Monday, June 24, 2024

Jason Marsalis on Odd Meters

Thanks to Jason Marsalis for offering this lesson on playing odd meters and how to explore phrasing patterns with a sense flow, groove and musicality:

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Get Your Four on the Floor t-shirt Today!

Hey the classic black Four on the Floor t-shirts are still available however they are going quick!

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

Don't miss out and order today while supplies last!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Al Harewood!

Thanks to Mike Melito for sharing this rare footage of the great Al Harewood in action with Stan Getz circa. 1963:

Al Harewood is an important drummer who is generally overlooked and every drummer should check him out. 

During my studies at McGill University during the mid 90s Stanley Turrentine's album Up at Mintons was required listening, assigned to all the drummers who were studying with teacher Chris McCann at the time.

When I once asked Harold Mabern about Al Harewood he replied: "This cat was into SWINGING!"

Here's a nice piece on Al Harewood from Ethan Iverson's blog Do the Math on the occasion of Harewood's passing in 2014: https://ethaniverson.com/2014/03/14/rip-al-harewood/

As you can see from the selected discography in Iverson's column, Harewood's deep swing was in high demand.

I spoke with Al Harewood at length over the phone once, for several hours, back the late 90s. I had an assignment for Kevin Dean's Performance Practice class at McGill and I was required to interview a living jazz musician. So I called up the musician's union in New York and asked for Harewood's phone number and gave him a call. He was a bit confused as to why some kid from Montreal was interested in his career (!) however he was very generous with his time and patiently answered my questions at length. I recorded the whole thing on cassette but unfortunately 25+ years and several moves later I fear that they may have been lost.

Anyways, if you're serious about SWINGING then check out Al Harewood!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Four on the Floor *Live* featuring David Stanoch

Please join us for our next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, June 19th at 7pm MST (9pm EST), appearing on Instagram IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring David Stanoch.

We'll be talking all about drums, cymbals and whatever else happens to be on our mind...

David Stanoch has drummed professionally since age 12. A student of masters Elliot Fine, Alan Dawson, Max Roach, Jeff Hamilton, Chad Wackerman, Ignacio Berroa, and others, he has built an eclectic musical reputation performing with artists from the worlds of jazz, rock, R&B, Broadway, motion picture and television including the Airmen of Note, Jackson Browne, Hiram Bullock, Charo, George Clinton, Sheryl Crow, Richard Davis, Herb Ellis, Robert Goulet, Colonel Bruce Hampton, Scott Henderson, Freedy Johnston, Shirley Jones, Stanley Jordan, Shari Lewis, Jack McDuff, the Minnesota Orchestra, Keb’ Mo, New Kids On The Block, Bob Newhart, Christine Ohlman, Regis Philbin, Bernard Purdie, Bonnie Raitt, Walfredo de Los Reyes, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Danny Seraphine, Doc Severinsen, Ed Shaughnessy, Martin Short, Ben Sidran, Jab’o Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, Timbuk 3, Butch Vig, Fred Wesley, and The Supremes’ Mary Wilson. He is currently musical director for Emmy-winner, Shaun Johnson’s Big Band Experience.

David served on the faculty of McNally Smith College of Music for 27 years and has guest-taught at the Berklee College of Music. He regularly gives clinics and masterclasses around North America including NAMM, PASIC and KoSA events. David is an advisor to the Percussive Arts Society Drumset Committee, and Drumset Editor for the PAS Percussive Notes magazine. David is member of the Modern Drummer, Remo, and Vic Firth Educational Teams and was presented the Legacy in Education Award by the YAMAHA Corporation of America in 2018. In 2020, he was one of four renowned drummers selected by the NAMM Foundation’s Percussion Marketing Council to participate in their 25th Anniversary Lesson With a Master Contest.

David has authored Mastering the Tables of Time (“#1 Edu Book,” Modern Drummer 2009 Readers Poll), co-authored The 2 in 1 Drummer (2014 Modern Drummer & DRUM! Magazine Edu Book Nominee), both available in print from Alfred Music Publishing. Mastering the Tables of Time is also available digitally from Hudson Music and was recently named one of their 10 best selling titles of 2020. David was also “Drumming History and Analysis Consultant” for Jim Berkenstadt’s book, The Beatle Who Vanished~The Unsolved Mystery of Jimmie Nicol, currently being made into a major motion picture. 

David proudly endorses the premier percussion products made by Yamaha, Paiste, Remo, Vic Firth, Latin Percussion and Prologix.


Monday, June 10, 2024

Fast Tempos!

I've had several insightful conversations lately with Peter Retzlaff and Jacob Wutzke about the art of playing breakneck fast tempos. 

It's a specific thing that's not quite in vogue as it used to be back in the day but still worth considering imo. However, it also requires a specific approach to technique, a concept and a vocabulary that's distinct from playing slower tempos. It's not just a matter of mastering your medium tempo coordination, vocabulary and ideas and then speeding them up! It's also the kind of thing that you need to practice, make a study of and, most importantly, play with other people on a regular basis. That's how Max, Art, Tony, etc. all did it.

