Monday, October 11, 2021

Different Paths with Ed Soph and Steve Houghton

Chris Smith, author of The Jazz Drum Hang took the time to produce this extensive series of interviews with Ed Soph and Steve Houghton, two very important and prolific drum set teachers. This is an incredible resource and I encourage anyone who is interested in teaching drums to check this out.

Here is what Chris had to say about this project:

These interviews revolve around indepth essays that Ed and Steve wrote about their backgrounds, influences, teaching styles, suggested listening, common problems on the drumset, and how to become a serious player. 

A treasure trove of information that is free for you and available at the Google link below:


This project is about two friends (Ed Soph and Steve Houghton) both highly regarded drumset teachers, players, and authors, who recently retired from teaching. What became clear after numerous personal discussions was that education, as well as early and ongoing musical experiences shaped their teaching methods and lesson content, creating a very wide menu of drumming ideas and musical concepts. The common thread of course was always jazz drumming.

For further information from Ed and Steve follow the links below:

Featured Tracks

• (Steve Houghton) Steve Allee: Three Hip Mice 

• (Ed Soph) Joe LoCascio Trio: The Days Run Away  https://youtu.be/OUGI4TriqlI

• (Ed Soph) Woody Herman: Be-Bop and Roses 

• Steve Houghton Trio: A Beautiful Friendship https://youtu.be/YO1kyQII0Mg

More From Steve Houghton: 

• Website: https://www.houghtonmusic.com/

• With Lyle Mays: 

• Interview: The Happy Musicians Podcast 

• Vic Firth Education Series 


Hannah Johnson - Part I: Backstories and History 

Tanner Guss - Part II: Influences 

Chris Smith - Part III: Teaching

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - October 2021

And...we're back!

Now that October is upon us I hope that everyone is well into their Fall routine. Things obviously haven't quite returned to "normal" yet (!) but I think it's important to, as Clark Terry used to say, "Keep on Keepin' on."

This is the first Monday Morning Paradiddle column in awhile now (since last June in fact!) but I enjoyed a nice break over the summer. Here is today's collection of interesting things to check out.

But first a few updates from our sponsors:

Falk Willis continues to offer great, regular content through his wonderful site Jazz Heaven.

Here's what Falk has to say:

Because of drums not really coming across well sonically during our weekly live masterclasses, which we ran for over 2 years now (over 100 at this point and with no end in sight) we sadly hardly did any live masterclasses with drummers, but with lots of other fantastic Masters from Fred Hersch to Gary Thomas and many, many more. The exception being one with Richie Barshay on Alexander Technique for Musicians (he also played some drums). 

And...one with Bill Stewart, Larry Goldings & Peter Bernstein that was great, informative and, you guessed it, at times very funny! We just released the recording of this live masterclass:
LARRY GOLDINGS, PETER BERNSTEIN & BILL STEWART: Ask Them Anything! JazzHeaven.com/gbs (There is a 3-day free trial.)

Also, awhile ago we launched a community part on our site https://community.jazzheaven.com/ (think "Facebook for Jazz") This also includes a "corner" for jazz drummers:  https://community.jazzheaven.com/group/jazz-drummers

So far it's still a bit "quiet" there. Feel free to pay it a visit and change that. This can hopefully develop into a nice resource for all of us to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Another long-time favourite of mine is Justin Varnes' extensive library of lessons on various topics at Jazz Drummers' Resource.

Here is Justin's update:

Now that the Jazz Drummer’s Resource video library contains nearly 300 lessons on everything from up-tempo technique and vocabulary to jazz theory and form for drummers, the site’s focus has turned more to individualized attention and something we call workouts.

A “workout” is just that; grab your sticks, sit down at the kit, press play, and in 20 or 30 minutes you will have learned a new piece of vocabulary or technique. This is a streamlined way to help solve one of the biggest issues we all have: what to practice and how to practice it.

I've been a fan of Chris Smith's Jazz Drum Hang since he first launched his platform and lesson series. His regular informative and relevant content and his enthusiastic, articulate delivery makes it a worthwhile investment in my opinion. I'm always impressed when I check into his site and see what he's come up with.

Be sure to check out Jochen Rueckert's excellent video lesson series found on his website www.jochenrueckert.net

This is a great collection of lessons on a variety of topics in which Rueckert offers a lot of very tangible and practical information informed by his extensive work as both a sideman and a leader.

Okay, now get to work! 

Here's todays collection of things to check out:

1) Check out the new Paul Motian documentary Motian in Motion!

2) NPR's Jazz Night in America with host Christian McBride features Sketches of Tain: Music and Stories from Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts

A link from that page led me to this past concert featuring pianist Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan and also this older piece from NPR featuring Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista and a concept known as Anthropofagia (or "Musical Cannibalism"!):

3) Billy Drummond interviewed by ECM Records

5) Barry Elmes celebrates 30 years of his quintet from Toronto's JAZZ.FM and also this interview with Andre White from his long-time jazz webzine Jazz View.

Be sure to check out Time Warp's recent re-release Down to Earth on Cornerstone Records featuring the drumming of Barry Elmes, originally released on cassette in 1985. 

Order or download that here

6) Fresh Air Archives with this piece featuring Max Roach on playing with Duke Ellington

7) The late Dottie Dodgion remembered in The New Yorker

8) Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle recently launched his amazing new podcast series The Art and Science of Time

Make sure to bookmark his page and check out his very insightful and informative conversations about rhythm with the likes of Dave Liebman, Jim McNeely, Ramesh Shotham and many more to come.

9) Toronto's Nick Fraser interviewed on the heels of his latest album No Opposites by Industry Tactics with Friendly Rich

Also here's a great lesson with Nick from Larry Graves' The Garage Sessions: Keeping Time with Nick Fraser


10) Jack DeJohnette interviewed by Jake Feinberg:


11) Jazz Talk interviews Lewis Nash:

12) Ulysses Owens Jr. continues with his excellent weekly interview series The Drummer's Perspective featuring regular interviews with the great jazz drummers of our time including, among others, the likes of:

Billy Drummond


Matt Wilson 

Johnathan Blake 


13) Neon Jazz interviews Gerry Gibbs about his fantastic new release Songs from my Father dedicated to his father and vibraphonist Terry Gibbs:

14) Joe Farnsworth & Dan Weiss trade on Thelonious Monk's Evidence:


Joe Farnsworth pays a visit to John Ramsay's house to celebrate the great Alan Dawson:


And finally a preview of Farnsworth's latest piano trio outing Sounds of the City with Kenny Barron and Peter Washington:


15) Sherrie Maricle offers this warm-up routine using different roll combinations:

16) Billy Higgins! 


17) Kenny Clarke!


18) Here's a very interesting one that I hadn't heard before of Max Roach with the J.C. White Singers from Germany circa. 1974:

19) What am I listening to these days?

Allison Miller "5am Stroll" - Allison Miller (drums)

Joe Farnsworth "Sounds of the City - Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Roy Haynes "A Life in Time" - Roy Haynes (drums)

Rob McConnell "Tentet" - Terry Clarke (drums)

Renee Rosnes "Kinds of Love" - Carl Allen (drums)

Steve Swallow "Real Book" - Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Stanely Turrentine "Up at Minton's" - Al Harewood (drums)

Roy Hargrove & Mulgrew Miller "Blues for Mr. Hill"

20) And today's Final Word goes to John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie:

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Drums of Preservation Hall with Joe Lastie & Shannon Powell

I usually try to post something on Monday's but this week I got a bit behind. Fortunately I stumbled across these mini-lessons on New Orleans drumming featuring Joe Lastie and Shannon Powell and I think these are just fantastic!

Check these videos out for some great information, straight from the source.

As always, when the Masters speak, we listen!

Monday, September 20, 2021

John Riley's Drum Set Workout

A series of great lessons from John Riley today thanks to the Memphis Drum Shop and the Avedis Zildjian Company.

Check out his Art of Bop Drumming lesson series from Zildjian as well.

I had the good fortune to study with John on a regular basis last spring thanks to a timely micro grant from the Calgary Arts Development Authority (and I now have no lack of challenging things to practice for the foreseeable future!)

John Riley is an incredible educator and I encourage everyone to pay attention to anything he offers. 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Jon Hazilla - Master Studies: The Brush Book Joe Morello Never Wrote

A great series of brush lessons today from the Berklee College of Music's Jon Hazilla. As he explains in the first video, these are applications of Joe Morello's seminal work Master Studies using combinations of lateral strokes with the brushes (inspired by his lessons with Joe Morello, Mel Brown and Jeff Hamilton). 

There is lots of great information here. These are great concepts and techniques that will only deepen your approach to brush playing. Thanks for sharing these Jon!

Check it out:

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Christian McBride & Carl Allen on Playing Fast Tempos

And...we're back.

Thanks for tuning in and Four on the Floor is now back and into the swing of things following a nice summer break. I hope that your summer months were restful and productive despite the challenges of our current circumstances which remain to be unresolved. As we settle back into the Fall months, blogging will now resume on a regular basis.

Here's a wonderful piece featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Carl Allen on the art of playing uptempos:

Is this part of a longer, upcoming instructional feature from Open Studio? I sure hope so!

And here's a couple of good examples of those concepts put into action with McBride's trio playing Cherokee featuring Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums:

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!