Tuesday, July 6, 2021

<< Intermission Riff >>


I am taking a break from blogging and all things internet in general for awhile. Thanks again for all your continued support and I'll see you in a minute. 

In the meantime, don't forget to buy a limited edition Four on the Floor t-shirt. Hurry, while supplies last! (please e.mail me at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com)

Monday, July 5, 2021

Tim Mah's Guide to New Canadian Jazz Albums of 2021 (so far!)

Frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah returns once again today, this time offering his extensive mid-year list of music released by Canadian jazz artists, so far in 2021.

As you will see below there's already lots of great jazz music that has come out of Canada since December of last year.

Tim's weekly radio program Jazz Today can be heard on CJSW Radio 90.9 fm (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on Thursday mornings from 530-7am MST. It is also streamed on the CJSW website and available through Apple Podcasts.

New Music From Canadians in 2021 by Tim Mah

As we head into summer, you may be interested in spending some of your time listening to new music. There are many albums released every week. It can be overwhelming and challenging to sort through it all. Below is a list of thirty albums, released from December 2020 to May 2021, and led (or co-led) by Canadians. 

This list is in alphabetical order and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all of the new releases from Canadians over this time frame. Rather, it is a starting point for readers to learn more about what is happening in the Canadian music scene. 

Amanda Tosoff “Earth Voices”

Andres Vial “When is Ancient?”

Anna Webber “Idiom"

BLOOP (Lina Allemano & Mike Smith) “Proof”

BPM Trio (Phil Dwyer, Ben Dwyer & Mark Adam) “Audi Alteram Partem (Live)”

Carl Mayotte “Pop de Ville, Vol. 1"

CODE Quartet (Christine Jensen, Lex French, Adrian Vedady & Jim Doxas) “Genealogy”

Dan McCarthy (with Thomas Morgan & Rudy Royston) “A Place Where We Once Lived”

Dan Pitt Quintet “Wrongs”

David Restivo Trio “Arancina”

Emily Steinwall “Welcome to the Garden”

Erin Propp & Larry Roy “We Want All The Same Things”

Evan Arntzen “Countermelody”

Francois Bourassa “L’impact du silence”

James Danderfer & Quincy Davis “All The Flowers” (feat. Oliver Gannon, Brad Turner & Karl Kohut) 

Jesse Ryan “Bridges"

Jessica Ackerley “Morning / mourning”

Jester Champwick (Curtis Nowosad & Joel Visentin) “Homework”

Kevin Dean “Going Down Slow”

L’abime (Hugo Blouin, Alex Dodier, Gabriel Genest, Jean-Philippe Godbout & Jonathan Turgeon) “L’abime”

Lara Solnicki “The One and the Other”

Lina Allemano Four “Vegetables” (feat. Brodie West, Andrew Downing & Nick Fraser)

Lorne Lofsky “This Song is New”

Mark Eisenman “Jazz Classics” (feat. Steve Wallace & John Sumner)

Mireille Boily “Refuges Mouvants” 

Misc. (Jerome Beaulieu, Simon Page & William Cote) “Partager l’ambulance"

Sam Wilson “Into a Heart, Part Two”

Sarah Jerrom “Dream Logic” (feat. Harley Card, Rob McBride & Jeff Luciani)

See Through 4 (Pete Johnston, Lina Allemano, Michael Davidson & Jake Oelrichs) “Permanent Moving Parts”

TuneTown (Kelly Jefferson, Artie Roth & Ernesto Cervini) “Entering Utopia” 


Below are some videos from a selection of the above artists: 

Amanda Tosoff “Sonnet 49 (featuring Robin Dann)” (music: Luciana Souza; words: Pablo Neruda)


CODE Quartet “Watching It All Slip Away” (written by Adrian Vedady)


The full album of Emily Steinwall’s “Welcome to the Garden” (written by Emily Steinwall)


Evan Arntzen “Muskrat Ramble (feat. Catherine Russell)” (written by Kid Ory)

Jesse Ryan’s online release of the album “Bridges” (written by Jesse Ryan)


Lina Allemano Four “Brussel Sprouts, Maybe Cabbage (Alternate Take)” (written by Lina Allemano)


Sam Wilson “Southern Limbo” (written by Samantha Wilson)


TuneTown “Billyish” (music written by Ernesto Cervini)

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - June 2021

I'm taking a break!

Thanks for tuning in and after this week I'll be taking a break from blogging, Instagramming, Facebooking, interviewing jazz drummers and all things social media in general over the summer.

