WELCOME TO FOUR ON THE FOUR: A BLOG ABOUT JAZZ DRUMMING AND ALL THINGS UNRELATED, BROUGHT TO YOU BY JON McCASLIN

Friday, September 23, 2022

Jazz Drumming Workshops with Jon McCaslin

 

I'm starting up a monthly in-person drum workshop series on the topic of all things related to jazz drumming. These group sessions will only accommodate a limited number of students.

These monthly workshops and group sessions will address such topics as time keeping, ride cymbal techniques, comping, independence & coordination, snare drum rudiments, brush playing, soloing, jazz drumming history and more!

Saturday afternoons 1 -3 pm

October 15 - November 19 - December 17

Theatre 1308

1308 Edmonton Trail NE

$40 per session 

Space is limited!

The first session will be held on Saturday, October 15th 1-3pm. 

Please pre-register here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/jazz-drumming-workshop-tickets-421534490007

For more information please e.mail fouronthefloorblog@gmail.com

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Monday Morning Paradiddle - September 2022

I'm about to take a short break from blogging these days and heading out on the road shortly with Calgary's Decidedly Jazz Danceworks' production of Family of Jazz.








If you are in the Calgary area please check us out this week September 22nd and 23rd www.decidedlyjazz.com or if you are in Toronto we'll be performing as part of the Fall For Dance North festival on September 30th and October 1st-2nd www.ffdn.com








See you soon Toronto!

In the meantime here's plenty of interesting things to check out:

1) Tyshawn Sorey Loves to Confound from Bandcamp

2) Dafnis Prieto on the creative process and his new album Cantar from Jazz.FM 91

3) Ronan Guilfoyle interviews Jamey Haddad for his podcast The Art & Science of Time:

4) Thomas Wendt continues with his Jazz Drumming Essentials for The Drum Candy Podcast:

...an interview with the Jazz Maniac Kenny Washington:

...and this interview with the great Andy Watson:

Keep up the great work Thomas!

5) Aldo Mazza interviews Terri Lyne Carrington and John Riley:

 

6) Han Bennink plays a solo improvisation at the Bishopsgate Institute in London:

7) UNT professor Quincy Davis continues with his always incredible and informative Q-Tips series on YouTube including a guest appearance by the one and only Geoff Clapp!

8) Drum Channel's Lombardi Live! interviews the great Harold Jones:

 

9) Dr. Jazz Talks Samo Salamon interviews Bill Goodwin:

 

10) Pianist Emmet Cohen features Lenny White on "Joshua":

 

...and Joe Saylor on "After You've Gone":

11) Classic Jeff "Tain" Watts with Kenny Kirkland:

 

12) Some ferocious drumming from Cindy Blackman recorded at the 2020 Drumeo Festival:

13) Time to Connect podcast features Kendrick Scott and Johnathan Blake:

14) Pause and Effect: a duet between drummer Drori Mondlak and vibraphonist David Friedman:

15) Congratulations to Billy Drummond and his band Freedom of Ideas on their latest release Valse Sinistre with features from:

NPR

JazzTimes

The Working Drummer Podcast

Marlbank

Look for an exclusive Four on the Floor interview with Billy Drummond coming in October!

16) Dig this footage of the legendary tap dancer Jimmy Slyde and Rakalam Bob Moses in this Percussion Discussion

  

17) Dig this one of Max Roach playing with the brushes:

 

18) Thank you to Brandon Toews and Drumeo for the shout out in this feature on Elvin Jones:


19) What am I listening to these days?

Neil Swainson "Fire in the West" - Lewis Nash (drums)

Allison Miller & Carmen Staff "Nearness" - Allison Miller (drums)

Alan Jones "You Took Me Home" - Alan Jones (drums)

Kenny Clare & Ronnie Stephenson "Drum Spectacular" - Kenny Clare and Ronnie Stephenson (drums)

Billy Drummond & Freedom of Ideas "Valse Sinistre" - Billy Drummond (drums)


20) And today's Final Word goes to bassist MonoNeon who shared his inspiring art manifesto:







....and to John Riley who offered this motivating statement:

"It's easy to be mediocre at the drums!"

- John Obi-Wan Gandalf Riley (Yoda)

(via Ferenc Nemeth)





Thursday, September 15, 2022

Syncopated Stick Control










I was on the road for most of the month of August driving across northern Saskatchewan but made a point of spending daily time on my drum pad and, among other things, trying to think up some new ways to practice and reinvent some older materials (while also focusing on the Marvin Smitty Smith rudiment ritual).

This particular exercise and concept was inspired by Todd Bishop's great exercises that he consistently shares over at his wonderful blog Cruiseship Drummer and some clever Stick Control exercises that John Riley showed me last year when I was studying with him.

Syncopated Stick Control

George Lawrence Stone's seminal text Stick Control is an important study for any serious student of the drums. However, while it's great for many things (ie. developing fluency with different stickings, etc.) it doesn't go very deep in terms of actual syncopated rhythmic variations. So here's a very quick and easy way to add a little syncopated spice into your pot of stick control chili.

Here are a few variations to mess around with :

*Start with Pages 5-7 of Stick Control*

1) Whenever a double Right is written (ie. RR) omit the first R and replace it with a rest

For example a single paradiddle would transform like this:

RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL would play like this: RL-R LRLL RL-R LRLL

* - = indicates a rest! *

Similarly, a triple paradiddle would play like this:

RLRL RLRR LRLR LRLL = RLRL RL-R LRLR LRLL


2) Now do the same as above but apply this to the Left hand instead


3) Apply this "omission" rule to both the Right and Left hands:

ie. RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL = RL-R LR-L RL-R LR-L


4) Now what happens if you have three or more hands in succession? 

If you have three or more hands in a row, leave out the 3rd 8th note (using the same combinations as described above)

For example, here'a few variations:

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RR-R LLLL RR-R LLLL

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RRRR LL-L RRRR LL-L

or

RRRR LLLL RRRR LLLL = RR-R LL-L RR-R LL-L


5) Another quick variation that presents some interesting combinations is to leave out the 1st and/or 5th eighth notes of each line. Invariably some interesting and, more importantly, practical patterns that you can use will emerge.


I've also taken a few lessons with George Marsh (author of Inner Drumminglately and he pointed out something quite profound that I think applies to the concepts I've described above.

As you explore each syncopated line (essentially by taking away notes and adding rests) listen to the unique rhythms that emerge from both the right and left hands individually. To make the individual rhythms even more obvious, place your right hand on the cymbal with the left hand on the snare drum and observe the individual rhythms that emerge. George Marsh describes this as rhythmic awareness.

More on this later as things are about to get really busy again. Once I have an opportunity to elaborate more I'll share some four-way coordinated independence applications, using these Syncopated Stick Control variations that I came up with.




Monday, September 12, 2022

Louis Hayes - One of a Kind














Some burning footage of the great jazz drummer and 2023 NEA Jazz Master Louis Hayes, in action here with Freddie Hubbard, Don Braden and Benny Green circa. 1991:

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Emancipation of Elvin Jones - Downbeat 1966




















One of the beauties of social media is the rare pieces of jazz history that occasionally pop up. Here's a scan of a 1966 Downbeat article and interview written by Mike Hennessy on Elvin Jones (incidentally, Hennessy was also the author of the book Klook: The Story of Kenny Clarke). 

Dig this: