Thursday, July 16, 2015

The "Thursday" Morning Paradiddle

I meant to drop this post on Monday morning like I usually do but I've been on and off the road for the better part of two months now and unfortunately my blogging has consequently not been quite as consistent as I like it to be. Anyways, here it is and better late than never I guess! But actually, now that I'm home and almost caught up, I think I'll take a little break from all of this for the next few weeks to recharge my batteries. In the meantime, check this stuff out and we'll see you in a bit...

- An interview with the ever articulate Peter Erskine:

- Jason Marsalis is interviewed at Music Inside Out and also shares some insights into several other important Jazz drummers as well:

- An interview and feature with the ever swinging European Jazz drummer Eric Ineke entitled "I Want the Swing to be Alive":

- Here's a few worthwhile and relevant discussions from the Modern Drummer education team archives:

On Learning Jazz:

Traditional Grip?

On Learning Other Instruments:

- Clayton Cameron discusses "What are the Mathematics of Jazz?" over at NPR:

- Australia's Simon Barker is a very unique, creative drummer that I've only recently been introduced to but I really dig his style:

Also check out his work for solo drum set here:

- The ever resourceful Drummer's Resource Podcast features a very informative interview with John Riley:

- What differentiates human drummers from machines? Fractals. Apparently. (And machines also work for scale haha):

- I recently ran into Montreal's ever swinging Dave Laing during my time at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. Check out this fantastic clip of him playing along with a Joe Henderson and Christian McBride track:

- Benny Green has recently been touring with an Art Blakey tribute project. Here's a clip of the band with Carl Allen taking on the role of Buhaina:

And here's a link to a complete concert featuring this band:

- I've really been fascinated by Max Roach's percussion ensemble M'Boom lately. Here's a concert from 1973 to check out:

- What am I listening to these days?

Curtis Nowosad "Dialectics" - Curtis Nowosad (drums)

Jan Jarczyk "Full Circle" - Jim Doxas (drums)

Jimmy Heath "The Thumper" - Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums)

Kirk MacDonald "The Atlantic Sessions" - Jerry Fuller (drums)

Phil Dwyer "Let Me Tell You About My Day" - Alan Jones (drums)

Keith Copeland "The Irish Connection" - Keith Copeland (drums)

- And today's Last Word goes to Maya Angelou:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Alright, that's all I've got for now. Thanks again for checking in and we'll see each other in a bit. In the meantime, have a great summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Eric Harland with Ben Wendel

A brief post today as I am currently on the road in Saskatchewan and about to spend the next 10 ten days teaching at the Prairielands Jazz Camp, an annual summer Jazz workshop held at the University of Regina.

Last weekend I found myself in Saskatoon performing with a variety of groups at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. As I also heard several great groups during my stay including the band Kneebody
(with the great Nate Wood on drums). Trumpeter Patrick Boyle has been raving about these guys for years so I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to hear them play.

I was really impressed with this group and, in particular, tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel. I really dug his original concept, huge sound and the energy he brought to the music.

Ben has a series of duet videos up on entitled "The Seasons". Check out this episode featuring a duet with drummer Eric Harland:

Monday, June 29, 2015


And now a few words about Billy Higgins...

Here's a few more pieces to check out....

- Nasheet Waits offers his favourites recordings of Billy Higgins:

- A drummer's roundtable discussion on the legacy of his drumming:

- And two more interviews and some words of wisdom with the man himself:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lewis Nash with Renee Rosnes

Today we bring you a complete concert featuring the stellar quartet of pianist Renee Rosnes with Steve Nelson on vibes, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums:

I recently heard this very same band in Toronto at the Jazz Bistro during the Toronto Jazz Festival. They are currently touring the Canadian Jazz festival circuit. I believe they will also be recording together this summer (lucky for us!)

The music I heard was outstanding and they exhibited a certain group sympatico that only comes from playing together for a very long time (in my estimation likely around 30 years given the different circumstances they have collectively played in...) I really identify with the style and sound of Jazz music in which these four music exhibit both individually and collectively.

I actually had the best seat in the house (!) and found myself directly behind Nash's drums (nice to see that the Jazz Bistro in Toronto has inadvertently continued the tradition of the "drummer's row", a strategically placed group of seats, not unlike those at the Village Vanguard, where you can enjoy an intimate and unobstructed view of the drummer...)

Nash's drumming was, of course, exceptional. I've seen him play many times but this time I was really drawn to his clear and constant orchestrations of not only the melody, arrangement and form but also the soloist in question. His ears and priorities are always tuned to the music and it all adds up to a very satisfying musical and hard swinging result. Quite a lesson indeed!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dave Laing "Joy Spring"

Another post today featuring the amazing Dave Laing, my former drum teacher at McGill University (Montreal, QC).

Here's Dave demonstrating how to orchestrate melodic ideas around the drum set, in this case Clifford Brown's transcribed trumpet solo from the Max Roach/Clifford Brown hit tune "Joy Spring":

This is very impressive and a stark reminder of how much vocabulary and creative information we can gain from studying solos of jazz musicians of ANY instrument, not just the drums.

In fact, when I interviewed Dan Weiss for my doctoral research he spoke at length about how this particular concept has influenced and informed his own "melodic" approach to the drum set.

Boston's Bob Gullotti also spoke to me extensively about how he teaches students how to learn melodic drum solo vocabulary by means of studying Charlie Parker's solos and phrases found within the pages of the Charlie Parker Omnibook. I've been investigating these ideas myself and find it a fascinating study.

Well, back to the drawing board/woodshed...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Conversations with "The Birdman"

An insightful interview and "conversation" today with the world's "Birdman" of the drums, Antonio Sanchez: