WELCOME TO FOUR ON THE FOUR: A BLOG ABOUT JAZZ DRUMMING AND ALL THINGS UNRELATED, BROUGHT TO YOU BY JON McCASLIN

Friday, September 23, 2022

Jazz Drumming Workshops with Jon McCaslin

 

I'm starting up a monthly in-person drum workshop series on the topic of all things related to jazz drumming. These group sessions will only accommodate a limited number of students.

These monthly workshops and group sessions will address such topics as time keeping, ride cymbal techniques, comping, independence & coordination, snare drum rudiments, brush playing, soloing, jazz drumming history and more!

Saturday afternoons 1 -3 pm

October 15 - November 19 - December 17

Theatre 1308

1308 Edmonton Trail NE

$40 per session 

Space is limited!

The first session will be held on Saturday, October 15th 1-3pm. 

Please pre-register here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/jazz-drumming-workshop-tickets-421534490007

For more information please e.mail fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - September 2022

I'm about to take a short break from blogging these days and heading out on the road shortly with Calgary's Decidedly Jazz Danceworks' production of Family of Jazz.








If you are in the Calgary area please check us out this week September 22nd and 23rd www.decidedlyjazz.com or if you are in Toronto we'll be performing as part of the Fall For Dance North festival on September 30th and October 1st-2nd www.ffdn.com








See you soon Toronto!

In the meantime here's plenty of interesting things to check out:

1) Tyshawn Sorey Loves to Confound from Bandcamp

2) Dafnis Prieto on the creative process and his new album Cantar from Jazz.FM 91

3) Ronan Guilfoyle interviews Jamey Haddad for his podcast The Art & Science of Time:

4) Thomas Wendt continues with his Jazz Drumming Essentials for The Drum Candy Podcast:

...an interview with the Jazz Maniac Kenny Washington:

...and this interview with the great Andy Watson:

Keep up the great work Thomas!

5) Aldo Mazza interviews Terri Lyne Carrington and John Riley:

 

6) Han Bennink plays a solo improvisation at the Bishopsgate Institute in London:

7) UNT professor Quincy Davis continues with his always incredible and informative Q-Tips series on YouTube including a guest appearance by the one and only Geoff Clapp!

8) Drum Channel's Lombardi Live! interviews the great Harold Jones:

 

9) Dr. Jazz Talks Samo Salamon interviews Bill Goodwin:

 

10) Pianist Emmet Cohen features Lenny White on "Joshua":

 

...and Joe Saylor on "After You've Gone":

11) Classic Jeff "Tain" Watts with Kenny Kirkland:

 

12) Some ferocious drumming from Cindy Blackman recorded at the 2020 Drumeo Festival:

13) Time to Connect podcast features Kendrick Scott and Johnathan Blake:

14) Pause and Effect: a duet between drummer Drori Mondlak and vibraphonist David Friedman:

15) Congratulations to Billy Drummond and his band Freedom of Ideas on their latest release Valse Sinistre with features from:

NPR

JazzTimes

The Working Drummer Podcast

Marlbank

Look for an exclusive Four on the Floor interview with Billy Drummond coming in October!

16) Dig this footage of the legendary tap dancer Jimmy Slyde and Rakalam Bob Moses in this Percussion Discussion

  

17) Dig this one of Max Roach playing with the brushes:

 

18) Thank you to Brandon Toews and Drumeo for the shout out in this feature on Elvin Jones:


19) What am I listening to these days?

Neil Swainson "Fire in the West" - Lewis Nash (drums)

Allison Miller & Carmen Staff "Nearness" - Allison Miller (drums)

Alan Jones "You Took Me Home" - Alan Jones (drums)

Kenny Clare & Ronnie Stephenson "Drum Spectacular" - Kenny Clare and Ronnie Stephenson (drums)

Billy Drummond & Freedom of Ideas "Valse Sinistre" - Billy Drummond (drums)


20) And today's Final Word goes to bassist MonoNeon who shared his inspiring art manifesto:







....and to John Riley who offered this motivating statement:

"It's easy to be mediocre at the drums!"

- John Obi-Wan Gandalf Riley (Yoda)

(via Ferenc Nemeth)





Thursday, September 15, 2022

Syncopated Stick Control










I was on the road for most of the month of August driving across northern Saskatchewan but made a point of spending daily time on my drum pad and, among other things, trying to think up some new ways to practice and reinvent some older materials (while also focusing on the Marvin Smitty Smith rudiment ritual).

This particular exercise and concept was inspired by Todd Bishop's great exercises that he consistently shares over at his wonderful blog Cruiseship Drummer and some clever Stick Control exercises that John Riley showed me last year when I was studying with him.

Syncopated Stick Control

George Lawrence Stone's seminal text Stick Control is an important study for any serious student of the drums. However, while it's great for many things (ie. developing fluency with different stickings, etc.) it doesn't go very deep in terms of actual syncopated rhythmic variations. So here's a very quick and easy way to add a little syncopated spice into your pot of stick control chili.

Here are a few variations to mess around with :

*Start with Pages 5-7 of Stick Control*

1) Whenever a double Right is written (ie. RR) omit the first R and replace it with a rest

For example a single paradiddle would transform like this:

RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL would play like this: RL-R LRLL RL-R LRLL

* - = indicates a rest! *

Similarly, a triple paradiddle would play like this:

RLRL RLRR LRLR LRLL = RLRL RL-R LRLR LRLL


2) Now do the same as above but apply this to the Left hand instead


3) Apply this "omission" rule to both the Right and Left hands:

ie. RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL = RL-R LR-L RL-R LR-L


4) Now what happens if you have three or more hands in succession? 

If you have three or more hands in a row, leave out the 3rd 8th note (using the same combinations as described above)

For example, here'a few variations:

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RR-R LLLL RR-R LLLL

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RRRR LL-L RRRR LL-L

or

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RR-R LL-L RR-R LL-L


5) Another quick variation that presents some interesting combinations is to leave out the 1st and/or 5th eighth notes of each line. Invariably some interesting and, more importantly, practical patterns that you can use will emerge.


I've also taken a few lessons with George Marsh (author of Inner Drumminglately and he pointed out something quite profound that I think applies to the concepts I've described above.

As you explore each syncopated line (essentially by taking away notes and adding rests) listen to the unique rhythms that emerge from both the right and left hands individually. To make the individual rhythms even more obvious, place your right hand on the cymbal with the left hand on the snare drum and observe the individual rhythms that emerge. George Marsh describes this as rhythmic awareness.

More on this later as things are about to get really busy again. Once I have an opportunity to elaborate more I'll share some four-way coordinated independence applications, using these Syncopated Stick Control variations that I came up with.




Monday, September 12, 2022

Louis Hayes - One of a Kind














Some burning footage of the great jazz drummer and 2023 NEA Jazz Master Louis Hayes, in action here with Freddie Hubbard, Don Braden and Benny Green circa. 1991:

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Emancipation of Elvin Jones - Downbeat 1966




















One of the beauties of social media is the rare pieces of jazz history that occasionally pop up. Here's a scan of a 1966 Downbeat article and interview written by Mike Hennessy on Elvin Jones (incidentally, Hennessy was also the author of the book Klook: The Story of Kenny Clarke). 

Dig this:





Monday, September 5, 2022

Kenny Clarke & Dante Agostini















And...we're back!

I hope you all had a nice summer wherever you are. Regular blogging has now resumed here at Four on the Floor now that September is upon us and we are back to school and back into a routine.

I've been sitting on this one for awhile now and excited to share this video through the official Four on the Floor YouTube channel.

Here's some incredible and rare footage of Kenny Clarke and his colleague Dante Agostini in a sort of after-hours drum battle, filmed at the Montreux Jazz Festival circa. 1969:

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - July 2022


And...we're back. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your summer is going well. Things have been on the go and moving along in a few directions lately so this will be my final column before I take a long break from blogging and all things social media for the rest of the summer. 

In the meantime, here's the July 2022 edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle with more than enough interesting content to keep you busy for the rest of the summer months.

1) Don't forget to check out my Instagram series Four on the Floor *Live* with the next episode happening on Wednesday, July 27th at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Clarence Penn!



















Since I restarted this regular series in June I've been fortunate to speak with the likes of Dan Weiss, Patrick Boyle, George Marsh, Mike Clark, Gerry Gibbs, Eric Binder, Thomas Wendt and tap dancers Lisa LaTouche and Travis Knights.

The conversations have been insightful and I always come away from these interviews motivated and inspired. I'm looking forward to resuming this series in the Fall as well.

2) A wonderful feature on Han Bennink from Bandcamp Daily that's been making the rounds on social media lately (thank you Nick Fraser, Ted Warren and Reg Schwager for sharing this one!)




















3) Another article that's been circulating is this inspiring piece of artistic and creative wisdom from Bill Frisell in Guitar Player Magazine. Great stuff here.

4) An article from bagpipe.com (!) featuring the renowned Canadian jazz drum teacher and author (and accomplished pipe drummer!) Jim Blackley entitled Teachers & Students: Blackley of Hillsdale

And the UK's Russ Gleason, curator of Drum Hangs, offers his own experience working with Jim Blackley:

 

5) Tyshawn Sorey and Keith Hall both featured at the Drummer's Resource Podcast

6) Joe LaBarbera interviewed by Judy Carmichael for the Jazz Inspired podcast

7) Great interviews with GREAT jazz drummers from bassist Todd Coolman and his exceptional podcast interview series The Cool Toddcast featuring Jimmy MacBride Ed Soph John Riley Kenny Washington Lewis Nash Joe Farnsworth and Terri Lyne Carrington

8) Open Studio features bassist Christian McBride and drummer Gregory Hutchinson with some important perspectives and wisdom:

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

9) Questlove interviews Terri Lyne Carrington: 

 

10) Dr. Jazz Samo Sâlamon interviews a series of great drummers including Carl Allen: 

 

Jorge Rossy 

 

Gerry Hemingway 

 

11) Quincy Davis continues with his as always prolific and of course very informative Q-Tip series on YouTube.com:





 

12) Andrew Cyrille's Haitian Fascination:

 

13) Evan Sherman and Patrick Bartley offer this (brief) history of jazz drums:

 

14) Drummer Nation LIVE! featuring Adam Nussbaum and Paul Francis:

 

15) Excerpts from Bill Stewart's interview with Pablo Held:


 

16) Rick Beato interviews Bernard Purdie:

 

17) The Third Story with Leo Sidran interviews Eric Harland:

 

18) Joe Farnsworth and Al Foster on brushes!

 

19) A pair of wonderful solo drum performances from Drori Mondlak:




20) What am I listening to these days?

Keith Hall "Made in Kalamazoo (duos and trios)" - Keith Hall (drums)

Freddie Hubbard "Live At Studio 104 Maison de la Radio (ORTF) Paris 1973" - Michael Carvin (drums)

David Liebman Trio "Lieb Plays the Blues a la Trane" - Eric Ineke (drums)

George Marsh & John Abercrombie "Drum Strum" - George Marsh (drums)

Dan Weiss "Sixteen: Drummer's Suite" - Dan Weiss (drums)

Howard Alden "The Howard Alden Trio" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Art Pepper "Gettin' Together" - Jimmy Cobb (drums)


21) And today's Final Word goes to American novelist Jack London with some timely advice (for me anyways...):


"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
 

- Jack London


Okay, that's all I've got. Thanks again for all your support. Have a safe and sound summer and as Clark Terry used to say Keep on Keepin' on...

See you in September.








Sunday, July 24, 2022

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Clarence Penn



Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, July 27th at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Clarence Penn!



“Clarence is the kind of musician who leaves his judgments of music and musicians aside to provide the best support and complement. He really cares that everyone on stage sound as good as they can. That explains why the results are so great with the extraordinary musicians he brings into his projects. Fireworks!”—Dave Douglas

“Clarence is a charismatic player, with great dynamic range and drama and musicality. He’s an intricate and heady drummer who thinks compositionally, but uses his gut and instincts towards the end result of making something exciting, that feels alive, and is full of energy and passion. He doesn’t have a limited conception of what the drummer is. Of course, he drives the band and pushes the time, but he also knows how to stop and allow things to happen—to be a colorist.”—Maria Schneider

“I think Clarence is a natural leader. He listens like a producer. He has clarity and vision. He hears everything—the bass, the high voices, the middle. He understands harmony. He understands lyrics. He has the will to solve problems and figure them out. He doesn’t stay traditional, but makes the music free and colorful. He understands that music is play. I’d play with him every day if I could.”—Luciana SouzaClarence Penn is one of the busiest jazz drummers in the world, a leader of multiple bands, a composer, a prolific producer, and an educator.

Since 1991, when he arrived in New York City, Penn has placed his unique blend of mega-chops, keen intellect, and heady musicianship at the service of a staggering array of A-list artists—a chronological short-list includes Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Stanley Clarke, Steps Ahead, Makoto Ozone, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, Richard Galliano, and Fourplay. Penn’s impressive discography includes several hundred studio albums (including the Grammy-winning recordings 34th and Lex by Randy Brecker and Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue by Maria Schneider) representing a 360-spectrum of jazz expression, and he’s toured extensively throughout the United States, the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia. He’s composed music for films and commercials, and produced tracks for numerous singers in the pop and alternative arenas. He earned a “Ten Best of 1997” accolade from the New York Times for his first leader recording, Penn’s Landing.

A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was a protégé of Ellis Marsalis, Penn is active as an educator and drum clinician. From 2004 to 2012, he taught on the faculty of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. He’s also served on faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Italy, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Intensive Jazz Institute.

Penn currently leads several ensembles. His most recent “rhythmically intoxicating” recording is 2014’s “Monk The Lost Files” featuring arrangements of the music of Thelonious Monk. Released on the Origin record lable, an amazing quartet comprising saxophonist Chad Leftkowitz-Brown, Pianist Gerald Clayton/Donald Vega, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura performing the music of Thelonius Monk with today’s modern jazz sensibility. Near completion is a “world music” studio project of songs and instrumentals that melds background voices—including his own—with a world class band.

Whether Penn is leading his own band or performing as a sideman, he brings to the table unfailing versatility and professionalism, an ability to find creative ways to interpret a global array of styles and idioms, and a stated intention “to play music that’s warm and organic for the people and for myself.”

His motto: “When people hear my name, I want them to think, ‘I don’t know what band he’s playing with tonight or what he’ll be doing, but it’s going to be good, it’s going to be musical.’"

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Jason Marsalis Monday Morning Snare Drum Solo









An interesting ongoing series from Jason Marsalis in which he offers an exploration of the snare drum and of its possibilities.



Thursday, July 14, 2022

Four on the Floor *Live* Instagram IGTV featuring Thomas Wendt & Eric Binder + Lisa LaTouche & Travis Knights











































Tune in next week for not one but TWO episodes of Four on the Floor *Live* happening on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthefloorblog featuring not two but FOUR accomplished and compelling artists!

On Wednesday, July 20th I'll be speaking with two great jazz drummers: Pittsburgh's Thomas Wendt and Chicago's Eric Binder. These guys really know their stuff and I'm looking forward to discussing all things jazz drums and jazz drumming with these two.




Then on Friday, July 22nd I'll be joined by two very accomplished tap dance artists, Lisa LaTouche (Calgary) and Travis Knights (Toronto). These two also really know their stuff and we are going to be talking about all things rhythm and the important musical and historical relationship between tap dancing and jazz drumming.



Both of these are happening on their respective dates at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific) on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthefloorblog

I'm honoured to speak with all of these individuals next week and I'm looking forward to what will surely be a pair of exciting conversations.





Monday, July 11, 2022

The Drum Candy Podcast with Thomas Wendt














Pittsburgh's Thomas Wendt and the Drum Candy Podcast have been putting out some great content lately including interviews, artist features and a wonderful jazz drumming instructional series featuring Thomas himself.

Check out these great interviews with the likes of Lewis Nash, Reggie Quinerly, Jonathan Barber, Johnathan Blake, Ulysses Owens Jr. and Thomas Wendt:






 
• Gain some insight into several important jazz drummers in The Drum Candy's 10 Reasons series featuring:

Jack DeJohnette

 
Art Blakey

 
Roy Haynes

 
• And finally here's the first two instalments of Thomas Wendt's ongoing series Jazz Drumming Essentials:

Part One: The Quarter Note
 
 
Part Two: The Feet
 

*Nice shirt Thomas!*

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Gerry Gibbs





















Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, July 13th at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring the Thrasher himself, Gerry Gibbs!



 
  

 

Gerry Gibbs is a Grammy nominated Drummer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Producer, Band Leader, Composer & Arranger. His father is jazz vibraphone legend & band leader Terry Gibbs; who is among the earliest of pioneers from the be-bop era. 

In 2021, Gerry's much-anticipated new CD "Songs From My Father" has extended the vision of his Thrasher Dream Trio once again. In this latest contribution, musical polymath Gibbs presents a smashing double-disk masterwork featuring four iterations of his acclaimed Thrasher Dream Trio. Despite being in the midst of our global Covid 19 pandemic, Gibbs nonetheless commenced on a nationwide trek of over 15,000 miles to (safely) capture the recordings of himself alongside a long list of his friends and collaborators - essentially, the finest improvisors of our time. With Gibbs in the drum chair, the Thrasher Dream Trios include 1. Chick Corea & Ron Carter, 2. Kenny Barron & Buster Williams, 3. Patrice Rushen & Larry Goldings and 4. Geoff Keezer & Christian McBride. Under his astute direction and vision, Gerry and his band of jazz titans pay homage to the musical legacy of Gerry’s father, Terry Gibbs (now 96 years old). Notable, "Songs From My Father" features the last recorded performance of the great Chick Corea. 

As a Solo Artist, Gibbs has released thirteen recordings. Gerry's 1995 debut CD: "The Thrasher" was executive produced by Quincy Jones on his Qwest/Warner Brothers label and won several awards. Since then, Gerry has gone on to record numerous albums under his own name constituting an expansive and eclectic range: a tribute to Miles Davis' later electric period, original Big Band music, Gerry's epic 4-piece band playing forty instruments between them along with launching his all star 'Thrasher Dream Trio' in 2013. The trio features Ron Carter on Bass and Kenny Barron on Piano and recorded 3 CDs highlighting Gerry's gifted arranging abilities. All three trio recordings made their way to #1 on the JazzWeek International Radio Charts and one garnered a Grammy nomination. The Thrasher Dream Trio would later feature many different all-star guests such as Cassandra Wilson, Roy Hargrove and others. In the 25 year history of JazzWeek Radio (charting the success of jazz music played on radio across the USA), Gerry holds the distinction of being the only jazz musician to have received four consecutive #1 CDs. Quite the feat! 

Besides leading his own bands, projects and studio productions, Gerry is also an in demand drummer who has worked with a who's who in the history of jazz: Mccoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Clarke, Joe Henderson, Hubert Laws, James Moody, Sam Rivers, Patrice Rushen, Dewey Redman, Eddie Harris, Mike Stern, Larry Coryell, Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Brad Mehldau. Gerry's versatility has enabled him to work with a variety of artists from other genres as well: Parliament Funkadelic, Rose Royce, Flying Lotus and even legendary comedian Steve Allen.

Most recently, Gerry's engaging compositional abilities has led him to writing film music while his internet comedy shorts (with wife Kyeshie Gibbs) have gone viral. These video spoofs include many jazz luminaries and even a cameo from comedian legend Dave Chappelle.



Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Kenny Clarke Antibes 1979









One more blog post in my ongoing series featuring my hero Kenny Clarke. This a time a full concert featuring Kenny Clarke and his trio, recorded by French television circa. 1979:

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Four on the Floor *Live* on Instagram IGTV featuring Mike Clark!

Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, July 6th at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Mike Clark!

www.drummermikeclark.info

 

Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock in the early seventies. His incisive playing on Hancock’s “Actual Proof” garnered him an international cult following and influenced generations of drummers. While Mike digs the funk, he considers jazz his first love, and playing that music is what he says feeds his soul.

Besides Herbie Hancock, Mike has performed and recorded with such well-known jazz greats as Christian McBride, Chet Baker, John Scofield, Nicholas Payton, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Vince Guaraldi, Woody Shaw, Albert King, Larry Coryell, Mike Wolff, Wallace Roney, Billy Childs, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Chris Potter, Bobby McFerrin, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr., and Gil Evans and his Orchestra.

Born in Sacramento, CA, Mike traveled around the country with his father, a union man for the railroad, and a former drummer himself. His dad had a great appreciation for jazz and blues music, and Mike credits this exposure as forming the foundation for his ability to synthesize many different regional styles. He absorbed the music of America while riding the rails. From age 4, he was a prodigy, sitting in—and getting “house” —- with bands in Texas and New Orleans. By the time he reached his early twenties, he had become one of the founders of the distinctive East Bay Sound coming out of Oakland, California.

During the late sixties, Mike led his own jazz organ trio,. Then he met Hancock in 1973. With Herbie, Mike set the rhythms for the acclaimed group, The Headhunters. Afterwards, he did a two-year stint with Brand X, the British jazz/rock fusion band founded by Phil Collins. With them he recorded ”Do They Hurt?” and “Product.”

By 2000, Mike had made a foray into the popular jam band scene. His group Prescription Renewal pulled together cross-generational talents, such as Charlie Hunter, Fred Wesley, Skerik, Robert Walter, and DJ Logic, and featured special guests such as Donald Harrison, George Porter Jr. of The Meters, Les Claypool, Larry Goldings and fellow Headhunters alumni Bill Summers. He also toured with The Roots Funk All Stars.

Along with James Brown's drummer Clyde Stubblefield, Mike's beats with The Headhunters (most notably “God Make Me Funky”) include some of the most sampled in hip hop. He has been featured in Downbeat, Musician, International Musician & Recording World, Modern Drummer, Jazz Times, Guitar Player, Jazz Is, and numerous jazz history and method books.

Mike is a popular and busy clinician. His latest book, “The Post Bop Drum Book” on Hudson Music is a big hit. A previous book, “Funk Drumming: Innovative Grooves & Advanced Concepts” was published in 2012 by Hal Leonard.

As a bandleader, his release “Give The Drummer Some” earned a rare four and a half stars in Downbeat. “The Funk Stops Here,” a joint effort with Hancock alumni Paul Jackson got five stars, as did 2011’s “Carnival of Soul.” In 2001, his solo CD “Actual Proof” met with critical acclaim, as did the 2003 acoustic jazz release, “Summertime,” featuring Chris Potter and Billy Childs, which spent weeks in the top ten jazz charts. 2009’s “Blueprints of Jazz” featuring Patrice Rushen, Randy Brecker, Donald Harrison, Rob Dixon, and Christian McBride was considered one of the top jazz releases of the new millenium by Downbeat magazine.

In 2012 Mike co-led The Headhunters,’ with original founding member Bill Summers. 2012 saw a new Headhunters' release, “Platinum.” which featured guest turns by Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, and Killah Priest.

Another musically exciting year was 2015. His second Wolff & Clark Expedition CD released in February, and his hard bop band “Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium” arrived six months later, both on Random Act Records. Both CDs featured Christian McBride on bass, Donald Harrison on alto, Rob Dixon on tenor, Antonio Farao on Piano and Randy Brecker on trumpet.

Mike has produced three releases for the spoken word prophet Tony Adamo, indulging ”Miles of Blu” with Tower of Power's Doc Krupka, bass legend Paul Jackson, and Michael Wolff. Along with drum legend Lenny White (Return to Forever), Mike is co-leading Nu Brew, a double drummer experience in new music. He also appears on Tower of Power's organist Chester Thompson's “Mixology.”

During Covid, Mike did many online drum clinics and co-led a record date with Michael Wolff and Leon Dorsey: “Wolff, Clark and Dorsey Play Sgt. Pepper.” On this date they played swinging arrangements of Beatles tunes, acoustic jazz style. He also was a sideman on Leon Dorsey's “Thank you Mr, Maybern” with the late great Harold Maybern and Leon in a hard swinging trio setting, “DSC MonkTime” celebrated the music of Thelonious Monk, once again with Leon Dorsey, with Dorsey and Greg Skaff as co-leaders. He also is a founding member of The StickPeople, an online interview show, along with Lenny White, David Garabaldi, Michael Shrieve and Greg Errico. The four drummers do online interviews with great artists playing jazz, funk, fusion and all things music!

As of 2021, Mike still lives in New York City. His latest CD, “Mike Drop” with sax great Michael Zilber is in the top ten on Jazz Weekly. Mike is with Leon Lee Dorsey and Manny Valera on Leon's new record “Freedom Jazz Dance” which debuted on Jazz Weekly at number 16. He was in Chicago recently with Donald Harrison and the great Fred Wesley; then Donald and Mike left for Indiana to co-lead an organ trio at the famous Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. He also just finished a “beats” recording for Yurt Rock which will be out in the fall 2021, along with his newest, “Mike Clark plays Herbie Hancock—Again!” an acoustic jazz recording out next year.

Mike endorses DW Drums, Istanbul Cymbals, Evans Drum heads, and Innovation Percussion drumsticks.
 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Kenny Clarke Returns!


 













Last week's post featuring Kenny Clarke got a lot of attention and I received some great messages and comments on social media from many of you out there. Thanks for reaching out and I decided to follow up with some more Klook today.

Pittsburgh's Thomas Wendt pointed out that the track I posted last week was from a Kenny Clarke-Ernie Wilkins Septet album recorded for Savoy in 1955:

Ireland's Conor Guilfoyle also took the time to scan the liner notes from this album:






And thanks to Toronto's Nick Fraser who shared this track of Billie's Bounce recorded by Eddie Bert featuring a wonderfully melodic drum solo from Kenny Clarke, no doubt informed by the melody in question:
 

And while we're on the subject of Kenny Clarke, check out this episode from the infamous History of Jazz Drumming radio series featuring Mel Lewis and Loren Schoenberg, originally broadcast in 1989:

Monday, June 20, 2022

Kenny Clarke 1955





















Three unique and interesting videos featuring Kenny Clarke today.

First up, a wonderfully melodic drum solo interpretation of Charlie Parker's bebop anthem Now's the Time. I've never heard this one before nor do I know which album it's from. But if I had to guess, perhaps it's an outtake from one of his sessions recorded for Savoy? (*Editors Note: after some internet sleuthing, I think it's from this album recorded with Ernie Wilkins:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Clarke_%26_Ernie_Wilkins)

 

And here's a rare selection and a dazzling display of the drum set featuring Klook, from the LP Spotlight on Percussion, also recorded circa. 1955:

 

And finally, a drum exchange between Kenny Clarke and British jazz drummer Kenny Clare (and in colour!):
 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

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






















Please join us for the next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, June 22nd at 12pm mountain (2pm eastern/11am pacific), appearing on Instagram Live IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring George Marsh, author of the book Inner Drumming.



 

At fifteen George Marsh became a professional drummer in Belleville, Illinois. His early experiences included work with Sam Andria, Jimmy Williams, and Barbara Streisand (before she became a super star). He studied percussion with Tom Siwe and Jack McKenzie at Champagne-Urbana, and later played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Judy Roberts Trio, John Klemmer, William Russo's experimental big band, The Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players and many great Chicago jazz musicians.

Since 1968, he has lived in the San Francisco area where he has performed and recorded with musicians such as: Denny Zeitlin, David Grisman Quintet/Sextet, Jerry Garcia, John Abercrombie, Mose Allison, Smith Dobson, Joe Henderson, Art Lande, Harold Land, Terry Riley, William Allaudin Mathieu, Pauline Oliveros, Kronos Quartet, Mel Martin, etc. If you were around in 1970, perhaps you caught him with Chuck Berry, Loading Zone or The Jerry Hahn Brotherhood at the Fillmore West and East.

I started teaching shortly after I got my first drumset at age 12. There were very few jazz drummers in Belleville and the surrounding area at the time (1953) and I had learned a lot by seeing Gene Krupa, Papa Jo Jones, and Buddy Rich at Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts. I can still feel the excitement when I saw Count Basie with Sonny Payne on drums! A little later when I was in high school I would go to Peacock Alley in St. Louis and see Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey - all at the young age of 16.

George has written percussion music for such films as Never Cry Wolf and The Black Stallion. He premiered a suite of his pieces for chamber ensemble in the fall of 2002 at the Lincoln Center in New York which featured Rich Fudoli (reeds), David Wessel (interactive electroacoustics), and Mel Graves, bass. And he also performed on this same concert with Timeless Pulse featuring Pauline Oliveros (just intonation accordion), Thomas Buckner (vocals), Jennifer Wilsey (percussion), and David Wessel (interactive electroacoustics).

George has taught drumming and rhythm theory at the University of California at Santa Cruz since 1982 and at Sonoma State University. He also teaches remotley from his private studio in Santa Rosa California. His book, Inner Drumming is a highly praised and unique manual for drummers.






















This book is an instruction manual that offers ways to enhance internal awareness while playing with one, two, three and finally all four limbs. The method allows the drummer to de-condition pathways of inappropriate reflexive responses that often appear when body energy is not flowing most efficiently.

When you play the drums you are already experiencing Inner Drumming, if not consciously, then subconsciously. The easiest way to experience this is to play a simple rhythm with two hands. Playing

hand to hand is basic to all drumming and all drummers do it naturally. As you play hand to hand, slow the motions way down while feeling deeply what’s going on inside your body, what’s happening between the strokes. In deep slow-motion, be internally aware of your movement from limb to limb. This increased awareness is what I call Inner Drumming.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Evan's Drum: Keeping the Inuit Drumbeat Alive

Filmed and directed by Ossie Michelin for the National Film Board of Canada, Evan’s Drum is the beautiful story of an adventurous seven-year-old boy from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland. Evan is part of a new generation of Labrador Inuit who are among the first in living memory to grow up with the sounds of drum dancing since birth.

An adventurous young boy and his determined mother share a passion for Inuit drum dancing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Evan’s Drum is a joyful visit to a family’s loving home, and an uplifting story of cultural pride. After generations of silence, the rhythm of the traditional Inuit drum has returned to Labrador, and seven-year-old Evan is part of the new generation that will keep its heartbeat strong.