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.
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.’"
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.
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:
• And finally here's the first two instalments of Thomas Wendt's ongoing series Jazz Drumming Essentials:
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.
This is a blog about jazz, jazz drumming and all things unrelated. Thanks for stopping by!
A Bit About Me...
Jonathan McCaslin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. Jonathan began playing the drums at the age of nine. He progressed through the Regina Lions Junior Band and the music program at his high school, Campbell Collegiate, soon developing a passion for playing the drums and jazz. Ultimately, Jon's interest in music led him to enroll in the Jazz Studies program at McGill University, graduating with distinction in 1999.
While at McGill Jon had the opportunity to study with some of the finest jazz educators in the country including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarcyzk, Chris McCann, Andre White, Michel Lambert and Dave Laing. He also attended the prestigious summer jazz workshop presented by the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1997, where he performed with Canadian jazz greats Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson and Kenny Wheeler.
Jon has also been fortunate to have performed with many of Canada's jazz elite including Charlie Biddle, Brian Hurley, Louise Rose, Alaister Kay, Mart Kinny, Gary Guthman, Mike Rud, Hadley Caliman, Greg Clayton, Chase Sanborn, Andre White, Tilden Webb, John LaBelle, Kevin Dean, Dave Turner, Ralph Bowen, Don Thompson, Dionne Taylor, Jim Vivian, Kelly Jefferson, Ian McDougall, Brad Turner, Jim Brenan, The McGill Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Johnston, Lorraine Desmerais, Steve Amirault, Hugh Fraser, Chucho Valdes, Kieran Overs, The Altsys Jazz Orchestra, Pat LaBarbera, The Regina Symphony Orchestra and The Montreal Jazz Big Band.
In the spring of 2002 McCaslin completed his Master's in Jazz Studies at McGill University where he studied jazz drumming, improvisation and composition.
In January 2003 Jon released his debut CD, “McCallum’s Island”. Featuring his quintet, the CD contains an exciting collection of McCaslin’s original compositions, featuring himself and his band. The release of this CD was followed by a twenty-day tour of Western Canada, performing to enthusiastic, capacity audiences. During March of 2003 Jonathan was the recipient of a fellowship from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and attended the “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” residency in Washington, D.C. Along with twenty other distinguished young jazz artists, McCaslin was featured with such jazz icons as Terence Blanchard, Carmen Lundy, Winard Harper, Curtis Fuller and John Clayton.
McCaslin’s quintet performed at the 2003 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival and was nominated for the General Motors Grand Prix du Festival (awarded to the most outstanding Canadian group). From 2004 until 2006, Jon toured North America, Asia and Europe with the high-energy, critically acclaimed music production troupe “Barrage”. Featuring a cast of seven world-class fiddlers and a four-piece band, this dynamic show featured high-energy music and fiddle traditions from around the world set to upbeat choreography and movement.
In 2015, Dr. McCaslin received his Doctorate through the University of Toronto and completed his dissertation on the conceptualization of contemporary melodic jazz drumming. He is currently based in Calgary, Alberta where he maintains a busy performing and teaching schedule across Canada.