaBarbera (drums)

Gerry Gibbs "The Trasher Dream Trio" - Gerry Gibbs (drums)

Joe Lovano "Sounds of Joy" - Ed Blackwell (drums)

Alvin Fielder & Damon Smith "Song for Chico" - Alvin Fielder (drums)

- And today's Final Word goes to Ronan Guilfoyle from his own fine blog Mostly Music, with some sage advice in the form of a blog post entitled On Being a Jazz Student - The Big Picture (just click on the link above and take a read through....it's just too long to copy and paste here but it's a fine read!)

Well, that's all I've got today. Thanks again for your support, please come back soon and all the best in the year ahead.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Antonio Sanchez Speaks

I've been working on an interesting collaborative project lately, which will make its debut next year in 2020, along with choreographer Catherine Hayward and dancer Davida Monk. This cool project involves a score of solo drums & percussion (composed and provided by yours truly) paired along with a solo contemporary dancer.

I've gained a lot of inspiration and ideas from Antonio Sanchez's various solo projects, in particular his solo drum score to the movie Birdman. Fortunately for us, here's a pair of wonderful interviews in which Sanchez discusses his music, background and philosophy:

And this one is a re-post but there is so much GREAT information to gain here so here it is again!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Jeff Hamilton: REMO Sandlane Sessions

From a 2013 masterclass in the Netherlands with his trio (featuring the exceptionally musical talents of pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty) here's the great Jeff Hamilton demonstrating some important techniques on the drums and also sharing some very tried-and-true advice on playing the drums in a supportive and musical manner.

Follow this link for some background and further explanation. Check it out:

And I've posted this one before but I think it's really great (!) so please enjoy Jeff Hamilton's tribute to Ed Shaughnessy with this spectacular drum solo:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Mel Lewis Hilversum '85

Adam Nussbaum recently hipped me to this amazing and rare footage of Mel Lewis giving a drum workshop in the Netherlands, circa. 1985. Fortunately, this footage was also recently uploaded to the YouTube so we can all appreciate the knowledge and wisdom that Mel passed on to a classroom of Dutch drummers.

As always, when the Masters speak....we listen!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Jabali Speaks!

A wonderful interview with Jabali Billy Hart, in which he discusses a number of topics, recently recorded in the Netherlands:

As always, when the Masters speak...we listen!