Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jorge Rossy on Vibes

A pleasant surprise today (for me anyways...), here's drummer/pianist Jorge Rossy leading his own group, featuring Al Foster on drums, from the behind vibraphone(!):

I didn't know that Rossy played the vibes but he's such an incredibly talented musician, anything is really possible! I really hope to hear more of Rossy's vibraphone playing in the future.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Here's the latest offerings in Jazz Drumming that the Easter Bunny brought for us yesterday…

- This footage of Billy Higgins with Cedar Walton's band has been making the rounds lately and definitely worth taking the time to check out:

Make sure to check out the wealth of other great concerts from this collection as well. Thanks to Adam Nussbaum for passing this one along.

- A nice feature on former Count Basie drummer and long-time drummer with Tony Bennett, the great Harold Jones:

- Danny D'Imperio offers a feature on the great swing drummers and some priceless stories over at his own podcast "Who Dat?":

- An older Jazz Times article featuring Charles Lloyd and Billy Higgins:

- A nice little introduction to playing the brushes that someone sent me and I thought I would share:

- A wonderful feature on the legacy of the VillageVanguard Jazz Orchestra from PBS:

The VVJO is celebrating 50 years of Monday nights at the Village Vanguard. They are always top on my list to go hear whenever I happen to be in New York City on a Monday evening.

The band (featuring John Riley on drums) will also be performing in Calgary, AB in a few weeks, this coming April, so I'm looking forward to hearing this great band in my hometown very soon.

- Thanks to John Riley who passed along this very impressive performance of Ruben Bellavia performing a Tony Williams transcription:

This is what you can achieve if you work hard and practice folks!

- Steve Fidyk offers this quick up-tempo brush lesson:

- A per usual, when the Master's speak….we listen. Here's Louis Hayes interviewed by Susan Brender:

- Not the greatest footage but here's Jack DeJohnette on drums with tap master Savion Glover (from Ornette Coleman's funeral):

Apparently these two have been touring lately as a duet. Let's hope some kind of proper recording is in the works. When I inquired with my dance colleagues they quickly described Glover as "The greatest living tap dancer IN THE WORLD today!".

George Colligan speaks to this collaboration over at his blog Jazz Truth:

- Billy Martin and Allen Herman give us a taste of their new project, "Life on Drums (and Beyond)":

I'm looking forward to this follow-up to Martin's previous venture, "Life on Drums".

- A brief peek at Joshua Redman's latest project "Still Dreaming" with Brian Blade on drums:

- What am I listening to these days?

Ralph Moore "Rejuvenate!" - Marvin Smitty Smith (drums)

Conrad Herwig "Reflections" - Jeff Tain Watts (drums)

Claude Williamson Trio "Round Midnight" - Mel Lewis (drums)

Alan Jones Sextet "Storyline" - Alan Jones (drums)

Kenny Burrell "A Night at the Vanguard" - Roy Haynes (drums)

Red Garland "Swingin' on the Corner: Live at the Keystone Corner" - Philly Joe Jones (drums)

- And today's Last Word goes to the late Dennis Irwin:

Thank you to Adam Nussbaum for passing along this gem.

Thanks again to you all for checking out my blog. See you all again real soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I posted these on my blog a long time ago but have recently been revisiting this band and amazing music. Today's post goes out to Sean Craig, Jim Brenan and Al McLean - three very bad ass tenor saxophonists who've had a profound influence on my own playing over the years.


Monday, March 21, 2016


I really enjoyed this very musical drums and keyboard duet featuring long-time colleagues Adam Nussbaum and Richie Beirach:

Adam is a long-time reader of this blog and I consider him to be a friend and mentor too. The man is all about the music!

Here's some more of his wisdom:

And while we're at it, here's one of my favourite trios featuring Nussbaum with Dave Liebman and Steve Swallow:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rick Considine on Brushes

I'm off to Brandon, MB to adjudicate at the Brandon Jazz Festival for most of this week, so here's some great brush lessons from Rick Considine to check out in the meantime. Lots of great information here:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock Pen an Open Letter to the Next Generation of Artists

As always, when the Masters speak.we listen:
"To the Next Generation of Artists,
We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.
From the horror at the Bataclan, to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.
While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.
We’d like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession.
We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life.
The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through the exploration of new sounds, rhythms, and harmonies or unexpected collaborations, processes and experiences, we encourage you to dispel repetition in all of its negative forms and consequences. Strive to create new actions both musically and with the pathway of your life. Never conform.
The unknown necessitates a moment-to-moment improvisation or creative process that is unparalleled in potential and fulfillment. There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.
We have this idea of failure, but it’s not real; it’s an illusion. There is no such thing as failure. What you perceive as failure is really a new opportunity, a new hand of cards, or a new canvas to create upon. In life there are unlimited opportunities. The words, “success” and “failure”, themselves, are nothing more than labels. Every moment is an opportunity. You, as a human being, have no limits; therefore infinite possibilities exist in any circumstance.
The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
Art in any form is a medium for dialogue, which is a powerful tool. It is time for the music world to produce sound stories that ignite dialogue about the mystery of us. When we say the mystery of us, we’re talking about reflecting and challenging the fears, which prevent us from discovering our unlimited access to the courage inherent in us all. Yes, you are enough. Yes, you matter. Yes, you should keep going.
Arrogance can develop within artists, either from artists who believe that their status makes them more important, or those whose association with a creative field entitles them to some sort of superiority. Beware of ego; creativity cannot flow when only the ego is served.
The medical field has an organization called Doctors Without Borders. This lofty effort can serve as a model for transcending the limitations and strategies of old business formulas which are designed to perpetuate old systems in the guise of new ones. We’re speaking directly to a system that’s in place, a system that conditions consumers to purchase only the products that are dictated to be deemed marketable, a system where money is only the means to an end. The music business is a fraction of the business of life. Living with creative integrity can bring forth benefits never imagined.
Your elders can help you. They are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and catapult you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.
As we accumulate years, parts of our imagination tend to dull. Whether from sadness, prolonged struggle, or social conditioning, somewhere along the way people forget how to tap into the inherent magic that exists within our minds. Don’t let that part of your imagination fade away. Look up at the stars and imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a pilot. Imagine exploring the pyramids or Machu Picchu. Imagine flying like a bird or crashing through a wall like Superman. Imagine running with dinosaurs or swimming like mer-creatures. All that exists is a product of someone’s imagination; treasure and nurture yours and you’ll always find yourself on the precipice of discovery.
How does any of this lend to the creation of a peaceful society you ask? It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you. Be the leaders in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate as you dance through the voyage that is this lifetime." - Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter via

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trilok Gurtu 2.0

Due to the overwhelming response of my last post featuring Trilok Gurtu, here's a few more that caught my eye (and ears…)

- Trilok Gurtu playing a collection of djembe drums from a workshop:

- Concert footage of Gurtu with keyboardist Joe Zawinul circa. 1994:

- And Trilok featured with a trio of percussionists including Brazilian rhythm Master Airto Moreira and Lisbeth Diers:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Trilok Gurtu Thursday

Trilok Gurtu is a very unique percussionist/drummer who's approach almost defies category. I've always been impressed with his creativity, musicality and deep sense of groove. His blending of traditional Indian rhythms and a host of other rhythmic influences and sounds creates an approach wholly his own.

Here's a solo piece from his performance at the Saptak Music Festival in 2013: