Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Tim Mah's Recommended Canadian Jazz Albums of 2023

Frequent Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah returns once again, offering his generous and extensive yearly list of music released by Canadian jazz artists over the course of the past year 2023. As you will see, read, watch and hear below, there continues to be lots of great music coming out of Canada these days.

Tim's weekly radio program Jazz Today can be heard on CJSW Radio 90.9 fm (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on Thursday mornings from 530-7am MST. It is also streamed on the CJSW website and available through Apple and Google podcasts and the CJSW mobile streaming app. Tim's weekly radio program and podcast is also recommended by New Music USA.

Thank you Tim!

Tim Mah's Recommended Canadian Jazz Albums of 2023

During the summer, I became aware of a jazz-infused, six-part comic book series, called “Deep Cuts,” which is co-written by Kyle Higgins and Joe Clark. Upon further research, I learned that Joe Clark is a Chicago-based trumpet player, composer and educator (not to be confused with the former Canadian Prime Minister) and that he wrote a song, “I’m Just Here for the Music,” that was inspired by the story in the second issue of “Deep Cuts.” 

You can learn more about the origin of the comic book series and song (Leslie Beukelman – vocals, Jeremy Kahn – piano, Christian Dillingham – bass; Greg Artry – drums; Joe Clark – music) here: 


The song title “I’m Just Here for the Music” describes what this blog is about and what this list is about. We’re here to celebrate and be advocates for this music. Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of thirty of my favourite new releases from albums led, or co-led, by Canadians over the last twelve months (December 2022 to November 2023). 

Unlike some other year end lists, we are not using the word “best.” Our musical preferences are unique to ourselves. Instead of debating which is the best, let’s to listen more music and support your local live music scenes, as much as you are able. 

Thank you to all of the Calgary music presenters and artists who performed in Calgary over the last year. 


Aline’s étoile magique “eclipse” 

My favourite performance at the 2023 summer jazz festival in Calgary was by Aline’s étoile magique, a quintet led by violinist and songwriter Aline Homzy, which featured music from the album “eclipse.” The other musicians on the album include Thom Gill (guitar), Michael Davidson (vibraphone), Dan Fortin (bass), Marito Marques (drums) and Felicity Williams (voice). 

This is the official music video for “Caraway” (written by Aline Homzy):


Allison Au “Migrations” 

Saxophonist and composer Allison Au’s new album “Migrations” draws inspiration from her family history of immigration. The suite of music on this album speaks to cultural identity and is the first time that Allison features vocals and a string quartet. 

This is “Aves Raras” from the album “Migrations”:


Andrew Rathbun “The Speed of Time” 

After releasing three albums last year, saxophonist, composer and educator Andrew Rathbun’s lone 2023 release is called “The Speed of Time” and features his quartet - Gary Versace (piano), John Hebert (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). Thematically, the album is about the perception of time, both musically and in life. 

This is the title track “The Speed of Time”: 


Anna Webber “Shimmer Wince” 

Anna Webber’s (saxophone, flute, composer) latest album, called “Shimmer Wince,” requires the band members to perform music based on “just intonation” (an ancient tuning system based on natural harmonics and resonances. The album title reflects how this style of tuning makes her feel. Her quintet includes Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Mariel Roberts (cello), Elias Stemeseder (synthesizer) and Lesley Mok (drums). Also, listen to Anna Webber’s other 2023 releases including “Several” with Weston Olencki (trombone), “Capacious Aeration” with Matt Mitchell (piano) and “Letters to George” from the band called George, led by John Hollenbeck (drums). 

This is concert features music from “Shimmer Wince” that was recorded on September 9, 2023 at Arts Center at Duck Creek:


Anthony Fung “Fo(u)rth” 

This is drummer and composer Anthony Fung’s fourth album as a band leader, features Mark Turner (saxophone), Luca Alemanno (bass) and Michael Ragonese (piano). The album includes tunes written specifically for Mark Turner and also takes inspiration from his film scoring work. 

This song is called “The Valley” (inspired by Anthony’s move to the San Fernando Valley): 


Artemis “In Real Time” 

The ensemble Artemis, the brainchild of pianist, composer and musical director Renee Rosnes, released their second album, “In Real Time,” this summer. It showcases co-founding members, Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), and Allison Miller (drums), as well as newcomers Nicole Glover (saxophone) and Alexa Tarantino (multi-reeds). Renee Rosnes is quoted as saying “Music exists in time. Without time, there is no music.” 

This is a video of a live performance of “Balance of Time” (written by Renee Rosnes): 


Ben Wendel “All One” 

Vancouver-born, Los Angeles-raised, New York based saxophone and bassoon player Ben Wendel’s latest album, “All One,” features a series of duets - with Cecile McLorin Salvant, Terence Blanchard, Bill Frisell, Elena Pinderhughes, Jose James and Tigran Hamasyan. 

This is a video of Ben Wendel and Jose James performing “Tenderly”:


Caity Gyorgy and Mark Limacher “You’re Alike, You Two” 

Calgary-native, Montreal-based Caity Gyorgy (voice) and Calgary’s Mark Limacher (piano) provides their fresh interpretations of the Jerome Kern songbook on “You’re Alike, You Two.” You can add this album to the list of great Jerome Kern tribute albums (check out albums from Sandy Stewart and Dick Hyman, plus Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap). 

This is a video of Caity Gyorgy and Mark Limacher performing “I’ll Be Hard to Handle”: 


Curtis Nowosad “If I Had” 

On “If I Had,” drummer Curtis Nowosad is joined by his working trio (Andrew Renfroe – guitar; Luke Sellick – bass), interpreting the music of Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, Stevie Wonder and Nick Drake, while delivering a message of social justice. 

This is the video for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”:


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society “Dynamic Maximum Tension” 

This double album from Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society pays homage to forward-looking mid-century innovators who fashioned their own vision of the future, with music dedicated to Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, Mae West, Duke Ellington, Laurie Frink, Bob Brookmeyer, and Levon Helm. 

This is a video for “Dymaxion” (inspired by Buckminster Fuller):


David Virelles “Carta” 

Pianist and composer David Virelles presents “Carta,” featuring Eric McPherson (drums) and Ben Street (bass). Eight of the nine compositions on “Carta” are written by David Virelles.

You can find this album on Bandcamp: https://davidvirelles.bandcamp.com/album/carta

Erin Rogers & Alec Goldfarb “Earth’s Precisions”

Originally from Lloydminster, Alberta, New York-based saxophonist, composer and educator Erin Rogers released “Earth’s Precisions” in June, with New York-based guitarist Alec Goldfarb. This album is inspired by the lineage of guitar & saxophone duos (from Fred Frith and Anthony Braxton to Tim Berne and Bill Frisell) and expands upon this tradition. 

This is a video of Erin Rogers and Alec Goldfarb performing together in New York (May 2023):


Francois Houle Genera Sextet “In Memoriam” 

On the album “In Memoriam,” clarinet player and composer Francois Houle pays tribute and celebrates the memory of Ken Pickering (co-founder and artistic director of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, who passed away in 2018). Check out Francois Houle’s other 2023 releases, including “Poise” with Benoit Delbecq, “Triocular+” with Linda Bouchard, “Voci Volante” with Charlotte Hug, “Hush” with Joe Sorbara, “Crystalline” with Daniel Janke to name a few. 

This is “Requiem for KP”:


George “Letters to George” 

George is a group led by John Hollenbeck (drums, piano, compositions) and featuring Anna Webber (saxophone, flute), Aurora Nealand (voice, saxophones, keyboards) and Chiquita Magic (keyboards, voice, piano). The name George is derived from the Greek word, meaning “farmer, earthworker” and song titles on the album include references to famous people named George, including George Clinton, George Washington Carver and Georgia O’Keefe. This autumn, John Hollenbeck also released a duo album with pianist Marianne Trudel called “Dede Java Espiritu.” 

Here is the official music video for “Iceman” (the nickname for American basketball player George Gervin):

Hilario Duran and His Latin Jazz Big Band “Cry Me a River” 

Composer and pianist Hilario Duran leads a nineteen piece ensemble with the album “Cry Me a River,” his first big band album in seventeen years. It features special guests Paquito D’Rivera, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, and OKAN. 

This is the live in studio performance of “I Remember Mingus” (which was nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award): 


Jessica Ackerley “Petting Zoo” 

One of my favourite guitarists on today’s scene is Jessica Ackerley, who released four albums over the last year: - “Live Recordings” with Frank Meadows and Eli Wallace, released under the band name “MAW” - “Submerging Silently” with bassist Gahlord DeWald and drummer Kevin Cheli. This album was named one of the 20 best experimental albums of 2023 by the online magazine PopMatters - “Petting Zoo” with saxophonist Yuma Yusaka and drummer Colin Hinton - “five lines indecipherable” with violinist Alex Cunningham, saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi and bassist Damon Smith.

This is a performance in 2018 from the Petting Zoo trio in Brooklyn, New York: 


Jocelyn Gould “Sonic Bouquet” 

Guitarist Jocelyn Gould’s third album as a leader was recorded in 2022 after completing her North American tour. The other musicians on the album include Quincy Davis (drums), Rodney Whitaker (bass), Randy Napoleon (guitar), Will Bonness (piano) and Virginia MacDonald (clarinet). 

This is “Tender is the Night”: 


Josh Cole “Kind Mind”

One of the live performance highlights in Calgary this autumn featured the Toronto-based trio of Josh Cole (bass), Karen Ng (saxophone) and Michael Davidson (vibraphone), performing music from the album “Kind Mind.” 

