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!