Monday, June 19, 2017

Mike Clark

A few previews today of Mike Clark from his upcoming lessons via The Drum Channel. There's some very important information here!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

And....we're back. As always, here's a few things of interest making the rounds via the Four on the Floor office these days:

- Joe LaBarbera offers some reflections on his time working with Bill Evans via All About Jazz:

- A wonderful piece by Nate Chinen on the late Mickey Roker from WBGO:

- A profile on Dave King, from The Bad Plus from NPR:

- This is a wonderful feature on Roy Haynes from Jon Batiste and the Late Show:

I gotta say...Haynes is so bad ass that even those sorry drums sound good when he plays them!

- Max Roach and Cecil Taylor interviewed:

- Joe Farnsworth has been on the road Down Under lately. Here's a feature and an interview all the way from Australia:

And from an older performance in Russia (after drinking some covefefe perhaps?) here's an awesome mallet solo to check out:

- Harvey Mason reflects on the accompanying accomplishments of Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones and Roy Haynes via Bret Primack, the Jazz Video Guy:

Harvey Mason on Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes from Bret Primack on Vimeo.

- Kenny Washington speaks to the influence of the John Kirby Sextet on Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker:

- Irish Jazz drummer (and contributor to this blog!) Conor Guilfoyle is featured over at

- Another great Irish Jazz drummer, David Lyttle, recently wrapped up a road trip through the United States and documented his journey via a podcast and a series of clever videos. Here's one of Lyttle's features, performing in the backyard of Art Blakey's childhood home located in the Hill District of Pittsburgh:

- Quincy Davis, the new Professor of Jazz Drumming at the University of North Texas, offers the first of a two-part series on brush playing:

Looking forward to Part II Q !

- Here's an inspiring one featuring Joe Lovano and Paul Motian's drum set:

Joe&Paul'sDrums from Michael Patrick Kelly on Vimeo.

- This one brought back some memories as I used to hear these guys play together in Montreal during the mid 90s. Here's Pete Magadini burning on Cherokee with Andre White on piano and Alec Walkington on drums:

I always recommend Magadini's books "Learn to Play the Drums" Vol. 1 & 2 to all my beginner drum students.

- Some recent clips of Portlands Alan Jones, a recent favourite drummer/composer/band leader/educator/visionary of mine:

- What am I listening to these days?

Horace Silver "Six Pieces of Silver" - Louis Hayes (drums)

Horace Silver "Trio" - Art Blakey (drums), Sabu (percussion)

David Kikoski "Consequences" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

Art Pepper "Plus Eleven" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Paul Motian "ECM :Rarum"- Paul Motian (drums)

Jorge Rossy "Stay There" - Al Foster (drums), Jorge Rossy (vibraphone)

- And today's Final Word goes to Jim Blackley, an important icon in the realm of Canadian Jazz drumming (who only recently retired from teaching). His teachings have inspired several generations of important Jazz drummers here in Canada:

"The only reason for devoting yourself to a life of Jazz performance must come from a sincere need from within. You must feel deeply from within your heart that this is the path you wish to follow. A decision based on any other reason is fraught with danger....being a musician means being part of a total experience - no winning, no losing"- Jim Blackley

* RIP Adam West (Batman)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Kirk MacDonald & Pat LaBarbera 4tet with Adam Nussbaum

I posted some brief clips of this band awhile ago but fortunately for us here's some well-filmed concert footage, recorded in Ottawa, ON earlier this year, featuring Canadian tenor titans Kirk MacDonald and Pat LaBarbera along with bassist Kieran Overs and guest drummer Adam Nussbaum to enjoy:

If you were looking for a lesson in musical/highly swinging drumming today, you've found it! Nussbaum's sense of flow, graceful sound and motion around the drums always really knocks me out.

Furthermore, I received a copy of their latest album in the mail last month and have really enjoyed the overall group chemistry. Check it out!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bill Stewart!

A compilation today of interviews and close-up footage featuring one of Jazz drumming's modern-day Masters and innovators, the inimitable Bill Stewart.

 - Leo Sidran (son of another great Jazz interviewer, Ben Sidran) interviews Bill Stewart via his exceptional podcast, The Third Story:

- Quincy Davis (recently named Professor of Jazz Drums at the University of North Texas!) interviews Stewart via his web series Q-Tip:

- A couple of clips of Bill playing a set of Lignum drums:

- And I likely posted this one before but here it is again because I think it's awesome...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Joey Baron & Robyn Schulkowsky

We are wrapping up a long weekend up here in Canada, so kick back, relax and enjoy these two clips of Joey Baron and Robyn Schulkowsky, engaged in a true "percussion discussion":

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Conor's Corner: Applying Rumba to the Drumset

This is the first post of what will hopefully be a series of guest blog posts brought to us by my friend and very fine Irish jazz drummer/educator, Conor Guilfoyle. Conor has been sharing wonderful lessons and excellent practical drumming information via YouTube and his website for some time now and I'm thrilled that he will be able to share his great explanations here as well:

"Applying Rumba to the Drumset" - Conor Guilfoyle

Cuban Rumba with its heavy African influences has a vast and rich tradition. It was developed in the cities of urban Cuba at the end of the 19th Century, where it still thrives today, before moving to the USA and then the rest of the world. While there have been some changes in instrumentation and phrasing, its ability to develop while still keeping the original structures in place has kept it relevant today.

In my lesson I'm looking at just one form of the Rumba, the mid-tempo style called "Guaguanco", and to be honest it's just a toe in the water of this vast musical ocean. I also purposely avoid using any percussion extras such as the claves or cowbells but rather use the standard drum kit to recreate the sounds. A rumba ensemble consists of three conga players, a stick percussionist, and singers as well as dancers. We cannot possibly hope to recreate that sound, so instead I focus on the interaction between the clave and the standard conga pattern. If you wanted to take it a step further you replace the clave pattern with the "Cascara", which is a common stick pattern used in many styles of Cuban music including Rumba.

You'll find this pattern and other common Cuban rhythms that I have applied to the standard kit at this link here:

The key of course is to listen to the music. Below is a list of some of the great exponents of this style. Just put their names into YouTube and it will yield a treasure throve of great music. Be careful though, you might never come back!


Recommended Listening:

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
Los Papines
Pancho Quinto
Tata Guines
Mongo Santamaria
Potato Valdes
Joaquin Pozo