This is a video of a live performance from this trio at the Open Waters Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia in January 2020: 


Kelly Jefferson “Rituals” 

The album “Rituals” is saxophonist Kelly Jefferson’s first solo recording in over fifteen years, and features music that he wrote over the last twelve years, most of them represent a time in his life where significant changes occurred. The other musicians on the album are Amanda Tosoff (piano), Jon Maharaj (bass) and Morgan Childs (drums). 

This is “Holding Court”: 


Kris Davis “Diatom Ribbons – Live at the Village Vanguard” 

This double album documents performances during a residency in May 2022 at New York’s Village Vanguard. Pianist and composer Kris Davis is joined by three musicians from the 2019 album “Diatom Ribbons” (Terri Lyne Carrington – drums, Val Jeanty - turntables, electronics and Trevor Dunn - bass) and guitarist Julian Lage. Instead of a re-recording of the 2019 album, this album includes eight new compositions and three covers (Wayne Shorter, Geri Allen and Ronald Shannon Jackson). 

This is a video of a live performance of “VW” (with Terri Lyne Carrington and Val Jeanty): 


Lina Allemano Four “Pipe Dream” 

The Lina Allemano Four, led by trumpet player and composer, Lina Allemano, released “Pipe Dream” in May 2023 via her record label, Lumo Records (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year). The other members of the quartet include Brodie West (saxophone), Andrew Downing (bass) and Nick Fraser (drums). I also recommend listening to Lina’s album called “Aphelia” with Berlin-based trumpet player, Axel Dorner, released in August 2023 by Relative Pitch Records and her album “Canons” released on December 8, 2023 via Lumo Records. Also, Lina is also part of the 2023 albums “Dead Leaf Butterfly” (with Els Vandeweyer, Maike Hilbig and Lucia Martinez) and “Khyal” (from Sophie Tassignon). 

This is a video of Lina Allemano Four’s live performance of “Longing” in Bremen, Germany during 2022: 


Melissa Pipe “Of What Remains” 

The album “Of What Remains” is Montreal baritone saxophonist and bassoonist Melissa Pipe’s first release as a leader. It explores ideas around temporality: the shifting of time, form and being. The other musicians on the album include Lex French (trumpet), Philippe Côté (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Geoff Lapp (piano), Solon McDade (bass) and Mili Hong (drums).

This song is called “La part des anges”: 


Michael Blake “Dance of the Mystic Bliss” 

Michael Blake’s (saxophone, flute and compositions) new album “Dance of the Mystic Bliss” is dedicated to mother who passed away in 2018. The album features his project Chroma Nova, which includes a small string section (Skye Steele, Chris Hoffman, Michael Bates), electric guitar (Guilherme Monteiro) and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Rogerio Boccato. 

This is the music video for “Merle the Pearl”:


Mingjia “star, star” 

On the album “star, star,” vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mingjia Chen leads the Toronto-based chamber ensemble, the Tortoise Orchestra, through her compositions, which explore stories from her life, Chinese mythology and the world around her. 

This is the Venus Fest video of Mingjia’s “star, star”:


Nicky Schrire “Nowhere Girl” 

Toronto-based vocalist and songwriter Nicky Schrire’s first album in a decade demonstrates her masterful ability to tell stories through songs. Nicky is joined on this album by Chris Donnelly (piano), Dan Fortin (bass), Ernesto Cervini (drums), Tara Davidson (saxophones), Laila Biali (voice) and Julio Sigauque (guitar). 

This is a video of the title song, “Nowhere Girl”: 


Peripheral Vision “We’ve Got Nothing” 

Peripheral Vision is co-led by guitarist Don Scott and bassist Michael Herring, and also includes Trevor Hogg (saxophone) and Nick Fraser (drums). The album “We’ve Got Nothing” celebrates of the band’s fifteen years together, and marks the first time in their long creative history that Scott and Herring have co-written music together. The project was recorded over the course of four months between January to April 2023 at The Tranzac, one of Toronto’s most important creative music hubs. 

This is the music video for “I’ve Got Nothing”:


Quinsin Nachoff “Stars and Constellations” 

Saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff is joined by his Ethereal trio (Dan Weiss -drums, Mark Helias - bass), as well as two New York-based string quartets (The Bergamot Quartet and The Rhythm Method), on his latest album, “Stars and Constellations,” blending jazz and classical music. 

This is the song “Sagittarius” by Quinsin Nachoff: 


Rachel Therrien “Mi Hogar” 

The album “Mi Hogar” is the first recording for trumpet player Rachel Therrien’s Latin Jazz Project, which features many of the musicians that have been a part of her musical journey. 

This is the music video for “Porcelanosa” written by Rachel Therrien:


Rubim de Toledo “The Drip” 

My favourite concert at the November 2023 jazz festival in Calgary was from Edmonton bass player, educator and songwriter Rubim de Toledo, which featured music from his new album, “The Drip.” Rubim is also a member of the Up and Over Trio (Chris Andrew – piano, Jamie Cooper – drums), who released their debut album, “Up and Over” in December 2022. 

This is the music video for “Rhythm Chante” off the album “The Drip”:


Sanah Kadoura “Duality” Drummer and composer 

Sanah Kadoura’s second album, “Duality” focuses thematically on the balance between light and dark. The album is an offering of healing, guidance and love. Her band includes Stacy Dillard on soprano saxophone, Rachel Therrien on trumpet and flugelhorn, Virginia MacDonald on clarinet, Joanna Majoko on vocals, Michael King on piano, Jonathan Michel on bass, Parham Haghighi on vocals, and Flavio Silva on guitar. 

This is the EPK for the album “Duality”: 


The Peggy Lee Band “A Giving Way” 

The album “A Giving Way” is the first release in eleven years and sixth studio album for Vancouver-based The Peggy Lee Band, which is led by cellist and composer, Peggy Lee. The compositions come from a place of gratitude and a desire to do better collectively toward justice and human dignity. Peggy Lee is also a member of the trio Beatings Are in the Body (Erika Angell – voice, electronics, bells; Roisin Adams – piano, Wurlitzer, voice) who released their self-titled debut album in May 2023. You can also hear Peggy Lee on the September 2023 album “fLuXkit Vancouver (its suite but sacred)” by Darius Jones and the December 2023 album “Canons” by Lina Allemano. 

This is “Justice / Honour” from the Peggy Lee Band: 


There were plenty of new releases from Canadians over the last twelve months. Here are more suggestions, listed in alphabetical order by artist. And of course, there are many more that are not listed below. Regardless, let’s keep listening to the music and find your next favourite artist, album or song.

Aaron Leaney “Lockdown” (with Guy Thouin) 
Aaron Shorr “Omand’s Creek” 
Alex Fournier “Magnetic Dreaming” 
Ally Fiola and Next Quest “Interblaze” 
Andrew Jackson and Sam Wilson “New Doors” 
Aretha Tillotson “Introducing Aretha Tillotson” 
Artie Roth Quartet “Resonants” 
Audrey Ochoa “The Head of a Mouse” 
Beatings Are in the Body “Beatings Are in the Body” 
Bellbird “Root in Tandem” 
Ben Frost Quartet “Pixies” 
Blanche Baillargeon “le nid” 
Brad Turner “The Magnificent” and “North Star” 
Carl Mayotte “Carnival” 
Christine Jensen “Day Moon” 
Colin Stetson “When We Were That What Wept for the Sea” 
Crossroad Copeland “Cope Land” 
Dan Pitt Trio “Stages” 
Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra “Open Spaces (Folk Songs Reimagined)” 
Darren Johnston “Wild Awake” 
Derrick Gardner and the Jazz Prophets “Pan Africa” 
Doxas Brothers “Kindred” 
Eli Davidovici “Shapes” 
Eliana Cuevas “Sere Libre” 
Flying Pooka! “The Ecstasy of Becoming” 
Francois Bourassa Quartet “Swirl” 
Greenhouse Ensemble “Rez-de-chaussee” 
Gordon Grdina “Live at the Armoury” (with Mat Maneri and Christian Lillinger) 
Hugo Blouin “Sport national” 
Jacob Wutzke “Show Yourself” 
Jacques Kuba Seguin “Parfum no. 1” 
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque “Playing With Fire” 
Jean-Michel Pilc “Symphony” and “You Are the Song” (with Francois Moutin and Ari Hoenig) 
Joel Haynes “The Return” 
Julian Gutierrez’s Project “Goldstream” 
KneeJerk “Blind Painter” 
Laila Biali “Your Requests” 
Leland Whitty “Anyhow” 
Les Royal Pickles “Take 3” 
Malleus Trio “On / Off” 
Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck “Dede Java Espiritu” 
Mary Ancheta Quartet “Level Up” 
Matt Choboter “Postcards of Nostalgia” 
Meredith Bates “Tesseract” 
Nicole Rampersaud “Saudade” 
Noah Franche-Nolan “Within the Stream” 
No Cosmos “you ii everything else” 
Paul Tynan “Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Six” (with Aaron Lington) 
Playdate “Wonderland” 
Philippe Cote and Francois Bourassa “Confluence” 
Remi Bolduc “Les Esprits Oublies” 
Remi Cormier “Glimpse” 
Remi-Jean Leblanc “Heyday” 
Roxane Reddy “Jaywalking” 
Ruiqi Wang “Subduing the Silence” 
Sharon Minemoto “Dark Night, Bright Stars” 
The Titillators “That’s the Night” 
Up and Over Trio “Up and Over” 
Viviane Houle “Unsung Songs: Graphic Scores” 
Will Bonness “Is This a Dream?” 
Zack Lober “No Fill3r”

Monday, December 18, 2023

Gregory Hutchinson!

Hey everyone! The great Gregory Hutchinson is giving an on-line masterclass via Zoom on Saturday, December 23rd and you all need to check this out. I've followed his Instagram account for some time now, attended several of his Zoom masterclasses in the past and also checked out his excellent courses on Open Studio. Don't miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of the greats, no matter where you are in the world.

Here's the details:

Zoom Masterclass with Gregory Hutchinson

DECEMBER 23, 2023 at 12 noon (EST) - 5 pm (UTC) - 6 pm (UTC +1/Italy)

Two tiers: full level participants and auditors (more info below)

2 hour masterclass

Topics include:

- How to be successful in the music business (as sideman and leader)
- Rudimental concepts
- Ride cymbal sound technique
- Brushes technique
- How to build a practice routine
- My own concepts on the drums
- Importance of knowing history
- How to develop your own voice and not a copy as soon as possible

Open level - everyone is welcome



- inactive participation as listeners


- Interactive participation & questions
- 10 minute INDIVIDUAL one-on-one drum time to have your playing heard at the end of the masterclass
- Copy of masterclass recording (audio & video)
- 100 € OFF the 4 LESSON PLAN, valid one time only for the first 10 students who redeem it, if you decide to further your learning

SIGN UP at: gregoryhutchinson43@gmail.com


In the meantime, here's a couple of other great, recent pieces featuring Hutchinson including:

• An interview with Leo Sidran for The Third Story on WBGO:

• A fantastic interview with Greg from the 80/20 Drummer:

Monday, December 11, 2023

Tony Williams Drum Gear & Cymbals: A Drum History Podcast

Check out this fantastic four-part series on Tony Williams' drums and cymbals featuring Paul Wells and Scott Garrison, hosted by Bart van der Zee, the host and curator of the ongoing and excellent Drum History Podcast series.

There is a lot of great information and insight into Tony Williams to be found here. Paul Wells is a great drummer and has a tremendous knowledge of the history of jazz drumming. Scott Garrison was Tony Williams' drum tech from 1994 until Williams' passing in 1997!

Bart has consistently been putting out great content through his podcast so make sure to check that out here: www.drumhistorypodcast.com

Monday, December 4, 2023

Quincy Speaks!

Some timely motivation from Quincy Davis:

I regularly post and share Quincy's videos and ongoing YouTube series Q-Tips, usually in my monthly Monday Morning Paradiddle jazz variety columns. In my opinion, his lessons and explanations are some of the best out there: https://www.youtube.com/@drumqtips

So check these out, learn something, use the two videos above as some motivation/inspiration and get to work!

Thank you Quincy.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Mareike Wiening - Reveal

Mareika Wiening is one of my favourite jazz drummers and composers these days. Her original music is compelling and is played by a great band, the core of which she's managed to keep together over the course of several albums now. And she is also a dynamic drummer whose original style is rooted in the tradition while also progressive and original that matches her compositional concept perfectly.

Mareike is a busy person and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her new music below.

Photo ©Wolf Peter Steinheißer

Mareike Wiening, percussionist and composer, spent six years in Brooklyn, New York, where she cultivated her musical career. Since 2019, she has been commuting between the United States and Cologne, Germany, while actively participating in the international jazz scene.

Her career as an independent jazz musician encompasses a diverse array of projects and ensembles in New York and Europe. Since 2022, she has been serving as a lecturer in jazz percussion at the Zurich University of the Arts.

The Mareike Wiening Quintet, featuring longstanding musical partners Rich Perry, Glenn Zaleski, Alex Goodman, and Johannes Felscher, was nominated for the 2022 German Jazz Award. In November 2023, their third album, Reveal, is set to release on the renowned New York label of Dave Douglas, Greenleaf Music.

Concert tours have taken her across Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway, Lithuania, Brazil, and the United States. Mareike Wiening has graced prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Blue Note NYC, Jazzgallery NY, Jazzclub Unterfahrt, A-trane Berlin, the New York Winter Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and the Elbjazz Hamburg. She has also contributed to musical and theatrical productions in Europe and Off-Broadway shows in New York City. In 2023, she made an appearance in the documentary “Jazz Fever,” which was screened in theatres throughout Germany.

Mareike Wiening has collaborated with renowned musicians such as John Zorn, Stefon Harris, Dan Tepfer, Dayna Stephens, Fabian Almazan, Johannes Enders, Adrian Mears, Ben Wendel, and many others. Her exceptional performances have earned her accolades, and she serves as a MEINL endorser for cymbals and sticks.

Homepage and Shop:


Greenleaf website news:

Greenleaf Bandcamp:

Photo ©Luke Marantz

Mareika Wiening Reveal - Four on the Floor: November 2023

1) Tell us about your latest recording!

My new album, "Reveal," is an embodiment of my recent life experiences and observations, both global and personal. The process of creating this album began as I looked around at the world, witnessing the significant changes and challenges we've all faced: the global pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the political strife not just in the U.S. but across Europe. These tumultuous events, alongside my return to Germany from New York after six years and personal trials, including the loss of a close family member and societal pressures, have deeply influenced my creative process. "Reveal" emerged from a desire not to dwell in the darkness of these challenges, but to find light and hope within them. 

This album is a journey of introspection, a search for the core essence that first connected me to music.In crafting "Reveal," I realized that in times of uncertainty and change, music could be a source of comfort and inspiration. It's a reminder that, amidst the turmoil, there remains a constant – the enduring power of music to uplift, heal, and connect us. This album is a reflection of my journey as a person and a musician, navigating a world of uncertainty with the solace and joy that music brings.

2) How did you choose your repertoire and sidemen?

I composed the songs during the last year and recorded with my longtime working quintet. But I also had the urge of adding another voice for certain tunes. I always wanted to pair Rich with a second horn player and was looking for strong artistic voice that would fit the overall band sound. That’s why I asked esteemed trumpeter and Greenleaf founder Dave Douglas. He was the perfect fit!

3) What inspired you to pursue the vibe and instrumentation that you did?

The instrumentation is set through my longtime working band. Musically, I wanted to explore a broader palette of textures and emotions, blending the traditional elements of jazz with contemporary influences.

4) Was there a particular message you were trying to convey to the listener?

I aimed to convey a message of resilience, introspection, and hope. Through the compositions, I wanted to take listeners on a journey that mirrored my own experiences during a period marked by significant global and personal challenges. The album is an invitation to delve into a spectrum of emotions, from contemplation and sorrow to optimism and strength.
It's about finding beauty and strength in vulnerability, and the transformative power of music to heal and uplift.

5) Who are your influences with regards to your style of writing and playing?

Guillermo Klein for sure! Playing drums: definitely Elvin Jones and Bill Stewart these days.

6) What are you practicing/studying/listening to/researching these days?

Researching how to compose and arrange for symphonic orchestra and that’s why also listening to a lot of different pieces from Stravinsky to Bach and modern pieces. I’m always transcribing solos or small ideas and try to develop those on the drums.

I also get inspired by my students at the Conservatory in Zurich. They all have very different backgrounds and difficulties and often I try to challenge myself in getting involved in new territories.

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

I got a commission to write a piece for orchestra and also arrange it. That’s going to be a major project for the next several month as I have no experience in writing for orchestra. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge though. Otherwise I’m very active with the trio and quartet of Korean pianist Gee Hye Lee. Also preparing for a couple new projects I’m involved in that will start in 2024.

8) How does the drums and your overall approach to rhythm factor into your compositions and concept?

First of all I compose mainly on the piano. Once the tune is mostly finished I always sit down at the drums and try out the composition, see how it feels, try out different grooves, change little things to improve the overall flow of the tune. Rhythms are very important. If I can make the tune groove by playing it together with the midi file, it’s usually done.

9) What drummers or other musicians do you consider as influences?

Elvin Jones, Brad Mehldau, Philly Joe Jones and Bill Stewart

10) What advice do you have for younger, aspiring jazz musicians and jazz drummers?

For aspiring jazz musicians and drummers, focus on mastering the fundamentals of jazz and your instrument. Immerse yourself in diverse jazz styles and practice as much as possible to improve your technique and improvisational skills. Play with others as much as possible to develop your sense of timing and ensemble playing, and always stay open to learning and experimenting.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Jeff "Tain" Watts & George Garzone!

From a recent hit at Bar Bayeux in New York City, here's the full saxophone/drums duet of George Garzone and Jeff "Tain" Watts!

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - November 2023

And...we're back.

Thanks for checking in and I'm pleased to offer you the November 2023 edition of The Monday Morning Paradiddle, my occasional and semi-regular jazz drumming variety column (however, I just realized that I haven't published one of these since late July...anyways, here it is. Busy times I suppose!)

I was fortunate to spend some time in New York City earlier this Fall following a busy summer on the road, studying with John Riley, checking out gigs and all my favourite drummers on a nightly basis and, of course, drinking the best coffee I could find in mid-town Manhattan. 

Thank you to all of those whose generosity (musically and otherwise) made my time in New York a truly special and inspiring experience. Onwards and Upwards.

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Anyways, here's a collection of interesting things making the rounds around the Four on the Floor office these days...

