Monday, May 16, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - May 2022

Welcome back to another action packed edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle, my somewhat regular monthly jazz drumming variety column (sorry, I was too busy to get anything together last month...) Anyways, thank you to all of you who've e.mailed me and I appreciate your feedback and contributions. 

This column represents a collection of the somewhat random but significant jazz drumming-related pieces (recent and otherwise) that I find inspiring and feel the need to share with the world.

Thanks again for all your support and please don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list on the right hand side of the page. Don't miss out, sign up today and get Four on the Floor sent directly to your inbox!

So, and without any further ado, here is the Spring edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle. Please enjoy!

1) Joe Zawinul: The Somewhat Long Lost Interview about Drummers and Weather Report by David Aldridge

2) Phase Dancing: The Art of Drumming in the Pat Metheny Group featuring Danny Gottlieb, Paul Wertico and Antonio Sanchez

3) An interview with Andrew Cyrille in advance of his duo performance with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper

4) Clifford Allen interviews Clifford Barbaro

5) Ken Micallef, writing for Stereophile Magazine, wrote a wonderful survey on the evolution of jazz drumming From Congo Square to Times Square: A Short History of Drums in Jazz

6) Victoria's Kelby MacNayr featured in YAM Magazine The Beat Goes on for Drummer Kelby MacNayr 

7) A short drum solo from Jeff Ballard:


8) Curtis Nowosad interviewed by Darrian Douglas for The Working Artist Project podcast:


 9) Steve Maxwell Jr. interviews Matt Wilson:


10) A fantastic duo set from Francisco Mela and George Garzone:

11) Quincy Davis continues with his always excellent Q Tips YouTube series with these formidable episodes:


...and this feature from the Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company:

12) And also from Zildjian, here's John Riley with another episode from his Art of Bop Drumming series:


13) Sara Hagan Backstage interviews Paul Francis, Master cymbal craftsman:


14) Jochen Rueckert interviewed by Pablo Held:


15) Joe Farnsworth offers these two important lessons from the Greats:


16) The prolific Dr. Jazz Talks, Samo Salamon interviews these Master drummers of our time including:

Jeff Williams


Kenny Washington


Billy Drummond


Bill Stewart 


17) The Drum Candy Podcast and Thomas Wendt give us 10 Reasons to Love Roy Haynes:


18) Mind Free Drumming from Ra Kalam Bob Moses and Jabali Billy Hart:


...and more great wisdom here from Ra Kalam:


19) Marcus Gilmore and Savion Glover in a fantastic tap and drum duet:


20) Thanks to Ed Soph who shared this incredible footage of Sonny Rollins with Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums:


21) What am I listening to these days?

Freddie Hubbard "Red Clay" - Lenny White (drums)

Allison Miller & Jane Ira Bloom "Tuesday Sessions" - Allison Miller (drums)

Fela Kuti "Live!" - Tony Allen & Ginger Baker (drums)

Max Roach "Long As You're Living" - Max Roach (drums)

Kenny Wheeler "Music for Large and Small Ensembles" - Peter Erskine (drums)

Terry Gibbs "The Terry Gibbs Dream Band" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell "Live in Philadelphia 1978" - Edward Blackwell (drums)

Steve Hirsh "So Now - Drumset Orchestra" - Steve Hirsh (drums and cymbals)

22) And today's Final Word goes to the Copasetics, “a social, friendly benevolent club” of musical and tap dance artists dedicated to preserving the memory and spirit of Master tap dancer and entertainer Bill Bojangles Robinson:

The "Copasetics Song" written by Honi Coles and Paul Branker

When you feel blue,

the best thing to do

is tell yourself to forget it.

Laugh your cares away

Tomorrow's another day

And Everything will be Copasetic.

Never look down

Chin up and don't frown.

Don't let life get pathetic.

Life's a funny thing

It's really great when you sing,

And Everything will be Copasetic.

Greet your fellow man

With a wide open hand,

Make your neighbor's burden lighter.

A friendly hello everywhere that you go

Is bound to make your day much brighter.

When you feel sad

Pretend that you're glad

Smile and you won't regret it.

Show a happy face

To the whole human race,

And Everything will be Copasetic.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Max on "Swing" - Max Bacon 1934

A rare piece of jazz drumming history today, a long out-of-print drum manual on swing drumming by drummer, actor and comedian Max Bacon, originally published by the Premier Drum Company in 1934.

Download the .pdf version here:


...or here:

If I had to guess, I might believe that this is one of the very first jazz drumming manuals or instructional books ever published (ed. note: I know that Gene Krupa and Dave Tough had some books published in the 1930s but I'd have to check the dates...)

I recently came across this book and author via drummer British drummer Daniel Harding's blog.

Here's an excerpt from Max on "Swing" via Harding's website and I think that many of these words still resonate today:

SWING. I cannot imagine a better name, for to me it conveys everything that is expressed in the ultra-modern rhythm. And before we go any farther, I want to pass this feeling on to you; because, until you learn what it is that we are to do, it is no use attempting to learn how it is to be achieved.

What, then, is this “swing”, which is the very essence of successful rhythmic playing to-day? Is it rhythm ? 

It is more than rhythm.

It is the very pulse of rhythm – that which beats within rhythm to give it life.

Unless the essential swing is there, the rhythm will cease to inspire: it may even cease to exist. 
Swing is a very elusive thing, but there is no mistaking it when you hear it. It is a sense of rhythmic balance which moves the whole band as one unit. It is a steady sweeping movement, like the swing of the pendulum of a grandfather clock. To and from: to and from.

That is swing ; and until a band get knack of swinging together, that band will not be a success. The expression of the rhythm is of the same type that you see in that super swing acquired by skilled skaters, dancing upon ice – large regular sweeps. 
Mind you, this swing is very difficult to acquire at first. It does not come all at once, even to the best musicians. I have often heard a bunch of well-known players get together for amusement and – experienced though they are – it will be quite a while before they begin to swing as a unit. In the same way, it sometimes happens that a band noted for its swing will lose it for a time. Lack of concentration, or over-tiredness is generally the cause.

But when once you get “into” the swing of the rhythm, you will find that you keep it, for the simple reason that a rhythmic movement, with its regular pulse, is the easiest to maintain.

What is the best way to acquire swing, you may well ask. First and foremost, it is a question of temperament: you must like it when you hear it and you must want to do it yourself. As you know, most dance drummers have become such because they were “drum-minded” ; they had in “in” them to become drummers. In just the same way, you must have it in you to feel that swing behind the rhythm. As I say, it is a question of temperament. It is, of course, partly what we call a gift. You must have the gift of a drumming mind. But it can most definitely be acquired to those who will.

There are several ways of helping yourself to get swing into your work. First and foremost, you must listen to those bands that are known to excel in this. Compare them with others and notice the difference. Then try and analyze their work and discover how this difference is produced. By this means, you will find yourself gradually “soaking your system” in swing until it enters your very blood and becomes part of you.

Having thus acquired it, the best way to produce it is to play easily. Do not be strained or forced. And to do this, you must, of course, have a certain amount of technique…..

Remember that the drummer has a very important part to play in swinging the band: and a poor drummer cannot swing a band, even if it is a good one. And the reverse of this is equally true.

- Max Bacon from Max on "Swing" (1934)

Monday, May 2, 2022

Francisco Mela and Susie Ibarra - Solo Drums & Percussion

Not much time for blogging these days as I'm quite busy playing for the current Decidedly Jazz Danceworks production of Family of Jazz which runs until May 15th. 

However, in the meantime, here's a pair of improvised solo performances today to check out from Francisco Mela and Susie Ibarra. I think these are great!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Motian in Motion

I've been eagerly waiting to watch this one for sometime and now...here it is!

Please watch and appreciate the artistry of the late Paul Motian, in this full-length documentary entitled Motian in Motion, directed by Michael Patrick Kelly.

Let things happen when they happen.
Don't push. Don't force.
Don't jump in ahead.
Relax - take your TIME.
Don't do anything.
Let anything do all.

Paul Motian

1931 - 2011

Monday, April 18, 2022

Billy Hart - NEA Jazz Master

Congratulations to Master drummer Jabali Billy Hart on recently being named a NEA Jazz Master!

Check out these wonderful recent features and interviews with the Master himself:

- Billy Hart now has to acknowledge he really is now a Jazz master from the Washington Post

- On The Corner interviews Hart for SF Jazz

- An hour-long feature from NPR's Jazz Night in America

Monday, April 11, 2022

Jimmy Cobb: Bruxelles 1974

This is absolutely incredible.

Check out this rare and new to me solo footage of Jimmy Cobb in action with Sarah Vaughn in Bruxelles, circa. 1974.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Quincy Davis: Bass Drum Feathering

Feathering the bass drum and how to properly use the bass drum in a straight-ahead context is an important but yet often mis-understood concept. Many drummers underestimate this important timekeeping tool. But don't take my word for it! Check out this excellent episode from Quincy Davis' Q-Tip series on YouTube.com in which Q breaks down how to properly feather the bass drum.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Who's In Charge of the Tempo?

Open Studio offers a preview of their new upcoming course "Rhythm Anthology" with this important demonstration and discussion between bassist Christian McBride and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - March 2022

Welcome back to another action packed edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle, my more-or-less monthly jazz drumming variety column, a collection of significant items that have come across my desktop over the past month.

I'm taking a brief break from blogging and social media for the next few weeks (there's drums to be shed, work to get done and new music to be written ya dig?) however there is more than enough great content collected below to keep you occupied in the meantime.

Thanks again for all your support and don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list on the right hand side of the page. Don't miss out, sign up today and get Four on the Floor sent directly to your inbox!

Anyways, let's get down to business shall we? Here's this month's pick of things worth considering:

1) Please check out Kenny Washington's brand new weekly jazz radio program that can be heard on Monday evenings from 5-7pm (PST) / 8-10pm (EST) live or via streaming on San Diego's Jazz 88.3 KSDS.

Washington (aka The Jazz Maniac) has an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz music and I guarantee that if you tune in you'll learn something.

2) Rich Stitzel's Drum Mantra website and practice system is a serious resource that includes an extensive series of books, lessons, courses, guided practice sessions, a podcast series and a collection of masterclasses with a variety of artists including this one with Ed Soph. Rich has assembled an impressive collection of masterclasses with the likes of Soph, Dan Weiss, Ari Hoenig and Nate Wood among many others. Check it out.

3) Thanks to CJSW's Tim Mah, host of the weekly radio program Jazz Today, who shared with me this excellent documentary from CBC Gem Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

4) Matthew Crouse and The Working Drummer Podcast features my good friend and percussionist Clifford Koufman, host of the regular interview series Clif Chats.

5) When Joe Farnsworth comes calling, it's always Time to Swing!

6) Dave Liebman offers some thoughts on Elvin Jones via The Jazz Session:

7) More great lessons from Quincy Davis' excellent ongoing YouTube.com instructional series:

8) A feature on Canadian drummer Buff Allen:

9) Neon Jazz features Charles Goold and music from his new album "Rhythm in Contrast":

10) Sarah Hagan interviews Eric Harland:

and Otis Brown III:

11) The Drum Candy Podcast interviews Johnathan Blake:


and Thomas Wendt:

12) Montreal's Thom Gossage interviewed by DrumFills Kafé:

13) Jeff Williams offers some hip and musical brush playing:

14) Ken Micallef features drummer and audiophile Paul Wells in this two-part series:


15) Francisco Mela opens up on "Green Dolphin Street" with Phil Grenadier (trumpet), George Garzone & Joe Lovano (tenor saxophones) and John Sullivan (bass):

16) A very short (but of course very incredible!) clip of Billy Hart:

17) Another duet, this time featuring Dutch jazz drummer Eric Ineke:

18) Check out Gregory Hutchinson's new YouTube.com channel:

19) And finally, here is the always swinging and always melodic Frankie Dunlop featured with the Thelonious Monk Quartet:

20) What am I listening to these days?

Terry Gibbs Dream Band "Vol. 1-6" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Buddy Rich "Big Swing Face" - Buddy Rich (drums)

Anthony Williams "Lifetime & Spring Revisited" - Tony Williams (drums) *Thanks Tim!*

Michael Stuart "The Blessing" - Claude Ranger (drums)

Steve Swallow "Damaged in Transit" - Adam Nussbaum (drums)

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

Wynton Kelly Trio with George Coleman "Live at the Left Bank Jazz Society Baltimore 1968" - Jimmy Cobb (drums)

21) And today's Final Word goes to Elvin Jones:

"My drums are my life. Sometimes what happens to you during the day affects your ability and shows up in your work. But once you get to your set, you can obliterate all the troubles, which seem to fall off your shoulders. If you aren't happy before, you are when you play. Playing is a matter of spontaneity and thought, of constant control. Take a solo. When I start, I keep the structure and melody and content of the tune in my mind and work up abstractions or obbligatos on it. I count the choruses as I go along, and sometimes I'm able to decide in advance what the pattern of a whole chorus will be, but more often five or six patterns will flash simultaneously across my mind, which gives me a choice, especially if get hung up, and I've had some granddaddies of hangups. If you don't panic, you can switch to another pattern. I can see forms and shapes in my mind when I solo, just as a painter can see forms and shapes when he starts a painting. And I can see different colors. My cymbals will be one color and my snare another color and my tomtoms each a different color. I mix these colors up, making constant movement. Drums suggest movement, a conscious, constant shifting of sounds and levels of sound. My drumming can shade from a whisper to a thunder. I'm not conscious of the length of my solos, which I've been told have run up to half an hour. When you develop a certain pattern, you stay with it until it's finished. It's just like you start out in the evening to walk to Central Park and back. Well, there are a lot of directions you can take...one set of streets going up, then in a certain entrance and out another entrance and back on a different set of streets. You come back and maybe take a hot bath and have some dinner and read and go to bed. You haven't been somewhere to lose yourself, but to go and come back and finish your walk."

- Elvin Jones (via American Musicians: 56 Portraits in Jazz by Whitney Balliett, 1985)

Thursday, March 10, 2022

John Riley - The Art of Bop Drumming: Part 2

Part Two of this week's feature on John Riley's The Art of Bop Drumming series from the Zildjian Learning Zone.

This is tons of great information here. Check it out.

Monday, March 7, 2022

John Riley - The Art of Bop Drumming: Part 1

Part One of a two-part series this week featuring John Riley's Art of Bop Drumming instructional lessons from the Zildjian Learning Zone.

As always, the information that Riley shares and the manner in which he explains it is exceptional.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Big Band Drumming

A pair of excellent webinars today on the art of big band drumming from Stockton Helbing and Jerome Jennings. 

There is lots of great information here so check it out!


And here's an outstanding example of some dynamic big band drumming from Buddy Rich and his big band circa. 1978: 


"The Drums are the first instrument and the drummer is the key - The Heartbeat of Jazz." - Jo Jones

Monday, February 21, 2022

Interview with Bassist Ronan Guilfoyle

Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle is a prolific artist and the creator of the podcast series The Art & Science of Time.
If you are a student of Rhythm then this podcast is for you. This interview series is an incredible resource for any musician who is interested in learning about the wide world of rhythm and of those who practice it. Ronan has, so far, interviewed an incredibly diverse group of artists including the likes of saxophonist Dave Liebman, drummer Eric Ineke, pianist/composer/arranger Jim McNeely, percussionist Russell Hartenberger, vocalist Norma Winstone, South Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham, tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera and bassist Ron Carter.

I always enjoy my conversations with my friend Ronan. I learn something new and always come away inspired and motivated. Ronan was very kind to take some time out of his evening to speak to me from his home in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland about his ongoing podcast series in this exclusive Four on the Floor zoom interview.


Ronan Guilfoyle is a major figure on the Irish jazz scene and has developed an international reputation as a performer, teacher and composer. He began his career with Louis Stewart's group in the early 1980's and studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1986 and 1987 where his teachers included John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, and Steve Coleman. Performing on the acoustic bass guitar since the early 1980s, Ronan is now one of the instrument's leading exponents, and is now much in demand as a bassist, both in his native Ireland and on the international jazz scene. 

Among the people he has performed with are Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Kenny Wheeler, Keith Copeland, Brad Mehldau, John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell, Benny Golson, Jim McNeely, Sonny Fortune, Andrea Keller, Andy Laster, Emily Remler, Simon Nabatov, Richie Beirach, and Tom Rainey. 

He has also been leading his own groups since the mid 1980s, and his groups have toured extensively in Europe, Asia, and North America. He has recorded extensively both as a sideman and as a leader and his output includes the award winning "Devsirme" in 1997. Ronan has been composing for classical ensembles since 1993, specialising in compositions which feature both improvised and written music. 

He has had great success in this field and has now a large body of work that ranges from solo piano pieces, to chamber works, to orchestral compositions. He has had commissions from a wide range of ensembles and organisations including the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, The Opus 20 String Orchestra in London, and the European Jazz Youth Orchestra. 

He has also been commissioned to write works for many great soloists including the saxophonist David Liebman, the violinist Michael D'arcy and the virtuoso accordionist Dermot Dunne. Ronan has also acquired a formidable reputation as a composer in the world of contemporary jazz, and his music has been performed by such jazz luminaries as Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, Kenny Wheeler, Keith Copeland, John Abercrombie, Andy Laster, Simon Nabatov, Richie Beirach, Tom Rainey, Julian Arguelles, Rick Peckham, and Sonny Fortune. 

In 1997 he won the Julius Hemphill Jazz Composition Competition in the United States. Over the past 10 years Ronan has become very well known for the teaching of advanced rhythmic techniques for jazz improvisation and his book, "Creative Rhythmic Concepts for Jazz Improvisation" which covers such areas as metric modulation and odd metre playing, is now seen as the standard text for this area. 

He has been invited to teach this subject at many schools around the world including Berklee College of Music, The New School, and is an associate Artist of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and has also lectured on it for the International Music Congress (UNESCO) in Copenhagen. 

Ronan is the founder of and head of the jazz department at Newpark Music Centre in Dublin, the only school offering post-secondary jazz education in Ireland.

Learn more about Ronan, his music and recent activities at his webpage www.ronanguilfoyle.com

Friday, February 18, 2022

ClifChats Panel Conversation: Feb 23rd

I will be joining Clifford Koufman (ClifChats), Russ Gleason (Drum Hangs) and Matthew Crouse (Working Drummer Podcast) on Wednesday, February 23rd for a panel discussion about drumming podcasts, interview series, blogging and livestreams.

I am looking forward to connecting with these hard working individuals and learning all about their respective efforts and pursuits.

Find Clifford on Facebook to watch our livestream or tune into his YouTube page to watch our panel discussion.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Ted Poor - "Rain"

Some very creative solo drumming, sonics and visuals from Seattle's Ted Poor, a wonderful musician whose imagination and talent never ceases to amaze me!


And of course watching that video sent me down a bit of a YouTube rabbit hole and I came across this footage of Ted playing an action packed duet with alto saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo: 

Monday, February 7, 2022

"One Who Knows Rhythm Knows the World"

A beautiful piece featuring drummers, percussionists and rhythms from around the world, produced for the United Nations:

"Rhythm is the center of humanity. 
One who knows rhythm knows the world." 

This 2.5-minute special performance and video feature Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead) along with legendary percussionists Sikiru Adepoju, Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo, and a posthumous appearance by the West African drum virtuoso Babatunde Olatunji. 

Supporting the aforementioned is a cast of 70 traditional drummers in India, led by Zakir Hussain, legendary Puerto Rican percussionist (and father of Giovanni Hidalgo) José Manuel Hidalgo "Mañengue" along with singers and support drummers from that great island, in addition to dancers from Ghana and a 5000 person drum circle led by Mickey Hart! 

The song and video are set to the most referenced and universally used rhythm called 'clave'. The clave is the basis, serving as a skeletal rhythmic figure, around which various drums and percussion are played in most African, Caribbean, South American, and New Orleans music, amongst others. 

Through the rhythms of this song, hearts are connected and differences disappear, illuminating how deeply humanity is interconnected and revealing the truth of the adage: we are one. 

This musical production was part of a special opening to the UN General Assembly high-level meeting taking place on 22 September 2021 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) on the theme "Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent".

Monday, January 31, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - January 2022

Thanks for stopping by and here is today's first Monday Morning Paradiddle column of the year 2022.

Just a quick reminder: 

Please consider entering your e.mail address on the right side of the page to subscribe to my mailing list. Don't miss out, subscribe today and receive Four on the Floor directly to your inbox!

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Alrighty, and now on with the show! Here is this months collection of jazz drumming articles and videos to hopefully inspire and motivate you while we continue to navigate through these challenging times.

1) The great Big Sid Catlett featured in a retrospective from Jazz Lives

2) Kenny Washington interviewed by bassist Todd Coolman in Todd's podcast The Cool Toddcast

3) Pittsburgh's Thomas Wendt and Kenny Washington celebrate the legacy of Kenny Clarke and Max Roach on WZUM Jazz Pittsburgh radio

4) Excerpts from an All About Jazz interview with Alvin Fielder compiled by Todd Bishop over at Cruiseship Drummer!

5) The Jazz Session offers a great collection of interviews including conversations with the likes of Colleen ClarkeChad Taylor and Jerome Jennings

6) 15 Questions interviews German drummer/composer Marieke Wiening and her feature from Neon Jazz


7) The National Jazz Museum in Harlem features Johnathan Blake with his "Desert Island" music selections:

8) The Gretsch Afternoon Drum Break featuring Toronto jazz drummer Morgan Childs:


9) George Fludas on the legacy of John Bonham from the The Drum History Podcast:


10) Drum Factory Direct's regular series The Drum Candy Podcast offers an interview with Billy Martin: 

and Ulysses Owens Jr.:


11) Dr. Bill Bruford on how drummers use creativity:


12) Samo Salamon interviews Joe LaBarbera:

13) Abbey Rader featured by the Avedis Zildjian Company:

14) Jazztopia sits down for a conversation with Ra Kalam Bob Moses:


15) Pheeroan Aklaff offers his solo drum piece Gentle Spirit, a tribute to Ed Blackwell:

16) UNT's Quincy Davis continues with his regular, outstanding Q-Tips series on YouTube. In particular, check out his video on drum tuning. Now go get to work!

17) Sarah Hagan interviews Antonio Sanchez:

18) The late Bob Gullotti playing a burning rendition of Giant Steps:


19) Darrell Green and Camille Thurman featured as a duo on Jazz Night in America:


20) Ali Jackson Jr. offers this lesson on Max Roach's approach to playing in 3/4: 

Be sure to check out Jackson's latest instructional series Universe of Grooves from Jazz Memes (highly recommended!)

21) What am I listening to these days?

George Garzone "The Fringe in New York" - Bob Gullotti (drums), Mike Mainieri (vibes)

Dexter Gordon "A Day in Copenhagen" - Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

Hugh Fraser & VEJI "V" - Dave Robbins (drums), Jack Duncan (percussion)

Sean Fyfe "Late Night" - Andre White (drums)

Bernie Senensky "Don't Look Back" - Barry Elmes (drums)

Pepper Adams "Encounter!" - Elvin Jones (drums)

Sam Jones "The Bassist!" - Keith Copeland (drums)

Kenny Barron & Dave Holland "The Art of Conversation"

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

22) And today's Final Word goes to the late Roy Hargrove with a timely reminder (thanks to George Fludas for sharing this one!):

Monday, January 24, 2022

Shannon Powell - Letter From The Porch

A wonderful solo set from the amazing "King of Treme" Shannon Powell on drums:

Friday, January 21, 2022

Mareike Wiening - Future Memories

I've been a fan of German drummer, bandleader and composer Mareike Wiening since hearing her debut release Metropolis Paradise. An accomplished contemporary jazz drummer, she has established herself as a distinguished composer with a unique creative voice. I am always very excited to hear new and engaging music from creative drummer/composers these days and Mareike is no exception.

Mareike recently released her new album on Greenleaf Music entitled Future Memories and she was kind enough to some take time to answer a few of my questions about her music and latest release.


German drummer and composer Mareike Wiening releases her second album Future Memories which follows her critically acclaimed debut album Metropolis Paradise. The album was recorded shortly before the outbreak of Covid-19 in her homeland during a three-week tour in Europe.

Wiening’s compositions are lyrical, direct and emotional, as well as rhythmically intricate, maintaining an accessible sound that draws you in. Using a palette of tenor saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, the group sound is one of give and take, a musical dialogue between soloist and accompanist.

The New York Times calls it, “original music with a planar, modulating harmonic language and a propulsive drift. Her language is part chamber jazz, part big-boned rock percussion, part free improvisation.”

Interview with Mareike Wiening - January 2022

1) Tell us about your latest recording! How did you choose your repertoire and sidemen?

Rich Perry was always a saxophonist who I really admired and whose sound I always loved. I met him at NYU and we got to jam a couple times. I knew that there would be almost no other horn player who I would love to have in my band. One day I asked him and he said yes! I couldn’t believe it.

Alex Goodman moved to NY at the same time I did. I meet him through common friends. Although he studied at MSM, we managed to play a lot and I always felt super comfortable playing with him. I love his energy and the way he solos. It’s only because of him and his musicality that I actually have a guitar in my band. 

Johannes Felscher joined later. I tried out a couple of other bass players before him but Johannes seemed to fit in the band the best. He has a huge sound and is very versatile.

Glenn Zaleski also joined later. I never played with a piano player who serves the music as well as Glenn. He always finds the best way of playing a melody or comping. He has this thing of always making the song sound better than I ever imagined. 

As far as the repertoire goes: My goal is always to have a broad spectrum of different musical pieces but together they fit into a specific picture. For me it’s very important the each tunes has its own personality and that there is a common thread throughout the piece.

2) What inspired you to pursue the vibe and instrumentation that you did? Was there a particular message you were trying to convey to the listener?

Future Memories has a philosophical layer. The eight pieces on this CD were written before the COVID crisis, much like the studio sessions. For that reason, the album provides an idea of what improvised music and jazz are capable of: establishing an imaginary point in time in the future from which the present can be reflected upon as something already past. My band is scattered all over the world. We live in different time zones and are separate from each other. But our cohesion in the past, what we have experienced together and our music will get us through the difficult present. We will stay positive. That seems more necessary than ever in turbulent times like these.

3) Who are your influences, as a drummer and composer, and why?

Elvin Jones is a drummer who influenced me a lot, especially when I started playing jazz. Another one is Max Roach. They both have such a unique way of playing the drums and supporting the band the best way possible. I also love the way how Bill Stewart plays because of his amazing touch and phrasing. I think it’s very important to imitate and emulate your heroes in an early age. It’s a way of learning the tradition and phrasing. I think it’s very important to do that in order to find your own voice. I always loved to transcribe solos and accompaniments and I still do it sometimes. These days I’m more interested in develop it further to find my own ideas out of it.

I studied composition with Stefon Harris who was very influential on me and pushed me to start a band and record my music. Another important influence was Guillermo Klein. 

4) What are you practicing and listening to these days?

I’m practicing rudiments and working on different transcriptions. Right now it’s Philly Joe Jones on different recordings. I love transcribing a lot and you always find new stuff that you can develop in your own style. 

I’m listening to Maria Schneider’s Data Lords, Sullivan Fortner Trio, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Paris Monster

5) What other current and future projects do you have on the go at the moment?

I have a couple of different projects on the go in Germany with pianist Gee Hye Lee, trombonist Clemens Gottwald and a project coming up with German/Amercian pianist Monik Herzig as well as with Carmen Staaf in the US.

6) What advice do you have for younger, aspiring jazz drummers and drummers who aspire to compose their own music?

It’s important to be humble and to work hard. Musicians should not be afraid talking to peers, take lessons, study as much as possible and try out different ideas. I always brought new pieces to jam session to get a first idea of how the song sounds with a band. In the beginning it’s very scary but once you push yourself and be open to other people opinions, you can grow and your music gets better. 

For more information about Mareike and her music, please visit www.mareikewiening.com