Next Monday, frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah (host of Jazz Today heard on CJSW 90.9 fm on Thursday mornings from 5:30 - 7:30am) will be contributing his excellent and informed list of significant Canadian jazz releases from the first half of the year 2021.

My sincerest thanks to everyone who has been tuning into to my weekly Tuesday evening talk show Four on the Floor *Live* happening on Instagram IGTV. When I started this experiment back in mid-December I thought this would only last two or three weeks (!) but it really turned into a thing.

I am very grateful to all the great people who took time to speak with me and make this the unique series that it's quickly become. I've sure learned a lot from this experience and hope you have as well.

Special thanks to:

Chad Anderson
Christopher Smith
Tim Mah
Adam Nussbaum
Joe LaBarbera
Geoff Clapp
Dave Laing
Quincy Davis
Ted Warren
Patrick Boyle
Francisco Mela
Jason Marsalis
Matt Wilson
Curtis Nowosad
Ulysses Owens Jr.
Mareike Wiening
Carl Allen
Allison Miller
Colleen Clark
Joe Farnsworth
Jon Gordon
Colin Stranahan
George Sluppick
Johnathan Blake
Jerome Jennings
Lewis Nash
George Fludas
Adonis Rose

And thank you to all of you who have tuned in every week to watch. You know who you are!

Please join me for the final episode of Four on the Floor *Live* of the season happening tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Justin Faulkner! 

The classic black Four on the Floor t-shirts are back in stock and once again available!

These shirts are available in small, medium, large and x-large sizes and are lightweight premium fitted 100% cotton tees.

The shirts are $30 each (+shipping)

If you are interested in purchasing one, please drop me a line asap at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com and I'll set you up right away.

Half of my stock is already gone (!) and last time these went pretty quickly so don't delay and order today while supplies last!

Alright, now on to the good stuff. Since I'll be gone over the next couple of months, here's a plethora of great things to check out:

1) Thank you Ted Warren, author of the blog Trap'd for these timely expansions and variations of a 4-way coordination exercise that I shared on my blog last week

2) Ireland's Ronan Guilfoyle shares this fantastic interview with tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, speaking about his experience playing with Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich:


3) A radio broadcast of Max Roach and the Uptown String Quartet circa. 1994 from the archives of New Sounds from New York Public Radio

4) A feature on Joe Chambers from uDiscoverMusic.

5) Han Bennink interviewed by Ken Vandermark from Option Talk Music and the Experimental Sound Studio:


6) Rodney Green interviews Marvin "Smitty" Smith:


7) John Ramsay speaks about the legacy of Alan Dawson on the Drum History Podcast:

And here is a fantastic clip of Mr. Dawson in action with Dave Brubeck, featured on Paul Desmond's hit Take Five:

8) Edu Ribeiro interviews Billy Hart in the final instalment of his amazing weekly interview series from Open Studio:

9) Ulysses Owens Jr. is now hosting The Drummer's Perspective through Open Studio and this includes interviews with Lewis Nash:


...and Herlin Riley:

Owens also recently released an important new book entitled The Musician's Career Guide: Turning Your Talent into Sustained Success.

Here is a preview of his latest book:


Oh yes, Ulysses also has a great method book on brush playing that came out last year. Study it, practice hard and maybe you'll be lucky enough to play like this: 


10) Lewis Nash was kind enough to share this incredible Zoom session with Christian McBride in which they listen to and reminisce about recordings they have played on together over the past 30+ years:

This is incredible!

11) Quincy Davis is still turning out incredible, regular content through his ongoing Q-Tips series on YouTube. I tell all my students to check these out and so should you:


11) I've really been enjoying pianist Emmet Cohen's ongoing series of live-stream concerts with the always swinging Kyle Poole on drums. 

Here's a couple of recent ones from a concert featuring the great Joe Lovano:


12) Zakir Hussain and the Masters of Percussion featuring Marcus Gilmore on drums:


...and here's Marcus Gilmore's recent interview with Pablo Held: 


13) This one has been making the rounds for a while now but a recent IG live from Dan Weiss prompted me to revisit this amazing footage of Pat Metheny, recorded at L'Air du Temps in Montreal circa. 1988, featuring Rakalam Bob Moses on All the Things You Are:

14) What am I listening to these days?

Miles Davis "In Person, Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk" - Jimmy Cobb (drums)

Johnathan Blake "Gone But Not Forgotten" - Johnathan Blake (drums)

Jeff "Tain" Watts "Watts" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

Joe Magnarelli "If You Could See Me Now" - George Fludas (drums)

Adonis Rose "Song for Donise" - Adonis Rose (drums)

Dr. Lonnie Smith "Live at Club Mozambique" - Joe Dukes (drums)

Lou Donaldson "Alligator Boogaloo" - Leo Morris (drums)

Avishai Cohen "Gently Disturbed" - Mark Guiliana (drums)

Phil Dwyer & Don Thompson "Look for the Silver Lining" 

15) And today's Final Word comes in the form of this inspiring quote from Twyla Tharp (via Matt Wilson):

"When you're in a groove, you're not spinning your wheels; you're moving forward in a straight and narrow path with pauses or hitches. You're unwavering, undeviating, and unparalleled in your purpose. A groove is the best place in the world. Because when you are in it, you have the freedom to explore, where everything you question leads you to new avenues and new routes."

- Twyla Tharp, renown choreographer

Well, that's all for today.

Thanks again to all of you for reading my blog and for all your support over the years.

Okay that's all I've got for now and see you in the fall. 

In the meantime stay safe, stay healthy and keep it real.

Onwards & Upwards.

Jon McCaslin 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Justin Faulkner

Please join us for the final episode of Four on the Floor *Live* of the season (!) happening next Tuesday, June 29th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Justin Faulkner!

Philadelphia native, drummer, educator and philanthropist, Justin Faulkner has cultivated a sound that invites, entertains, informs and heals.

Throughout his career, Faulkner has shared the stage with musical luminaries like Kenny Barron, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Peter Nero, Jimmy Heath, Orrin Evans, Ornette Coleman, Sean Jones, Tim Warfield, Bernard Purdie, Pharoah Saunders, Terence Blanchard, Mingus Big Band/Dynasty/Orchestra, Bootsie Barnes, Jacky Terrasson, Terrence Howard, Bilal, Christian McBride and continues to be the drummer of choice for numerous others.

Justin's training began at the Girard Academic High School Music Program (GAMP). His formal education, starting at age 7, included studying classical percussion with Susan Jones, jazz drums and percussion with Samuel Ruttenberg at the Settlement Music School. Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble and Choral Ensemble education at the Kimmel Center created a new understanding of community and the creative ecosystem. The Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts provided freedom of expression for a young musician to find his way. Principal Timpanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Don Liuzzi, cultivated the detail-oriented nature that is necessary to craft the full musical experiences Faulkner presents.

Justin, as a child prodigy, entered the jazz scene at the tender age of 13, playing his first professional gig with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma of Ornette Coleman's band Primetime. In the coming years, his apprenticeships with Orrin Evans, J.D. Walter, Boris Kozlov, Bootsie Barnes, Denise King, Michelle Beckham, and The Charles Mingus Big Band would shape the still teenager into a gentleman entering the scene elegantly and with a presence.

On March 19, 2009, his 18th birthday, Faulkner started his tenure with the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Since then, Faulkner has toured the world extensively for the last 11 years. The musical expedition has included performances at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Michener Museum (Doylestown, PA), The Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Jazz at Lincoln Center( New York City), The Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), The Blue Note Jazz Club (Tokyo, Japan), Royal Opera House (Muscat, Oman), Vienna Konzerthaus (Vienna, Austria), and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands), to name a few.

Entrepreneurship and education have always been driving forces in Faulkner's life. Passion for community building and revitalization is the framework of his ethos. In 2015, these dimensions, his business partners Carol Faulkner and Nazir Ebo, joined forces to create The Community Unity Music Festival. This festival is a family philanthropic endeavor that creates music education opportunities for young people in the Philadelphia area. The mantra, "Put down the guns and pick up an instrument," changed the scope through which his family viewed the current gun violence problem in Philadelphia. Directly affected by this terror, losing two cousins, the family felt there was a responsibility to intervene. "Free music lessons, free instruments, and free interactive concerts with the elite musicians of the world are just starting points to creating social change and hope in our community. These opportunities will provide an alternative, build character, create intellectual liberation, and inspire generations to come". The festival additionally offers job opportunities for the community.

In addition to the festival, in 2019, Faulkner joined the faculty of Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance. This appointment has provided an opportunity to create a strong bond with today's youth and their understanding of the historical, sonic, and pedagogical foundation of jazz.

Faulkner is grateful for every opportunity he has to share his gift of music with the world. As a conscientious student of music, Justin asserts that prayer, spiritual reflection, and focused practice are the centers of his life progress. He aims to achieve selflessness in his approach as he recognizes it is not about him; it's about the music. "God gives us gifts and talents. Nurturing and development of those talents are the accompanying responsibilities. Then, the magic starts when its time to curate a collection of narratives that inform, inspire, and leave the listener wanting more."

Monday, June 21, 2021

Four (on the floor) Way Coordination

Here's a coordination exercise and some variations that I recently came up with and have been practicing lately. These were inspired by my ongoing lessons with John Riley, a Max Roach exercise that Joe Farnsworth recently shared in a Zoom masterclass sometime ago and some challenging 12/8 exercises from Colin Stranahan's excellent My Music Masterclass series (found here).

All these examples have really challenged my approach to dealing with four-way coordination on the drum set. Needless to say, these have also really taken me out of my comfort zone (always a good thing!) I've quickly discovered several deficiencies in my drumming from a coordination perspective, so it's all been a real learning experience for me (and overall a real kick in the pants!)

Anyways, the goal of the exercise that I've come up (in the spirit of the others I've already mentioned) is to achieve a relaxed sense of flow, unity and balance on the drum set while also exploring some different four-way coordination combinations.

A couple of notes before we begin:

• I've written this exercise in 6/4 however...

1) It should really be felt in 4/4 as an over-the-barline phrase

2) The 8th notes should all be swung and interpreted with a triplet feel (make sure to play it slow enough so that you can really feel the triplet subdivision)

Okay, so here's how it works:

• The Right hand plays the standard ride cymbal pattern

• The Left hand plays continuous dotted quarter notes on the snare drum (see below):

• Work through the following six triplet variations, played between the bass drum and hi-hat, while playing the Right and Left hand combination from above (repeat each one many times until you get a sense of flow going):

• Each rhythmic cell is played 6 times per measure of 6/4 (or one cell for each beat)


• The Right hand plays the ride cymbal pattern (as before)

• Play continuous dotted quarter notes with either the bass drum or hi-hat (!)

• Play the six triplet variations above accordingly, either between the snare drum (left hand) and hi-hat or snare drum (left hand) and bass drum

If you're like me you'll probably rush the hell out of the dotted quarter notes, so practice it slow and concentrate!

• Always remember...

Take it slow.

Relax and remember to breath.

Make it swing!

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Four on the Floor t-shirts are back!

"The guys get shirts. That's just the way it is." - Paul Anka

The classic black Four on the Floor t-shirts are back in stock and once again available!

These shirts are available in small, medium, large and x-large sizes and are lightweight premium fitted 100% cotton tees.

The shirts are $30 each (+shipping)

If you are interested in purchasing one, please drop me a line asap at fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com or reach me through Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and I'll set you up right away.

Last time these went pretty quickly so don't delay and order today while supplies last!

Adam Nussbaum has his own t-shirt and so can you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Adonis Rose

Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, June 22nd at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Adonis Rose.

Adonis Rose is a Grammy-award winning artist, composer, educator, and producer from the city of New Orleans, LA. He has played and recorded with the biggest names in Jazz, including Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis, and has performed on the most renowned stages in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Olympia in Paris, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria, Birdland, Apollo Theater, Newport Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, to name a few. Rose has over fifty recordings to his credit (five as a leader), including six with longtime friend, trumpeter Nicholas Payton. In 2010, he won a Grammy Award with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra for Best Large Ensemble.

In January 2017, Rose was named the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) and led the eighteen-piece orchestra to its first concert season in October of that year that featured world-renowned artists Sheila E, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Slick Rick, and Eric Benet. He has been instrumental in the organization's success by developing educational and community programs, leading performances, and developing partnerships associated with The Jazz Market, a 350-seat performance venue in the New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood which is home to the orchestra. Prior to his role at NOJO, Rose served as the Artist in Residence at the University of Texas Arlington and Cadillac’s Jazz by the Boulevard Festival, produced the Keller Jazz in June series, and founded the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra, a 501c(3) non-profit organization.

In 2019, Rose produced NOJO's most recent recording Songs: the music of Allen Toussaint on the legendary Storyville Records imprint, which received rave reviews. He is currently working on several new recordings with the orchestra and his own ensembles and continues to tour, perform, and produce a range of projects.

Monday, June 14, 2021


Congratulations to Ben Reimer, Montreal's Architek Percussion and all the people behind the scenes with Suoni Per Il Popolo who presented the inaugural UnDrum Festival featuring Ian Chang, Susie Iberra, Glenn Kotche, Architek Percussion, Nicole Lizée, Jessie Cox, Islem Ben Fraj, Camille Renarhd, Greg Harrison, Mili Hong, Michel Langevin, Germaine Liu, Susanna Hood and Jason Tait.

Here's both performance streams from June 6th and 13th to check out:

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring George Fludas


Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, June 15th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring George Fludas.


Chicago drummer George Fludas was born in Chicago on October 10, 1966. He was inspired to play drums by his father, who was also a drummer, and who exposed him to great jazz drummers such as Art Blakey, Max Roach, and "Philly" Joe Jones.

Adept, with a pulse of swinging ease. Nate Chinen - New York Times

He attended Lane Tech High School where he majored in music and played percussion in their concert band and orchestra. After briefly attending Roosevelt University's music school in 1985-86, he began freelancing with Chicago greats Von Freeman, Jodie Christian and Lin Halliday, as well as playing in groups with guitarist Bobby Broom, and saxophonists Ron Blake and Eric Alexander. He has subsequently played with many stellar musicians such as Ira Sullivan, Buddy Montgomery, Lou Donaldson, Frank Wess, Kenny Burrell, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Benny Green, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Diana Krall, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Junior Cook, Slide Hampton, and Bobby Hutcherson.

George Fludas is one of the greatest drummers ever to come out of Chicago, an impeccable swinger with imagination, class, moxie, and a clear sense of the full span of jazz tradition. John Corbett - The Chicago Reader

George has performed at numerous jazz venues in the U.S. such as the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Yoshi’s in Oakland, the Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Smoke and the Jazz Standard in New York and Catalina's in Hollywood, as well as many international Jazz Festivals, including Montreal Festival du Jazz, Bern Jazz Fest in Switzerland, Glasgow and Edinburgh Jazz Fests, Vitoria Jazz Fest, San Sebastian Fest in Spain and the USS Norway Jazz Cruise. He toured Europe and Japan extensively as a member of Ray Brown's Trio, and with groups led by Hank Jones, Diana Krall, Monty Alexander, Cedar Walton and Joey Defrancesco.

Fludas brings a combination of focused swing, and sensitivity. Mark Stryker - Detroit Free Press

George lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons and performs regularly with local artists and visiting headliners at clubs and concert venues throughout the city. He continues to tour often with many of the top names in jazz. He can be heard on numerous CDs as a sideman with Ray Brown, Eric Alexander, Monty Alexander, Kyle Asche, Geof Bradfield, Scott Burns, Bobby Broom, Lin Halliday and The Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

George Fludas has powered bands large and small with a razor sharp technique and relentless rhythmic drive… a swing master. Howard Reich - Chicago Tribune

Monday, June 7, 2021

Ethan Iverson Interviews Jeff "Tain" Watts

This one's been making the rounds of social media lately (and for good reason!) so be sure to check out Ethan Iverson's excellent interview with Jeff "Tain" Watts here.


And here's a couple of older interviews with Tain that I've shared before:

Friday, June 4, 2021

2021 MSM Virtual Percussion Summit II


John Riley asked me to share this and I think it looks really amazing.

For more information visit: www.msmnyc.edu/PercussionSummit

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Lewis Nash

Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, June 8th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Lewis Nash!

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Lewis developed an early interest in music and began playing drums at age 10. By age 18, he was performing with local jazz groups. By the time he was 21, Nash had become the “first call” jazz drummer in Phoenix, working with Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Red Garland, Lee Konitz, Barney Kessell and Slide Hampton during their engagements in the city.

In 1981, Nash moved to New York City and joined the trio of the great jazz vocalist Betty Carter. For nearly four years, he toured internationally with Ms. Carter. He is featured on three of her recordings, including the Grammy winning “Look What I Got.”

World-renowned bassist Ron Carter hired Nash in 1984. As a member Carter’s nonet, quintet and quartet, Nash toured extensively and is featured on several of the bassist’s recordings.

In the fall of 1986, saxophonist Branford Marsalis asked Lewis to join his quartet. That active association spanned two years and several continents, and is documented on Marsalis’ Grammy nominated recording “Random Abstract”, as well as two videos: Royal Garden Blues (directed by Spike Lee) and “Branford Marsalis - Steep”.

1988 marked the return to the jazz scene of trombone master J.J. Johnson. Johnson frequently asked Lewis to provide rhythm duties for his band. That same year, Nash joined the Don Pullen/George Adams quartet, succeeding the late Dannie Richmond. 1989 proved to be an even busier year for Lewis, touring with legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins. He also performed with Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Clark Terry and Milt Jackson.

From 1990 to 2000, Lewis was a member of the Tommy Flanagan Trio, and is featured on seven CD recordings with the late piano master. During this period, Nash also toured and recorded with both the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. His impressive discography (over 300 recordings) includes projects with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Benny Carter, Hank Jones and John Lewis, as well as new jazz stars Diana Krall, Joe Lovano and Roy Hargrove. Demonstrating his stylistic diversity, Nash is also featured on recordings by Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Rankin, Melissa Manchester and George Michael.

Lewis has become a sought after jazz educator. His lectures, clinics and workshops are as much in demand as his bandstand and studio work. Lewis Nash: Rhythm is indeed his business!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Louis Hayes!

For those of you who missed it, Kenny Washington is now posting on Instagram (!) and he broadcast an inspiring and informative Instagram Live session last Saturday afternoon (check it out as I believe it is archived). I really hope he does more of these!

Someone asked Washington about his approach to playing uptempos and, of course, Louis Hayes' name came up (and as Kenny recommended, check out Hayes' drumming on "Easy to Love" from Cannonball Adderley's album Nippon Soul). 


It's also Louis Hayes' birthday today (!) so I thought I would share some great footage and a pair of interviews with the Master himself:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Jerome Jennings

Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, June 1st at 7pm MST (9pm EST), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Jerome Jennings.


Jerome Jennings is a drummer, activist, bandleader, composer, sideman and educator. His debut recording ‘The Beast’ is a reflection of the every day joys and traumas of black life in the U.S. It was named one of the top three Jazz releases by NPR, received a four star rating in Downbeat Magazine, and was nominated for the prestigious French ‘Grand Prix du Disque’ award for Album of the Year in 2016. Jerome’s sophomore recording, ‘Solidarity’, released November 2019 was recognized by NPR as best music that spoke truth to power of 2019.

Jerome is a pertinent performer. To date Jerome has performed, toured and recorded with legendary musicians like Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Gerald Wilson, Christian McBride, Ron Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis (J@LC), The Count Basie Orchestra, Philip Bailey, Henry Butler, and countless others. He has also made recordings and shared the stage with contemporary musicians Sean Jones, Camille Thurman, Jazzmeia Horn, Christian Sands, Charenee Wade, and Bokani Dyer to name a few.

The summer of 2007 Jerome earned a MM from the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan NY. Jerome has been the Resident Director of The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra since fall 2017. He passed Jazz At Lincoln Centers Swing University 301 history course: The most comprehensive study of jazz from a non-performance perspective, available. Jazz At Lincoln Center has Jerome Jennings on file as an accredited jazz scholar.

Jerome has participated on several panels including Chamber Music America: Music, Language, and Revolution; Lincoln Center: Freedom’s State of Mind; Winter Jazz Festival: Jazz & Gender: A Discussion Of Community, Culture & Participatory Allies. Fall 2020, Jerome co-curated with Naomi Extra, a series of panels, performances and discussions at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem entitled ‘Jazz in The Era of Black Lives Matter.’

Currently, Jerome is keeping busy teaching, conducting clinics and educational youth out reach nationally and internationally. He is one of the most successful in the field of Black American music education. Jerome has been artist in residence, and have lectured at dozens of Universities, Academy’s, and Camps nationally and internationally including UNC Greensboro, John Hopkins Peabody Institute, Rutgers University, The Juilliard School, Jazz Music Institute (Brisbane, AU), Sydney Conservatory of Music, Xavier College (Melbourne, AU), The Ohio State University, Aspen Colorado, Brigham Young University, University Of Ghana - Legon School Of Performing Arts, Rockport Jazz Workshop, and the Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota Colombia) and The National Taiwan University of The Arts.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - May 2021

And...we're back.

Thanks for checking in and there's no lack of interesting things to share with you all in this month's action packed variety column.

If you like what you are seeing here, please consider subscribing to my mailing list. Just click on the subscription box to the right side of the page. Don't miss out and sign up today to receive regular Four on the Floor updates straight to your inbox!

Thanks again to everyone who has been tuning into my ongoing, weekly Instagram interview series Four on the Floor *Live* happening every Tuesday evening. It's been really exciting to speak with and learn from all the artists who have generously taken time to speak with me.

Thank you for all for your ongoing support.

Please tune in tomorrow Tuesday, May 25th at 7pm mountain (9pm eastern) on Instagram IGTV @fouronthefloorblog for my interview with Johnathan Blake!

Alrighty, here's what's on the docket for this month's column:

1) Myself, Ted Warren of Trap'd and Todd Bishop of Cruiseship Drummer! (aka The Three Bloggers) offer another edition of our ongoing collaborative blog series, this time offering our individual thoughts on the concept of technique:

2) Benny Golson speaks about his experience playing with Art Blakey

3) Terri Lyne Carrington interviewed on CBC's Q by host Tom Power

4) A wonderful article on Listening Fast and Hearing Long by Toronto bassist Steve Wallace from Whole Note magazine

5) Check out Adam Osmianski's page That Drum Blog with several wonderful variations on an Elvin Jones coordination exercise that I shared right here on Four on the Floor many years ago Part 1 Part 2

6) An interview with Lewis Nash:

7) A tribute to Albert "Tootie" Heath, recently named a 2021 NEA Jazz Master:


8) Buddy Rich interviewed by the BBC circa. 1967:


9) Master Drummer Jabali Billy Hart celebrated by Western Michigan University:


10) Open Studio's Edu Ribeiro interviews Matt Wilson:


11) Alvin Atkinson offers some tangible concepts on trading fours from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Academy:


12) Steve Fidyk with two brush pieces and some great concepts to share:


13) Another instalment of Quincy Davis's incredible, ongoing Q-Tips YouTube series:

Make sure to check out Quincy's excellent ongoing interview series Drummer 2 Drummer found on Instagram @qdjazz. I always learn something whenever I tune in!

And be sure to take a listen to Nick Ruffini's interview with Quincy Davis over at the Drummer's Resource Podcast

14) John Riley with an introduction to the Art of Bop Drumming in a segment brought to us by the nice people at the Avedis Zildjian Company:

15) Billy Martin presented by Brooklyn Raga Massive and hosted by Daniel Freeman:

16) The Experimental Sound Studio and Option Talks Music presents Hamid Drake:


17) Newvelle Records presents the duo of Allison Miller on drums with Carmen Staaf on piano:


18) A creative percussion solo from Trilok Gurtu:


19) Jack DeJohnette (the pianist this time!) offers this composition "Ode to Satie":


20) What am I listening to these days?

Willie Jones III "Forgotten Heroes" - Willie Jones III (drums)

Lonnie Smith "Live at Club Mozambique" - Joe Dukes (drums)

Lou Donaldson "Alligator Boogaloo" - Leo Morris (drums)

Stan Kenton "Contemporary Concepts" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Hank Jones "The Oracle" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Kenny Barron & Dave Holland "The Art of Conversation"

21) And today's Final Word goes to Nadia Boulanger:

"To study music, we must learn the rules. To make music, we must learn to break them."

- Nadia Boulanger

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Johnathan Blake


Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, May 25th at 7pm MST (9pm EST), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Johnathan Blake!

Johnathan Blake, one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, has also proven himself a complete and endlessly versatile musician — "the ultimate modernist," as John Murph of NPR has dubbed him. Blake's gift for composition and band leading reflects years of live and studio experience across the aesthetic spectrum.

Through years-long memberships in the Tom Harrell Quintet, the Kenny Barron Trio and other top ensembles, Blake has reaped the benefits of prolonged exposure to the greats of our time — arguably of all time. Through his powerful, evocative drumming and fully rounded artistry, he's also left a huge imprint on the music of such rising figures in jazz as Hans Glawischnig, Alex Sipiagin, Donny McCaslin, Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Patrick Cornelius, Michael Janisch, Shauli Einav, Jaleel Shaw and more. To date, Blake has appeared on over 50 albums.

Born in Philadelphia in 1976, Johnathan Blake is the son of renowned jazz violinist John Blake, Jr. — himself a stylistic chameleon and an important ongoing influence. After beginning on drums at age 10, Johnathan gained his first performing experience with the Lovett Hines Youth Ensemble, led by the renowned Philly jazz educator. It was during this period, at Hines's urging, that Blake began to compose his own music. Later he worked with saxophonist Robert Landham in a youth jazz ensemble at Settlement Music School.

Blake graduated from George Washington High School and went on to attend the highly respected jazz program at William Paterson University, where he studied with Rufus Reid, John Riley, Steve Wilson and Horace Arnold. At this time Blake also began working professionally with the Oliver Lake Big Band, Roy Hargrove and David Sanchez. In 2006 he was recognized with an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and in 2007 he earned his Masters from Rutgers University, focusing on composition. He studied with the likes of Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig and Stanley Cowell.

Deeply aware of Philadelphia's role as a historical nerve center of American music, Blake has immersed himself in the city's storied legacy — not just jazz but also soul, R&B and hip-hop. In many ways he's an heir to Philadelphia drum masters such as Philly Joe Jones, Bobby Durham, Mickey Roker and Edgar Bateman, not to mention younger mentors including Byron Landham, Leon Jordan and Ralph Peterson, Jr. Today Blake is himself an exponent of the Philadelphia sound, described by Aidan Levy of JazzTimes in a review of his debut album, The Eleventh Hour as “the vertiginous sensation of being both slightly behind the beat and hurtling into the next measure.”

Approaches like this, one might add, can only be learned by sitting at Mickey Roker's right hand and absorbing exactly how the ride cymbal is struck. Such is the painstaking firsthand exploration that undergirds and informs Blake's musicianship.

Blake's playing helped the Mingus Big Band land Grammy nominations for the albums Tonight at Noon (2002) and I Am Three (2005). It has also earned Blake spots in groups led by Russell Malone, Randy Brecker, Joe Locke, Ronnie Cuber and other seasoned jazz veterans. As trumpet great Brian Lynch has said “Johnathan Blake is without peer among young drummers for the clarity of his beat and the incisiveness of his swing.”

Monday, May 17, 2021

UnDrum Festival - Suoni Per Il Popolo

I'm pretty stoked about this upcoming solo drum/percussion and multi-disciplinary festival happening in Montreal this coming June 6th and 13th.

Montreal's Architek Percussion ensemble and Suoni Per Il Popolo are presenting the inaugural UnDrum Festival featuring a diverse range of compelling artists including Ian Chang, Susie Iberra, Glenn Kotche, Architek Percussion, Nicole Lizée, Jessie Cox, Islem Ben Fraj, Camille Renarhd, Greg Harrison, Mili Hong, Michel Langevin, Germaine Liu, Susanna Hood and Jason Tait.

Both perforance dates will be streamed live at www.suoniperilpopolo.org

I've been considering and designing my own solo works for drum set lately so I'm really curious and excited to see what these artists will be offering. I'm sure it's all going to be really great.

Here's a couple of cool clips of Susie Ibarra, Glenn Kotche and Ian Chang who will all be presenting solo works during the UnDrum festival:

Architek Percussion and Suoni Per Il Popolo are pleased to present the inaugural UnDrum Festival, streaming live in June 2021.  UnDrum Festival features artists who are undoing our conception of the drum solo and expanding the meaning of being a drummer. Each artist uniquely approaches the drumkit by going beyond its traditional roles in popular music. Performances include free improvisation, contemporary dance collaboration, field recordings, electronics, avant-garde composition, and much more. Headlining artists include Glenn Kotche (drummer for Wilco, composer), Susie Ibarra (percussionist, improviser, composer), and Ian Chang (drummer for Son Lux, electronic artist), rounded out by an eclectic and diverse artist lineup. UnDrum will stream live June 6 and 13, 2021 and thereafter be available on demand via Suoni Télé-TV.

For more information visit: www.architekpercussion.com

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring George Sluppick

Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Tuesday, May 18th at 7pm MST (9pm EST), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring George Sluppick!


George Sluppick is an American drummer born in Memphis, Tennessee, specializing in blues, funk, soul and R&B music. In 1986, he graduated from Overton, a prestigious creative & performing arts high school, where he studied music theory, sang 2nd tenor in the concert choir and played drums for their award-winning gospel choir. Growing up in Memphis, he shared the stage with many legends, including BB King and Rufus Thomas and just one year after his high school graduation, he went on the road with blues guitarist, Albert King, which opened many doors allowing him to become a full-time musician. George was 19 years old.

He moved to San Diego, California in 1991 and quickly became a major player in the local music scene, which included a two-year gig drumming with 50’s revivalists, Sha Na Na, touring the U.S. and Japan. During their second Japanese tour, they recorded a live album which he is featured, titled Sha Na Na: Live in Japan, (Sony). In late ’99, he began touring with Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, which lasted for three years and he is featured on Giving up the Ghost, (Magnatude). In 2003, he began drumming with North Florida’s MOFRO with whom he spent nearly five years touring the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia and is featured on three of their albums: Blackwater, Lochloosa and Country Ghetto (Alligator).

Between 2006-2010, he toured and recorded with Memphis soul-jazz trio The City Champs, releasing two studio albums, The Safecracker and The Set-up (Electraphonic). In 2006, he teamed with soul singer Ruthie Foster to record her critically acclaimed CD, The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster, (Blue Corn) produced by Malcolm “Papa Mali” Welbourne. In the spring of 2008 George helped score the film, Gospel Hill alongside Memphis producer, Scott Bomar.

Chris Robinson, lead singer for the Black Crowes was given a vinyl copy of The City Champs, The Set-Up and called George, asking him to come to Los Angeles to play with his new solo project, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Leaving Memphis for the second time and making the journey west, he joined the band and toured with the CRB from March of 2011 till January of 2015. During this time, the band recorded three studio albums…Big Moon Ritual, The Magic Door and Phosphorescent Harvest (Silver Arrow), as well as two live albums, Betty’s Blends, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Silver Arrow).

George moved back to Memphis in November of 2016 and is currently keeping an active schedule, gigging, recording & teaching.