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - November 2023

1. Vinnie Sperrazza continues to offer great insight and commentary in his ongoing series Chronicles including excellent pieces on:

Ed Blackwell

Philly Joe Jones

Tony Bennett and Jazz Drummers

Clifford Jarvis

Terri Lyne Carrington

Ed Blackwell, Elvin Jones and John Coltrane

Five Awkward Conversations with Paul Motian

2. Billy Martin interviewed by the Free Jazz Collective

3. Montreal's Michel Lambert Le Coloriste entrevue par Citizen Jazz

4. Allison Miller and Tina Raymond interviewed on The Working Drummer Podcast 

5. Four features and interviews with Max Roach from NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross

6. Kendrick Scott offers his thoughts on Max Roach via PBS, on the heels of the release of the recent documentary Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes on Amercian Masters.

If you haven't seen this excellent work yet, check it out. Now!

7. Check out Sherrie Maricle's excellent collection of drum tips on her YouTube page. Sherrie is the real deal and there are lots of great lessons and things to practice here!

8. Joe LaBarbera and Peter Magadini both reflect on the legacy of Tony Williams from Not So Modern Drummer.

Sadly, Peter passed away last August. I didn't know him very well but our paths did cross on several occasions when we both lived in Montreal during the mid 1990s and I also use his books routinely in my own teaching practice.

Check out Aldo Mazza's interview with Peter from his ongoing series Shaping Your Journey:

9. Montreal bassist Fraser Hollins interviews my teacher and good friend Dave Laing in his ongoing drum and bass interview series The Hook Up

I am really hoping that Fraser interviews Montreal's Andre White next...

10. Allison Miller playing great drums as always!


11. A great interview and lesson with my good friend Geoff Clapp:

12. Willie Jones III and Rudy Royston both interviewed by the Drum Candy Podcast:



13. 10 Reasons to Love Elvin Jones from Thomas Wendt and the Drum Candy Podcast: 


...and 10 Reasons to Love Joe Chambers:

14. Ulysses Owens Jr. and Drumeo offer How to Play Jazz on The Drums:


15. Joe Farnsworth with Emmet Cohen:


16. The 80/20 Drummer interviews John Riley, Dan Weiss and Stanton Moore: 


17. Quincy Davis continues to share great concepts and things to practice in his ongoing Q-Tips series on YouTube. There's a wealth of information here folks, so check it out! 


18. A few words of wisdom from the always inspiring Matt Wilson:

19. What am I listening to these days?

Allison Miller "Rivers in Our Veins" - Allison Miller (drums)

Don Cherry "Art Deco" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Max Roach & The J.C. White Singers "Lift Every Voice and Sing" - Max Roach (drums)

Kelly Jefferson "Rituals" - Morgan Childs (drums)

Oscar Peterson Trio "Night Train" - Ed Thigpen (drums)

Philly Joe Jones "Drums Around the World" - Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Joel Haynes "The Return!" - Joel Haynes (drums)

George Sluppick "Play What You Love" - George Sluppick (drums)

20. And today's Last Word goes to the great swing drummer and teacher Cozy Cole:

“The more you study, the more you find out what you don’t know, but the more you study, the closer you come.”

- Cozy Cole

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Triplet Accents!

I'm a little late to the blogging party this week (sorry, things have been busy!) but here's a short, scrappy video of a little triplet accent exercise I've been practicing lately and working on with my students. 

This one was inspired by Philly Joe Jones and the inspiring social media offerings of Sherrie Maricle and Joe Farnsworth's drum pad inventions, based on the teachings of Alan Dawson and Clifford Jarvis.

I play through these variations with the hi-hat on beats 2&4, feathering the bass drum on all four beats.

Maybe I'll film another video at some point but you can also fill in the un-accented triplets with double-stroke and press rolls. You can also play these variations with all the right hand accents on the floor tom and all the left hand accents on the tom tom.

And don't forget...make it swing!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Tina Raymond - Divinations

Tina Raymond is an accomplished drummer and composer, currently based in Los Angeles. She recently released her new album Divinations and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her new music.

Visit www.tinaraymond.com to learn more about Tina and her music.

Tina Raymond Divinations - Four on the Floor: October 2023

1) Tell us about your latest recording!

Divinations is a collection of six original songs inspired by tarot cards from various decks. It features Andrew Renfroe on Guitar and Karl McComas Reichl on bass.

2) How did you choose your repertoire and sidemen?

I wrote these pieces in a very short period of time on similar subject matter, so they all fit together almost like a suite. I've played with both Karl and Andrew for a few years, and both have similar approaches to music in that they're fearless in their approach, but meticulous in their concept of sound. It also helps that we all live within ten minutes of each other - which is rare in LA. Two summers ago we were able to get together to play just for fun a few times, and I really loved the synergy among the three of us.

3) What inspired you to pursue the vibe and instrumentation that you did?

The instrumentation made sense with these two musicians, and I felt that trio format gave all of us enough room to stretch. The vibe came together organically. As I was mixing the record, I realized that the song, "The Emperor" really needed to be mixed more like a rock tune than a jazz tune, and that then set the tone for how the whole album was set sonically.

