Monday, October 31, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - October 2022


And...we're back and welcome to a special October 2022 Halloween edition of the Monday Morning Paradiddle. 

And what better way to celebrate the scarier side of jazz drumming than with some classic Philly Joe Jones:

Don't forget to "bite your momma goodnight!" and then check out today's features:

1) Ted Warren offers this important piece on Drumming and Mental Health

2) Todd Bishop, author of the blog Cruise Ship Drummer, offers this spot-on assessment of chops, technique and musical freedom, creativity and context in his excellent column Brute Force Freedom

3) Stanton Moore interviewed by the Music Makers Podcast

4) Check out these solos from Rich Thompson's Modern Jazz Solos for Drum Set Series from the Avedis Zildjian Company

5) Thanks to George Sluppick who hipped me to this amazing new drumming sample loop app called Wheelhouse Beats https://www.wheelhousebeats.app/ that features such drummers as Bobby Previte, Carter McLean, George Sluppick, Corey Fonville, Derrek Phillips, Jeremy "Bean" Clemons, Brevan Hampden, Chris Gelb and more.

Ben Singer, the creator of this highly recommended app, was kind enough to take some time to tell us all about his cool and innovative new app:

I met Charlie Hunter when he moved to Greensboro, NC a couple years ago. I had been a fan for a long time, so this came as a fun surprise. I was wrapping up my programming job at PreSonus and looking for more apps to do as a indie developer.

The idea really came from him: a metronome app that uses loops from great drummers. I thought it was a great idea, and he hooked me up with some of his favourite players. Most of them have home studios, so I started by having them send me sessions where they would play the same beat at about five different tempos.

If this was a desktop app, I might have licensed some code to do time-stretching, but for mobile devices I needed something that was very efficient with CPU. I wrote a small playback engine that does this in one step. While it's playing the loop, it skips little pieces of the sound. Each drum or cymbal hit gets a little closer, making the beat sound faster. I speed up the loop until I can switch to the next recorded loop, the same way a keyboard patch would be sampled in multiple velocity layers.

After I split the sessions up into measures, I pick the best loops and sequence them into phrases. For most beats, there are versions with one, two, four, and eight measures. Some of the patterns, like Bomb Swing and Brush Groove, only have long phrases, so it's more like a jazz player.

We haven't tried to define a particular audience. It can be a guitar player shedding a tune, a drummer learning to play and feel these grooves, a songwriter using it for inspiration, or anything else. My strategy is just to make each beat sound as musical as I can.

The current drummers are going to be recording some more grooves and we will be adding new drummers too. I have sessions from the next two already, and I am very excited to get those in the app.

To learn more about this cool drumming app check out this link: https://www.wheelhousebeats.app/

6) A GREAT lesson with bassist Orlando Le Fleming on playing on, ahead and behind the beat:


7) Allison Miller featured with Artemis on her piece Galapagos:


8) Joe Farnsworth sets the pace!


9) Billy Drummond with saxophonist Charles McPherson, playing a beautifully musical drum solo on Cherokee:


10) Toronto's Kirk MacDonald with drummer Terry Clarke at the Black Bear Pub (nice t-shirt Terry!):


11) I was watching a new Oscar Peterson documentary on my flight home from Toronto a few weeks ago and was reminded of what a great and unique drummer Martin Drew was.

Dig this:

12) Quincy Davis continues with these excellent recent offerings via his excellent Q-Tips YouTube series:


13) Christopher Smith offers these great lessons on some important fundamental jazz drumming techniques via The Jazz Drum Hang. Chris is a great teacher!

Check these out:


14) Pittsburgh's Thomas Wendt offers this important lesson dealing with The Shuffle!


15) Gregory Hutchinson shares some wisdom with Open Studio in this episode of Hustlin' with Hutch:


16) Samo Salamon interviews Chicago's Chad Taylor:


17) The Drum History Podcast features the excellent new book Drumsville! The Evolution of the New Orleans Beat:


And here are some behind-the-scenes footage of the exhibit itself:


18) Dan Weiss' demonstrates his incredible rhythmic abilities:


19) Jeff Ballard featured in the series Stephan's Basement:

20) Billy Hart in action with Art Farmer circa. 1982:


21) Jazz Talk interviews Joe Chambers:

 22) A nice tribute to El Rey Tito Puente from Google:


This 2008 piece from NPR's Jazz Profiles series Tito Puente: 'El Rey' is worth taking a listen to as well.

23) Mel Lewis with his orchestra featuring Joe Lovano, performing The Eye of the Hurricane:


24) What am I Listening to These Days? 

PJ Perry "No Hugs" - Dave Laing (drums)

Sam Taylor "Let Go" - Willie Jones III (drums)

Watts, Turner, Le Fleming "Misterioso" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

Teodross Avery "Post Modern Trap Music" - Marvin "Bugalu" Smith (drums)

Sam Kirmayer "In This Moment" - Andre White (drums)

John Lee "The Artist" - Carl Allen (drums)

25) And today's Final Word goes to pianist Ahmad Jamal (via Reggie Quinerly):

“I would like to be a scholar in whatever I do. A scholar is never finished, he is always seeking and I am always seeking.”

-Ahmad Jamal


*Oh yes, and before we head out trick or treating....The classic black Four on the Floor t-shirt is now back in stock and available in limited quantities*

These shirts are available in small, medium, large and x-large sizes and are premium lightweight 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/Instagram/Twitterland and I'll set you up asap.

Last time these went pretty quickly so order now while supplies last.

Don't delay and get yours today.

Thanks for your support!

"The guys get shirts and that's just the way it is..."

- Paul Anka

Monday, October 24, 2022

Tony Williams!

A quadruple dose of great Tony Williams footage today!

First off, Thomas Wendt and the Drum Candy Podcast (brought to us by Drum Factory Direct) offer 10 Reasons to Love...Jazz and Fusion Legend Tony Williams.

Check it out:


And here's footage from two rare Tony Williams masterclasses from the 90s including this one from Scotland circa. 1994 (playing his late era Tony DW drums):


...and this one from North Carolina circa. 1991 (playing his iconic yellow Gretsch drums with the black dots!):

And finally, hot off the presses, is the prolific Quincy Davis with his Q-Tips lesson featuring some Tony Williams vocabulary around the drums:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Kyle Poole & Joe Farnsworth Drum Off

Some great drumming today from Kyle Poole and Joe Farnsworth, featured in tandem on Cedar Walton's Firm Roots, from arguably one of the best regular livestream series to come out of the past two years, Emmet's Place as curated by pianist Emmet Cohen.

Check it out:

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Happy Higgins Day!

(photo by Michael Dvorak)

Well yesterday was Edward Blackwell's birthday and today is Art Blakey and Billy Higgins' birthdays!

So I thought it would be quite fitting to post this unreleased duet between Billy Higgins and Charles Lloyd recorded circa. 1993:

Thank you to Tim Mah for passing this one along!

Monday, October 10, 2022

Toronto! & Steve Gadd Plays Crazy Army

And...we're back.

Sorry for the radio silence as I've been on the road lately, working in Toronto with Canada's premier jazz dance company Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

I've been working with this dance company regularly since 2011 and every production I've had the privilege of being a part of, under the direction of artistic director/visionary Kimberley Cooper and musical director/bassist Rubim DeToledo, is a creative adventure that consistently challenges my abilities and raises my musical bar. The results of these shows and the process of creating these productions are never anything short of an inspiring creative journey that combines jazz music and contemporary jazz dance at the highest level. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with this dedicated group of talented artists.

It was quite a busy week, filming and performing at the Fall For Dance North festival at Toronto Metropolitan University and I'm really proud of what we accomplished. However, I did still manage to get out as well and hear some live music and I heard many great drummers that week including:

• Tenor saxophonists Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera's annual birthday tribute to John Coltrane at the Rex Hotel featuring Terry Clarke on drums. 

Terry was my teacher during my brief stint in Toronto (2007-2009) and it's always a pleasure to hear him driving a band (I'd also venture to comment that he was really in his element that night playing this particular music and of course Kirk and Pat were on fire as always!)

• Montreal's Doxas Brothers Quartet at the Jazz Bistro with the always inventive Jim Doxas on drums. 

Jim and I were both students at McGill together during the late 90s and he was really great, playing with a dynamic and adventurous style even way back then!

• The super swinging Barry Elmes Quintet, also appearing at the Jazz Bistro. 

Barry was one of the very first Canadian jazz drummers I ever heard (initially on CBC Radio back in the day) and his unique style and creatively clever compositions have been an inspiration and influence of mine for the past 30 years.

• Finally, I capped off my visit to T.O. with a long subway ride on the Bloor line to check out a set at the Etobicoke Jazz Festival featuring Alex Dean's four saxophone Tenor Madness band backed up by the Donnybrook Trio, with my bud Jeff McLeod on organ and the always hard swinging Morgan Childs on drums. 

Morgan moved to Toronto from Vancouver at pretty much the same time I left Toronto for Calgary a little over a decade ago but it's always a pleasure to hear his super swinging cymbal beat, supple comping and to watch him drive a band.

Anyways, my time in Toronto was really great and now it's back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Here's a short recent clip of the great Steve Gadd playing the classic rudimental snare drum piece Crazy Army:

If you've followed Steve's career you'll recognize that this particular piece has been a part of Steve's repertoire for a long time. 

Here's a few observations:

• Dig the graceful way in which he plays this. Even by just playing rudiments on some sort of hollowed out piece of furniture acting as a drum pad (?) you still get a sense of the flow and relaxed feel that he is famous for. Listen to the sound he gets and watch the form and movement of his hands. Appreciate the graceful sense of flow he achieves. This, in my humble opinion, is what we, as jazz drummers, should be striving towards when playing, working on rudiments and applying them to the drum set. 

Poetry in motion.

• Some minor gear observations from the photo above, at the top of this blog post (presumably taken sometime in the 70s or early 80s...and assuming that he is playing his own drums?) 

Is that ride cymbal an old cracked K with a significant chunk missing from it? Was that his go-to cymbal at some point? This reminds me of Mel Lewis' infamous old K that also had a chunk missing.

Also notice the two-cymbal stack to his far right. This sort of thing seems to be a real trend nowadays but Gadd was obviously exploring this a long time ago! 

And finally, I heard somewhere that Steve used a Ludwig Superphonic snare drum extensively back in the day and he appears to be playing one in this photo as well.

• Finally, if you dig this brief clip of Gadd playing Crazy Army like I did, then I would highly recommend checking out his recent book Gaddiments as well available at Hudson Music.