Monday, September 25, 2023

OPTION: Francisco Mela Solo!

Francisco Mela has been a favourite drummer of mine for sometime now and I'm always interested to hear what he's up to.

Here's a dynamic solo set from last summer, recorded for Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio series.

His comments in the ensuing interview at the very end are also very honest and compelling. Check it out.

Here's a couple of other older solo pieces that I quite enjoy watching as well and find myself returning to from time to time:

"We play music to free our souls!" - Francisco Mela

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Snare Drum...

Prototype Snare Drum v1.0
Custom made by Ed Peck, EPEK Drums (Regina, SK Canada)
Logo design by Chad Anderson

Monday, September 18, 2023

Max Roach - Un Poco Loco

A brief, but fascinating audio recording of Max Roach describing first-hand his unique drum beat on Bud Powell's composition Un Poco Loco:


And to get even deeper into Max's important and clever pattern, here is Quincy Davis' breakdown from his excellent and ongoing Q-Tip YouTube.com jazz drumming lesson series:

As always, when the Masters speak, we listen.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Living Music: A Film About Ra Kalam Bob Moses

Hey! My friend Clifford Koufman is working very hard and raising money to film a documentary about the great Ra Kalam Bob Moses and he needs our help!

A forthcoming documentary will highlight the life and musical legacy of pioneering drummer, composer, and innovator Ra Kalam Bob Moses. Moses has influenced generations of musicians and has played with Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, and Charles Mingus. Sadly, Moses recently received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. This film aims to help tell his story while there is still time.

Produced and directed by Nashville musician, educator, and interview show host Clifford Koufman, the film will follow Moses’ journey from his early days jamming with jazz legends in New York to his rise as an artist who has transcended genres and styles. Moses is known for his albums Bittersuite in the Ozone and When Elephants Dream of Music, and for his contributions to Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, an album that was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. Moses has developed his own philosophy of “living music” and mentored musicians seeking creative freedom.

“The most unconventional music lesson of my life led to this project,” says filmmaker Koufman of his first drum lesson with Moses. Since that lesson, Koufman and Moses have spent almost twenty years cultivating a friendship and mentee mentor relationship that have inspired Koufman to share what he’s learned through film. Koufman will conduct interviews and document the conversations of musical greats as they interact.

The film will also include interviews with other musicians Moses has influenced or collaborated with over the years. Locations for filming will include New Orleans, New York, Virginia, and other areas significant to Moses’ career.

This September, the heart of the documentary will be shot over a week in New Orleans. It will include live performances, master classes, and a recording session in which Moses will be joined by renowned musicians such as drummer Johnny Vidacovich and percussionist Bill Summers.

“Ra Kalam Bob Moses has impacted me and many others in unpredictable artistic and spiritual ways,” says Koufman. This film will convey Moses’ influence on music. In addition, Moses will narrate his personal journey as a free-spirited and innovative musical figure.

For information, to support the film, or for media interest email info@soundandrhythm.com or visit https://igg.me/at/bobmosesdrummerfilm.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Generations: The Suit

Well, I'm super excited about these upcoming performances and very proud of this collaborative project that's literally been four years in the making!

“The Suit” is a contemporary solo dance piece featuring dancer Davida Monk, choreographed by Catherine Hayward, and a score of solo drum set and percussion music featuring myself on drums!

I've been dreaming about doing something like this for a long time now and looking forward to offering my vision of how solo drums can accompany a solo dancer in a musically compelling and creative way.

I took a lot of inspiration from a variety of percussive sources including Antonio Sanchez (aka "Birdman"), Andrew Cyrille, Milford Graves, Max Roach, Billy Martin, Rudy Royston, Francisco Mela, George Marsh, Susie Ibarra and many others (and the list goes on and on...)

If you find yourself in Calgary, Alberta September 22nd or 23rd, please come and check us out.

The evening includes four solo pieces by female artists who call Alberta home: Nicole Charlton Goodbrand, Catherine Hayward, Helen Husak and Davida Monk.

This production explores how different generations respond to the world. Does their work speak differently to you, the audience? And what can we learn from each other?

Come and enjoy an afternoon or evening of contemporary dance and satisfy your curiosity. 


featuring "The Suit"

TICKETS ON SALE | DJD Dance Centre | $25


September 22 - 730pm & post-show artist talk
September 23 - 2pm
September 23 - 730pm

For the extra curious, catch Friday night's post-show artist talk to learn more about the artists and their work.

Featuring works by:

Nicole Charlton Goodbrand with projection artist and designer Derek Demassi. Text written and performed by collaborator Ryan John Arnold.

Davida Monk, danced by Meghann Michalsky

Helen Husak

Catherine Hayward, danced by Davida Monk with original music composed and performed by Jon McCaslin (solo drums)

Photos: Aran Wilkinson-Blanc
Graphic Design: Heather Close

Monday, September 11, 2023

Joel Haynes - The Return!

I'm really excited to feature this new music on my blog! Joel generously sent me a copy of new CD last week and its been on heavy rotation around my house lately.

The Return! is Haynes' highly anticipated follow-up to his excellent albums Transitions and The Time is Now that features Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone), Tilden Webb (piano) and Neil Swainson (bass).

I first met Joel while I was a student at McGill University back in the mid-90s. In fact, he was playing the drums on the very first gig I ever attended in Montreal, an evening of Blues & Ballads at a long defunct jazz club on St. Laurent Blvd called Cleo's. The band featured Joel on drums, Kelly Jefferson on tenor saxophone, Tilden Webb on piano and Dave Watts on bass and of course it was swinging! Almost 30 years later, these guys are still some of my favourite musicians anywhere. Joel was burning that night and instantly reaffirmed and validated my decision to move to Montreal.

A couple years later I convinced Joel to give me a drum lesson up in the McGill practice rooms. He was the first person who hipped me to Billy Drummond!

If you are in the Vancouver or Toronto areas, check out Joel and his band on these dates:

The Return! Release dates:

September 8th & 9th at Frankie’s - Vancouver, BC
September 10th &11th at The Rex - Toronto, ON
September 12th at The Jazz Bistro - Toronto, ON
September 14th &15th at Hirut jazz cafe - Toronto, ON
The Return! is available to download on all digital sites starting on September 8th and hard copy CD’s available online at cellarlive https://www.cellarlive.com/, cdbaby and by contacting Joel at joel@haynesdrumstudio.com

Joel was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his new music.

Joel Haynes - The Return! - Four on the Floor: September 2023

1) Tell us about your latest recording!

Recorded at Monarch Studios in Vancouver. The band is Seamus Blake on tenor, Tilden Webb on Piano and Neil Swainson on Bass. The session went great and we just powered through all the tunes. We started recording at 10:30 am and finished at 3pm with a lunch break! Pretty much all the tunes were first takes.

2) How did you choose your repertoire and sidemen?

I wanted it to be mostly originals so I wrote 4 tunes and arranged "Tomorrow Never Knows" and Tilden wrote 2 originals and he had an arrangement of "angel" that I wanted to do.

The Return - was named for the 15 year gap since my last recording

Peregrination - was named for the long journey it was between recordings

Tomorrow Never Knows - one of my favourite Beatles tunes

Allure - wrote my 4 originals on a 1 month cruise ship contract and the ship was "Allure of the Seas". Its meaning is "beautiful, attractive and fascinating", so I thought it was a perfect tune to name after my wife Lisa.

Angel - chosen for my mother in law that has survived 3 rounds of Chemo and 2 rounds of Radiation over the years and she's still with us at 90yrs old.

Payback - an uptempo minor blues with some lingering feelings of a situation that happened in the past.

SIDEMEN - Seamus was performing at Cory Weeds' "Jazz at the Bolt" festival last February and Cory called me up and he said, "Haynes! you told me to let you know when Seamus is in Canada and available" He mentioned that Neil Swainson was going to be there also and having Tilden was a no brainer! We've been playing together since 1989. We had a quick rehearsal to run down the tunes and two 1 hour sets that day at the festival. We recorded the day after at Monarch studios in Vancouver.

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

I wanted to make a statement and a "return" from not having done my own record for 15 yrs. Seamus was on my last recording "transitions" and Tilden was on the last two of my recordings so it only fit to have them again. I also wanted my "dream team" rhythm section, so having Neil Swainson already in Vancouver and available at that time was a no brainer!

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

Not really, I just wanted to make a swinging album with amazing players again after 15 years.

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

Writing - Terence Blanchard, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, The Beatles and Joe Henderson

Playing - Roy Haynes, Jimmy Cobb, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Bill Stewart, Jeff Watts, Elvin jones, Brian Blade and Troy Davis

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

Always the Syncopation book Pg 29-32 for limb independence, playing along with tunes and working on other peoples music for different projects.

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

I just finished a recording session last week with vocalist John Neudorf's project. It was with Nancy Walker, Kevin Turcotte and Neil Swainson. I am also starting a series of drumline gigs playing for the Hamilton TiCats games, should be fun and you get to watch the game from the field : )

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

Very much so! I sketch out the tune first with what rhythmical angles, shots and pushes I want. I then sketch out the bass lines. If it's a swing feel, I'll just figure out what shots and pushes and if it's a straight 8th groove, I'll write an actual bass line. I'll then add the harmonic progression and form of the tune.

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

I started out with Kenny Clark, Jimmy Cobb, Ed Thigpen and Philly Joe in my 1st and 2nd years then moved onto Roy Haynes, Brian Blade, Bill Stewart and Jeff "Tain" watts during my McGill Days. I was always playing along to Oscar Peterson's Night Train and Miles' Kind of Blue.

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

Use your practice time wisely while at school, because you won't have that time when you're out of school. Also practice what you NEED to practice, rather than what you already have a handle on. Go play gigs and meet other musicians as much as possible. 

When I moved to Toronto from Montreal in August 2000, I subbed in any big band reading sessions or gigs so I could meet as many musicians as I could. I also called Terry Clark and introduced myself to him : )

Monday, September 4, 2023

Philly Joe Jones!

And...we're back!

I hope you all had a nice and pleasant summer and now easing back into your Fall routine. I'm now back from my own touring and travels, back in the saddle and finally returning to blogging here at Four on the Floor after a nice decent break.

I thought I would start off the first post of the month with some interesting pieces on the great Philly Joe Jones including:

• Philly Joe's Beat by Nate Chinen

• A piece on the occasion of Philly Joe Jones' centennial by Ethan Iverson

• For Philly Joe Jones by Vinnie Sperrazza

The Drum History Podcast features a discussion on PJJ with Tim Carman, author of the new book "Philly-ISM":


• As always, Quincy Davis offers his insightful commentary and observations:


• Ten "must know" PJJ drum solos...

...and (possibly) all of Philly's recorded brush solos compiled here:


• Philly Joe Jones and bassist Paul Chambers playing a bass/drums duet on "I'm Confessin":


• And finally, a very rare recording of Mr. Jones playing an extended solo piece entitled "Spontaneous Expression": 

Philly Joe Jones has long been a personal favourite and important influence of mine, going back to when I was an 18 year-old, first-year music major at school. His hard swinging style, melodically influenced rudiment derived drum solos and extensive recorded legacy offer us a wealth of music to study, learn from and enjoy. Without a doubt, whenever I listen to Philly Joe Jones I hear and learn something new.