Anyways, here's a few videos that I've found to be very helpful in developing an approach to playing fast tempos on the drums:

John Riley

Rick Dior

Ralph Peterson

Ari Hoenig

Joe Farnsworth

Quincy Davis

Ulysses Owens Jr.

Kenny Washington

Carl Allen and Christian McBride

I'm always curious about how other drummers approach playing these tempos.

What are your favourite go-to recordings for ideas and inspiration?

What are the things you like to practice to get your fast tempos together?

Send me your favourite recordings to listen to and I'll share them here!

Friday, June 7, 2024

Four on the Floor *Live* featuring Sherrie Maricle!


Please join us for our next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening next Wednesday, June 12th at 7pm MST (9pm EST), appearing on Instagram IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Sherrie Maricle.

We'll be talking all about drums, cymbals and whatever else happens to be on our mind...

From the drum set Sherrie leads The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, her quintet FIVE PLAY and co-leads the 3D Jazz Trio. She is also a busy freelance performer, a published composer/arranger and a dedicated educator, clinician, guest conductor and soloist. 

With her bands Sherrie has performed at many of the world’s most acclaimed music venues and festivals, from Lincoln Center to the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl, to Jazz Festivals in Germany, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Ireland, England, Croatia, Japan, Vietnam, and Israel and beyond. Additionally, Sherrie and DIVA were featured at the 2017 NEA Jazz Master’s Awards Ceremony, the soundtrack for the NBC-Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular; on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, on TCM’s televised broadcast of the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and NHK Japan’s New York Jazz. The band also co-stars in the award-winning documentary film The Girls in the Band. 

Sherrie has received several awards and honors which include the 2022 Ronald McDonald House – New York’s Music for Hope award; 2016 Audelco Award for “Best Musical” – Tappin’ Thru Life; 2014 Ovation award for “Best Music Direction” in Tappin Thru Life; the 2009 Mary Lou Williams-Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award, a 2013 State Department grant for FIVE PLAY to tour Vietnam, a tour grant from Arts International, The Kennedy Center Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Arts, a grant from Meet the Composer, a Doctoral Fellowship from New York University, the New York City Music Educator’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and was twice selected New York University “Music Teacher of the Year.” 

As an educator, Sherrie runs a private drum set and percussion studio. She is also a clinician for Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads and Vic Firth Drumsticks. From coast-tocoast she also serves as a guest conductor, soloist, and adjudicator for collegiate and high school jazz festivals. 15 years ago, Sherrie created, and remains the Music Director for Musical Magic, a hospital outreach program for The Ronald McDonald House – New York. She is currently on the faculty of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. 

Sherrie graduated from Union-Endicott High School in Endicott, N.Y. in 1981. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University in 1985, then moved to New York City to attend New York University, where she completed a Master of Arts in Jazz Performance in 1986 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Jazz Performance/Composition in 2000. 

Sherrie’s recent recordings include The DIVA Jazz Orchestra Swings Broadway (2022), The 3D Jazz Trio 9 to 5 (2022) and FIVE PLAY “LIVE” at The Firehouse Stage (2019) 

Sherrie loves to swing!


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Four on the Floor *Live* featuring Jacob Wutzke!

Please join us for our next episode of Four on the Floor *Live* happening this Thursday, June 6th at 12pm MST (2pm EST), appearing on Instagram IGTV @fouronthfloorblog featuring Jacob Wutzke.

We'll be talking all about drums, cymbals and whatever else happens to be on our mind...

Jacob Wutzke is a Montréal based drummer, bandleader, author, composer and music educator. Noted for his exceptional technique, creativity and ability to listen and improvise in the moment, he is an in-demand musician as a sideman and as a leader in the jazz and creative music scenes.

A staple of the Canadian music scene, he has performed and recorded with Caity Gyorgy (2x JUNO Award Winner), Ira Coleman, Jocelyn Gould, Bryn Roberts, Pat LaBarbera, Sam Kirmayer and more. He has also self-published several drum method books to develop technique and phrasing that have become essential practice tools for drummers around the world.

A part of the 2019 Graduating Class of Humber College's Bachelor of Music program, as well as the 2022 Graduating Class of McGill University's Jazz Performance Master's Degree, Jacob is well-established in his local music scenes, as well as across Canada and the USA where he has been seen performing coast to coast at premiere venues, clubs and jazz festivals. He is also a committed music educator and author, teaching private lessons to students worldwide and giving workshops, lessons & masterclasses at high schools and universities in his travels. He teaches students of all levels and levels of experience, many of whom have gone on to enrol in music degrees around the world, and lead successful professional careers.

Jacob has released 2 albums as a leader — a full length LP entitled “Show Yourself” (February 2023) as well as a duo album with saxophonist Lucas Dubovik entitled “Take it in Stride” (April 2024).

Jacob proudly endorses Evans Drumheads, ProMark Sticks, Pergamon Cymbals, Protection Racket cases, and Cympad felts.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Cozy Cole: "L'Aventure du Jazz"

Thanks to Andrew Dickeson for sharing this fantastic footage of the great Cozy Cole in action, from a French jazz documentary.