4) Was there a particular message you were trying to convey to the listener?

This album was a whimsical journey for me into my own voice as a musician and writer. The messages are less for the listeners and more for me - but if the listeners also walk away experiencing the emotional embodiment the music was trying to connect to - even better. Each song sits in an energetic space that the tarot card it was inspired by describes. For example, The Emperor card describes unwavering power that is fair and firm, and even in nature unless provoked. My creative process was then, "what does unwavering power... maybe provoked a little.." sound like? It would be great if listeners connected on that.

5) Who are your influences with regards to your style of writing?

Wayne Shorter, Monk, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, Bobby Bradford - these artists wrote some memorable melodies. To me, the mark of a good song is one that gets stuck in your head.

6) What are you practicing/studying/listening to/researching these days?

I'm working with a student on some Roy Haynes transcriptions right now, so going back to We Three and Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. I've got another student working on Philly Joe and fundamental language, so we're listening to Everybody Digs Bill Evans and marvelling at the lack of toms - you don't even miss them!

I'm also loving some new music that's coming out of LA right now. Billy Mohler's new album Ultraviolet with Nate Wood on drums is fantastic, as is Anthony Fung's new album Fo(u)rth.

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

I'm on Rachel Eckroth's most recent release on Sam First Records called Humanoid. We've got her album release shows in early November, as well as some tour dates for that in the new year. A band I co-lead, Esthesis Quartet, has some shows coming up, as well as an album featuring our Chamber Music of America Grant Mentor, Bill Frisell, that is still in the production phases.

I also teach full-time at California State University Northridge, and am working on a whole lot of projects involving my students. We've got end of semester concerts in November, as well as all the plans for next semester productions. We're VERY excited to have Helen Sung coming in to play with the big bands in early March - that should be very exciting.

8) How does the drums and your overall approach to rhythm factor into your compositions and concept?

As a drummer, my partner in crime is the bassist, so when I'm writing my ear frequently goes straight to a bass line. I think I also write using space in my forms and melody for the drums to interject.

9) What drummers do you consider as influences?

Art Blakey, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Mel Lewis are probably some of the biggest influences. I love Art Blakey's energetic space - you know it's Art Blakey immediately on recordings. Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones are where jazz solo language really comes together for me - I'm constantly working on transcriptions of their solos with students and discussing the thematic development and vocabulary. Mel Lewis' ride cymbal pattern and ability to keep a band in line with the most simple gestures is also something I admire.

10) What advice do you have for younger, aspiring jazz musicians and jazz drummers?

Learn the rules before you break them, but getting to the point of breaking them - or manipulating the guidelines to fit your aesthetic - is paramount in finding creative freedom and your voice on the instrument. Also - be mindful of your posture and technique. This whole endeavour has potential for repetitive stress injuries, and being conscious of moving and sitting in a healthy way will help your longevity. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Alan Jones!


Some great footage of Portland's Alan Jones, one of my favourite drummers these days and someone everyone should know about, soloing over On Green Dolphin Street from a performance with the Bridge Quartet featuring tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer, pianist Miles Black and bassist Tom Wakeling, recorded last October 2022 at Frankie's in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And here's another fiery one of Jones in action from an earlier hit at the now long gone Portland jazz club Jimmy Mak's: 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Music Monday!

Well, things have been busy around here following my inspiring and productive week in New York City and then a whirlwind trip to Edmonton, Alberta this past weekend, playing at the Yardbird Suite. 

I'm also playing at Fluid Fest in Calgary this week with my new show TapBassDrums featuring Lisa La Touche (tap dancer) and Jodi Proznick (bass). See the post below for more information and tickets.

Anyways, things are definitely on the go these days but there is always something to share over here at Four on the Floor. Here's a smattering of interesting music I've been watching/checking out lately and I hope you dig it too:

Lewis Nash & Steve Wilson Duo:

Andrew Cyrille and Bill McHenry:

Jack DeJohnette "Time & Space" featuring Dave Holland:


Alan Dawson with Kenny Barron and Bob Cranshaw:

Joe Lovano, John Patitucci and Brian Blade: 

James Williams and his Magical Trios featuring Art Blakey and Elvin Jones:

"Take care of the music, 
and the music will take care of you!"

- Dizzy Gillespie

Monday, October 9, 2023

Sunny Murrary & Ed Blackwell - Willisau 1980

Thank you to Chad Anderson for sharing this fascinating drum duet of Ed Blackwell and Sunny Murray playing duo in Willisau, Switzerland circa. 1980:

Thursday, October 5, 2023



appearing at Fluid Fest

Friday, October 20th and Saturday, October 21st 


The GRAND - 608 1st Street SW Calgary, AB


Lisa La Touche - tap

Jodi Proznick - bass

Jonathan McCaslin - drums

Tickets available at: