Bud Powell in Europe

Dig this compilation footage of Bud Powell with drummer Kenny Clarke:

The Calgary Scene - John Reid

Today's column features John Reid, a longtime member of the Calgary Jazz community. John is the full time Prairie Regional Director of the Canadian Music Centre in Calgary, and Artistic Director of the Jazz Is Society of Alberta. He has had a radio show weekly for 22 years; from 1981 to 1991 he hosted the weekly Jazz Space and Jazz Spectrum programs on CJAY 92 FM in Calgary and since 1988 he has done the weekly program The Canadian Music Centre Presents on CJSW 90.9 FM in Calgary. Reid has taught Jazz History on an annual basis as Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary since 1984. He teaches a new course at U of C that he founded, called The African Effect in Music. Reid is a Master of Arts degree candidate at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and his thesis topic is the music of Dexter Gordon. Reid is the founder and past chairman of the Calgary International Jazz Festival (1980) and founding secretary and past president of the Jazz Calgary society.

1) Can you tell us about your musical background? How did you learn to play Jazz?

I took piano lessons, sang in the church choir, played alto saxophone in the school band, heard R&B and then went nuts! I took a class at U of C and learned the blues! Eventually I got a job touring with the band "Stratus Faction".

2) Who are your musical influences and why?

Dexter Gordon - because I love his logic.

3) Name your favorite albums:

Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue"

The Brecker Brothers - anything

Dexter Gordon - "Go!"

4) What sort of things are you practising or developing musically these days?

I practice a few minutes a day in the morning, usually working with an Aebersold play-a-long and things for the Instrumental Society's "Master Saxophonists" concert series.

5) What interesting projects do you have on the go at the moment? (gigs, recordings, etc.)

I play an annual jazz spot with the Instrumental Society of Calgary concert series and play in the funk/gospel band at Central United Church.

6) As the artistic director of the Jazz Is Society of Alberta you have been very active over the years in bringing guest artists to Calgary from abroad and featuring them with local Calgary Jazz artists. What can you tell us about some of the guest artists you’ve worked with and what you’ve learned from them. What future plans does Jazz Is have for presenting live Jazz music in Calgary?

I think that the opportunity for many of us to work with visiting jazz artists has been excellent. I have noticed a difference over the years in the way that local artists who have participated have improved their playing,in their abilities to put difficult music together at short notice, to concentrate and focus with an audience present, and to improve their soloing. It's been very gratifying.

7) Favorite place to eat in Calgary?

Notable Restaurant in my local community of Montgomery.

Bird Lives!

Happy Birthday Charlie Parker!

Lhasa - The Living Road

Everyone knows that when you release your debut album, consisting of an assortment of sophisticated and worldly numbers performed in Spanish, and that album goes on to make a far bigger splash worldwide than anyone expected, the only sensible course of action is to...run away and join the circus? That's precisely what Lhasa de Sela did following the success of La Llorona: she joined with other members of her family, which always had a nomadic streak in it, and toured around Europe as part of a circus. Upon her return, she got to work on The Living Road, an album about travel, whether it be wheels upon the road, or through life itself. It's hard to say whether the experience of life on the road was the catalyst for the broadening of the writing this time out; there are songs in Spanish, French, and English this time out, but all three are languages that Lhasa was immersed in beforehand. Musically, it's a natural follow-up to La Llorona, drawing from many of the same traditional styles and blending them with more modern instrumentation into a very seamless, sophisticated, and sensual mélange, one that thankfully never tips over into the pretentious, condescending, or hokey. And then, of course, there's the real star of the show: Lhasa's voice, which is never short of gorgeous throughout. It's a fantastic follow-up release; hopefully, it won't mean another five-year wait while she hides out under the big top. - by Sean Carruthers, AMG

Artist: Lhasa de Sela
Album: The Living Road
Year: 2003
Label: Les Disques Audiogramme
Runtime: 49:47


1.  Con toda palabra (Lhasa de Sela/Yves Desrosiers/Vincent Segal) 4:30
2.  La marée haute (Lhasa de Sela/Riad Malek) 3:24
3.  Anywhere On This Road (Lhasa de Sela) 4:37
4.  Abro la ventana (Yves Desrosiers) 4:03
5.  J'arrive a la ville (Lhasa de Sela) 5:58
6.  La frontera (Lhasa de Sela) 3:02
7.  La confession (Lhasa de Sela/Yves Desrosiers/Didier Dumoutier) 3:45
8.  Small Song (Lhasa de Sela) 2:26
9.  My Name (Lhasa de Sela/Jerome Lapierre/Vincent Segal) 4:17
10.  Pa' llegar a tu lado (Lhasa de Sela) 4:32
11.  Para el fin del mundo o el ano nuevo (Lhasa de Sela) 4:23
12.  Soon This Space Will Be Too Small (Lhasa de Sela) 4:45

Lhasa de Sela (Vocals)
Jean Massicotte (Keyboards, Theremin, Guitar)
Francois Lalonde (Vibraphone, Percussion, Marimba, Glockenspiel, Bass Guitar)
Mario Légaré (Bass Guitar, Double Bass)
Rick Haworth (Steel Guitar, Guitar)
Sheila Hannigan (Violoncello)
Marie-Soleil Bélanger (Violoncello)
Ibrahim Maalouf (Trumpet)
Jean-Denis Levasseur (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Ukulele)
Claude Fradette (Steel Guitar) - 1,4
Olivier Langevin (Guitar) - 3
Juan José Carranza (Guitar) - 6
Christophe Papadimitriou (Double Bass) - 2
Gilles Brisebois (Bass Guitar) - 1
Bernard Falaise (Guitar) - 12

Ron Carter Masterclass

Today's post is for all my friends of the bass clef persuasion. Here's bassist and Jazz legend Ron Carter from a recent masterclass at Loyola University:

Pat Metheny Trio w/Roy Haynes

Hearing the Pat Metheny album "Question & Answer" was the first time I ever heard drummer Roy Haynes. I was hooked from the very first note and have never looked back since...Here's that very same trio (with Dave Holland on bass) from a European concert date:

Thanks to Patrick Boyle who sent this one my way all the way from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland.

Randy Weston - Saga

Saga is a recording of high energy and creativity. Adding yet another chapter to his ever-evolving story, of the music Randy takes a different turn on this recording. Saga is a vibrant celebration of life. In the Saga Wolof language, according to Randy, Saga means coming together "or coming home." It's celebratory spirit is, in part, due to the rich excitement created the week before by Randy and some of the African Rhythms musicians in Toronto, Canada, where Randy played for a week at the Top 'O the senator jazz club. Due to the great enthusiasm and eager anticipation shown by Randy Weston’s fans, and also to the Adept. Successful media blitz created and perpetuated by Michael Ikeda, Randy was very well-received in Toronto in April 1994. It was also the week of his birthday when he became a radiant, youthful 69 years young. The Toronto gig was more like a party to celebrate not only his birthday but another chapter to his unending story of the music and its African origins. However, although Randy didn't plan it that way, this gig also served as a warm-up for Randy and some of the musicians who participated on the recording session of Saga. The musical director for the recording, Talib Kibwe, percussionist Neil Clarke, bassist Alex Blake and Randy Weston all had the chance to capture that spirit of high energy that They continued to boost at the recording of Saga in New York at the hit factory studios before joining the rest of the cast of musicians : Billy Harper, saxophone, Billy Higgins, drums, and Benny Powell, trombone. - from Randy's website

Atrist: Randy Weston Africa Rhythms
Album: Saga
Year: 1995
Label: Gitanes Jazz
Total playing: 74:00

1.  The Beauty of it All 6:13 
2.  Loose Wig 7:15 
3.  Tangier Bay 8:42 
4.  F.E.W. Blues 6:41 
5.  Uncle Neemo 8:00 
6.  Lagos 4:17 
7.  A Night in Mbari 4:38 
8.  Saucer Eyes 6:35 
9.  The Three Pyramids and the Sphynx 6:11 
10.  Casbah Kids 2:55 
11.  Jahjuka 5:25 
12.  The Gathering 7:01 
All compositions - by Randy Weston

Randy Weston (Piano)
Billy Harper (Tenor Saxophone)
Benny Powell (Trombone)
Talib Kibwe (Alto Saxophone and Flute)
Alex Blake (Double Bass)
Billy Higgins (Drums)
Neil Clarke (Percussion)

Kendrick Scott & Co.

Some great playing here from Kendrick Scott in a jam session (?) with the likes of Chris Potter, Joe Lovano and Francois Moutin on some great tried, tested and true tunes:

Donald Byrd - The Cat Walk

Trumpeter Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams worked together on several recordings between 1958 and 1961, and The Cat Walk (released on LP in 1962) is among the best. A quintet setting, with pianist Duke Pearson (another longtime Byrd collaborator), bassist Laymon Jackson, and a lively Philly Joe Jones on drums joining the front line of Byrd and Adams, the sessions for The Cat Walk benefited from the writing and arrangement skills of Pearson, who contributes three compositions here, the impressive opener "Say You're Mine," "Duke's Mixture," and "Hello Bright Sunflower," which borrows its melodic structure from the opening bars of "Lullaby of Broadway" and features Byrd using a muted trumpet. Byrd contributed the title track, which attempts to capture the coiled, taut, but somehow still relaxed and assured gait of a tomcat, thanks in no small part to Jones' inspired drumming which hits the mark with stops and turns and smooth run-outs that are indeed very feline in nature. Byrd's playing throughout is typically sleek and lyrical, and Adams' sturdy, husky baritone sound is the perfect counterbalance, making The Cat Walk an essential Byrd purchase. - by Steve Leggett, AMG

Artist: Donald Byrd
Album: The Cat Walk
Year: 1961
Label: Blue Note (24-bit rematered by RVG, 2007)
Runtime: 41:10

1.  Say You're Mine (Duke Pearson) 7:26
2.  Duke's Mixture (Duke Pearson) 7:09
3.  Each Time I Think Of You (Donald Byrd) 5:44
4.  The Cat Walk (Donald Byrd) 6:48
5.  Cute (Neal Hefti) 6:25
6.  Hello Bright Sunflower (Duke Pearson) 7:36

Donald Byrd (Trumpet)
Pepper Adams (Baritone Saxophone)
Duke Pearson (Piano)
Laymon Jackson (Double Bass)
Philly Joe Jones (Drums)

Cozy Cole Swings

Another short segment from the same French documentary that featured Papa Jo Jone and Milt Buckner last week, here's drummer Cozy Cole showing us how it was done:


A full-length documentary to keep you busy today....here's an up close look at Charles Mingus:

This film actually has a special place in my heart as I first saw a portion of this on PBS when I was 16 years old while flipping through the channels on the television one evening. I only caught a part of it but between the great playing (featuring Dannie Richmond on drums!), Mingus' great compostions and a glimpse into his enigmatic and eccentric personality this 'glimpse' certainly set the stage for a personal lifetime appreciation of his music.

Kenny Dorham - Whistle Stop

In 1975, five British critics picked Whistle Stop as one of 200 albums that belonged in a basic library of jazz recorded after World War II (see Modern Jazz 1945-70: The Essential Recordings, Argus Books). In his essay on this LP, Michael James noted the difficulty in selecting from among Kenny Dorham's many fine efforts, and mentioned his great 1959 New Jazz date Quiet Kenny as another session worthy of consideration. Whistle Stop got the nod, however, for capturing Dorham's mature trumpet stíle, showcasing his talents as a composer, and surrounding him with such a sympathetic cast... - by Bob Blumenthal

Kenny Dorham was always underrated throughout his career, not only as a trumpeter but as a composer. The CD reissue of Whistle Stop features seven of his compositions, none of which have been picked up by any of the "Young Lions" of the '90s despite their high quality and many fresh melodies. Dorham teams up with tenor-saxophonist Hank Mobley (who he had recorded with previously along with Art Blakey and Max Roach), pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones for a set of lively, fresh, and consistently swinging music. This is a generally overlooked near-classic set. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Kenny Dorham
Album: Whistle Stop
Year: 1961
Label: Blue Note (24-bit -RVG- remastered, 1999)
Runtime: 38:44

1.  Philly Twist 5:39
2.  Buffalo 7:43
3.  Sunset 6:18
4.  Whistle Stop 5:57
5.  Sunrise in Mexico 5:39
6.  Windmill 6:18
7.  Dorham's Epitaph 1:10
All compositions by Kenny Dorham

Kenny Dorham (Trumpet)
Hank Mobley (Tenor Saxophone)
Kenny Drew (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Double Bass)
Philly Joe Jones (Drums)

The Andre White Interview

Today's special interview features Montreal Jazz drummer, pianist, recording engineer and McGill University professor Andre White.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Andre has released a new album entitled "Code White" that features him on drums joined by trumpeters Kevin Dean and Joe Sullivan, Remi Bolduc on alto saxophone, Kirk MacDonald on tenor saxophone and Neil Swainson on bass. Half of the tracks feature Sullivan's four horn arrangements of Andre's original compositions and the other half features a two saxophone, chordless quartet with bass and drums. The music and playing (as always with this cast) is outstanding.

I decided to take this opportunity to ask Andre about his new album and some other questions regarding his drumming and music:

1) What can you tell us about your musical background?

My father was a jazz pianist so I grew up listening to Hank Mobley and Donald Byrd, Charlie Parker, Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and a lot of boogie woogie, which he used to play almost every day when he had the time. I got my first drum set when I was 12, an old set of WFL's from a friend of my father's who had retired. Before that I was making noises on the pots and pans in the kitchen when I could. I took some piano lessons when I was young, but hated it, and didn't really consider the piano until I was 15 or so, and after that I more or less taught myself.

How did you learn to play Jazz drums?

Another friend of my father's, Keith "Spike" McKendry, who is a legendary figure to a lot of Montreal and Toronto musicians, showed me paradiddles, which confused me for the next 30 years! He also ranted about Kenny Clarke, and I went out and bought Dexter Gordon's "Our Man in Paris" on vinyl, which was the only disc I could find that named Klook. After hearing "A Night in Tunisia" I was completely sold. After that I played in a rock band called Zodiac with guitarist Bill Coon, and the two of us continued playing and writing music together through high school, CEGEP, and after.

2) Who are your musical influences and why?

Well, I try to listen to everything, but the stuff that I return to again and again is Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Max Roach, Kenny Wheeler, Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, etc.

Who are your favorite drummers?

Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Frankie Dunlop, Jerry Fuller, Paul Motian, Jon Christensen, Jack DeJohnette, Papa Jo Jones, all of them!

3) Name your top 10 favorite albums and how they have influenced you.

This is very difficult, because I spend most mornings before school starts listening to new stuff I have discovered in my Internet travels, trying to fill the holes I have missed in the past. So here are ten IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1) Bud Powell - "A Portrait of Thelonious"

2) Stan Getz - "Focus"

3) John Coltrane - "A Love Supreme", "Transition", "Interstellar Space"

4) Art Tatum - "Solo Masterpieces"

5) Jimmy Raney - "Motion"

6) Jimmy Raney - "Solo"

7) Bill Evans - "Turn Out the Stars"

8) Elvin Jones - "Coalition"

9) Billie Holiday - "The Complete Columbia Recordings"

10) Kenny Wheeler - "Music for Large and Small Ensembles"

4) What sort of things are you practicing on the drums and developing musically these days?

I'm trying to get better at playing lots of different tempos, and being able to subdivide well in those tempos. I'm also really trying to develop my soloing to speak more as Max did, and especially Frankie Dunlop, because my technique is limited, and I'm getting older and I feel a certain urgency to be able to express myself more clearly. I'm continuing to develop my doubles at a lower dynamic level to achieve this, and I'm also trying to make the switch between doubles and singles as seamless in my soloing as can be.

5) What interesting projects do you have on the go at the moment? (gigs, recordings, etc.)

I just finished a three day recording project which reunited Bill Coon, Dan Skakun and myself playing the original music we used to play almost every week for a few years that never went anywhere. Bill and I revised some of the music through email, and we recorded as many of our tunes from back then that we could. I'm very happy that I was able to make this happen, and feel that I finally have something I can feel good about after I'm gone.

6) Over the years you have accompanied a wide range of Jazz artists as a drummer. What musical "lessons" have you learned from some of the people you have played with?

I learned a lot from my experience with mainly two musicians: Sonny Greenwich and Steve Grossman. Both of them liked to play long solos, and Sonny encouraged me to get away from strict time keeping. That forced me to check out more modern drummers and more modern music, which I desperately needed to do at the time. I had to invent a way of playing that had some time keeping, but also had way more interaction and power. With Steve I had to figure out how to provide momentum behind the soloist during chorus after chorus, learning where the music had to go up dynamically and where it was OK to come down dynamically in a subtle way while the solo continued so that there was more dynamics available as it continued. It's not just dynamics that change, but density in the music as well. Most drummers are used to increasing the density by about the third or fourth chorus of a solo. When you have twenty or thirty choruses it's a different road map. You have to consider every stroke, sound, drum, hand and foot. You have to truly diversify the amount of expression. Elvin Jones, Frankie Dunlop, and Jon Christensen are three contrasting examples of perfect accompanists.

7) In addition to being a great drummer, you are also a world-class Jazz pianist.

Well, thanks!

How has your experience as a drummer influenced your piano playing?

Tremendously. I hope on a good day that my piano accompaniment reflects my drummer thinking, especially when it comes to comping. I've also learned how to play against a drummer in order to "stir the soup" which can be really effective behind a soloist if it's done right, but all the rhythm players have to understand that that's what's happening. It requires being proactive and yet listening carefully outside of your own ego.

How has your piano playing influenced your drumming?

It's enabled me to understand why drummers who play less are as great at times as drummers who play more. I don't think I would ever have appreciated and learned to love Connie Kay's approach if I wasn't a pianist. It also has helped me really hear how the drums actually sound when I'm playing them, and how they might sound if I take care of business.

8) Years ago, during a set break at the Upstairs Jazz Club (Montreal) while playing with guitarist Ben Monder (this was also following a previous weekend where you played there with guitarist Ed Bickert), you confided in me that despite everything that we as drummers are capable of playing on the drum (in terms of comping, fills, polyrhythms, interaction, etc.) at the end of the day and once all is said and done that "all you really have to do is swing!" (ie. keep it grooving!) This simple piece of advice and music humility has stuck with me for a long time and speaks volumes as why so many people enjoy your drumming. What musical advice would you give young musicians who are considering a career as a Jazz drummer in this day and age?

Well, thanks again, but I'm not sure the idea of swinging has the same kind of importance that it did when I was learning how to play. I do know, however, that seldom will anybody get on you for playing good time, whether it's 7/4 or even 8ths or ding-da-ding. They will usually be more vocal about overplaying and underswinging. Bobby Watson told me it was like a standard car. "When it's time for 3rd gear, make sure you're in 3rd gear. Make sure you HAVE a 3rd gear!"

9) Your most recent recording project "Code White" brings together many familiar and frequent musical collaborators of yours.

Please tell us all about this exciting project, the music and your compositions.

I used to do a gig every Christmas vacation at Upstairs when everyone was with their families or out of town. Usually it ended up being trumpet tenor bass and drums, which I enjoyed for the amount of experimentation it afforded. So I resolved to try this with Kirk and Remi, and then I though it would be nice to have a slightly larger ensemble with some arrangements by Joe. I sent him the tunes, mostly lead sheets, and he went nuts. I knew some of the stuff I wrote was going to be "improved" because that's how he works, and I welcomed that. We rehearsed the music in the studio and recorded it. Kirk has been involved with most of my recording projects because he is extremely reliable as an improviser, and always sounds like himself. Remi is a virtuoso with an unbelievable work ethic and abundant imagination. Kevin is well known for his sound and expressive improvising and Joe, in addition to being a first-class composer and arranger, has a fiery and complimentary iimprovising style to Kevin's. You really hear four mature voices when they solo. Neil is the ultimate perfect bassist. His level of musicality scares me when I play with him, but since I'm there to play, I have to try to overcome that. I don't think I've ever heard him play a bad solo. I toured with him in May, and he had to play a couple of questionable borrowed basses. You would never have known from the solos. He's like Tatum that way; he can assess quickly where the instrument is unplayable and avoid those areas without any compromise in his musicianship.

As for the tunes, well, I'm a songwriter more than a composer. If I write a suite, it will have three or four tunes. I'm self taught and I listen to music that most of the time is lyrical and harmonically interesting. That's what I aim for in my compositions. Some of the tunes on "Code White" are based on other tunes; I find that to be a great way to get started on coming up with original material. First I'll write something on familiar changes, and then once I've got the juices flowing, I set off on my journey. I also at times will sit down in my office or at home or whatever and record myself playing the piano freely improvising for twenty or thirty minutes at a time. Then, later, the next day or two, I'll listen to what's there. Usually I come up with a germ or strain that I can develop into a tune, in an afternoon or two. Once in a while I will spend months or weeks going over these recordings forcing myself to develop something. I don't write music that quickly, I mean entering notes on a page, because I don't read well, so for me it's faster and more complete to record myself, so I don't forget things.


Here's a few nice clips of Andre in action:

From a recent cross Canada tour, here's Andre playing drums with alto saxophonist P.J.Perry and Kevin Dean on trumpet from the Cellar in Vancouver:

This one is a repost from awhile ago but here's Andre in a trio with Montreal guitarist Greg Clayton and bassist Alec Walkington:

And finally a couple of audio bootlegs of Andre playing drums with bassist Brian Hurley and guitarist Ben Monder:

As you can tell from all these examples Andre plays with an exceptional feel and amazing sense of swing. I first met Andre in 1994 in Regina, Saskatchewan at the Regina Jazz Society (which at the time was being presented at the University of Regina Faculty Club) while he was touring with pianist Bernie Senesky in a group that also featured Mikes Downes on bass and former Miles Davis sideman Gary Bartz on alto saxophone. It was amazing ! Andre really, as he likes to put it, put the music into "3rd gear" that evening (I even distinctly remember an involved version of them playing "Afro Blue"). I immediately appreciated and identified with Andre's style of drumming and that gig was a huge influence on my decision to move to Montreal to study at McGill soon after.

Michel Camilo - Thru My Eyes

Michel Camilo could have obscured his virtuosity in a large band, playing brilliantly and receiving critical acclaim from the denizens of dark, smoke filled nightclubs who would have loved him in a private way as he pounded his images into the keys above the brass section, above the reeds.  Something told Michel that what he possesed was special, a blessing so rare that it needed a special setting, a forum where people could listen to the travels of his fingers, the musical flight of his fertile imagination.  And so he chose the trio for this album, thank God!  It was good enough for Oscar Peterson, for Eroll Garner, for Bill Evans, and perfect for Michel Camilo.  For decades, those of us who love the person and the musician, knew deep down that quiet place of soul, due south, tropical south, where talent lies on every street corner, like diamonds shining brilliantly, waiting to be picked up by anyone who truly loves jazz.  And each album Michel recorded placed him closer and closer to that pinnacle where he could not be judged by nationality, nor by his extensive knowledge of Afro-Antillian rhythms, but by his sheer pianistic genius, his overpowering harmonic sense of space and time, and his humble way of allowing others to shine as he reached out for our hearts and ears.This, then, is the album complete with all the jazz classics critics and public have used to determine who can make the grade and be accepted into the pantheon of piano masters.  Michel takes each masterpiece and gives it a new outfit, complete with accessories and scent.  He puts his indelible Camilian print on it without changing the drape of the musical cloth.- from original liner notes

Artist: Michel Camilo
Album: Thru My Eyes
Year: 1997
Label: RMM
Total playing: 73:46

1.  Poinciana (Nat Simon/Buddy Bernier) 5:08
2.  Perdido (H.J. Lengsfelder/Juan Tizol/Erwin Drake) 5:08
3.  Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock) 4:27
4.  A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Pappardelli) 6:09
5.  Song For My Father (Horace Silver) 6:03
6.  Armando's Rhumba (Chick Corea) 4:34
7.  St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins) 5:28
8.  Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) 3:42
9.  Afro Blue (Mongo Santamaria) 6:07
10.  Mambo Inn (Mario Bauza)  6:20
11.  My Little Suede Shoes (Charlie Parker) 3:50
12.  Manteca (Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo/W. Fuller) 6:43

Michel Camilo (Piano)
Anthony Jackson (Contrabass Guitar) - 3,6,8,10-12
Horacio Hernandez (Drums) - 2,4-6,8,10
Cliff Almond (Drums) - 1,3,7,9,11,12
Lincoln Goines (Bass) - 1,7,9
John Patitucci (Bass) - 2,4,5

Higgins & Jackie McLean

These two clips made my weekend....thanks Chad!

Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry - Climbin' Up

Nice collection of 1952-1955 sides with an urban blues twist by McGhee, with Terry's contributions limited to harmonica only and guitarists Stick McGhee and Mickey Baker checking in over the course of the dozen entries. McGhee was a world-class electric bluesman, too -- a fact that frequently gets lost in the folk-slanted duo material he cut with longtime partner Terry. - by Bill Dahl, AMG

Artist: Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry
Album: Climbin' Up
Year: 1952-55 (Savoy)
Label: Nippon Columbia (Digitally Remastered, 1994)
Total playing: 33:53

1.  Gone Baby Gone 2:58 
2.  Tell Me Baby 2:54 
3.  Sittin' Pretty 2:31 
4.  Bottom Blues 2:47 
5.  Dissatisfied Blues 2:51 
6.  Diamond Ring 3:15 
7.  The Way I Feel 2:53 
8.  So Much Trouble 2:52 
9.  When It's Love Time 2:33 
10.  I'd Love to Love You 2:57 
11.  Love's a Disease 2:47 
12.  My Fault 2:29 
All compositions by Brownie McGhee

Brownie McGhee (Guitar and Vocal)
Sonny Terry (Harmonica) - 1-4,9-12
Sticks McGhee (Guitar) - 5-8
Ernie Hayes (Piano) - 8,10-12
Mickey Baker (Guitar) - 8,10-12
Leonard Gaskin (Bass) - 8,10-12
Gene Brooks (Drums) - 8,10-12

Triplet Strokes RRR LLL

I thought I would contribute my own "rudiment of the moment" today inspired by Ted Warren's fine work over at his blog Trap'd.

Today's lesson features a rudiment that is often overlooked and underused - the triplet stroke roll. Here are a few exercises and applications that I've found to be very useful.

1) First of all, spend some time on the drum pad or snare drum and remind yourself of the three stroke roll:


This is a great rudiment to develop and control your rebound. Here's a hint: this rudiment is easier to play if you bring your stick back high enough to start with and, hence, give your stick enough room to bounce.

2) The next application is what is known in drum corps circles as an "Egg Beater" hybrid rudiment:



Played in groups of five tuplets, this pattern is actually a combination of both triplet and double strokes. I've heard Jack DeJohnette use this pattern from time to time.

*The next few applications of the triplet stroke roll are inspired by Joe Morello's use of "Stick Control":

1) Here is the three stroke roll in a paradiddle type of alternating hand arrangement:


2) And here organized as a double paradiddle:



3) As an extended triplet paradiddle:



5) And finally as a paradiddlediddle:



*All these patterns should be play as continuous sixteenth note triplets with no break. These are real chop busters and force you to really get your rebound together!

Jimmy McPartland - That Happy Dixieland Jazz

Jimmy McPartland and several old friends are clearly having the time of their lives during this pair of 1959 studio sessions made for RCA. Dick Cary's swinging arrangements are imaginative yet leave room for plenty of spirited solos by everyone. "High Society" features not one but two clarinets, played by Bob Wilber and Ernie Caceres (the former doubles on tenor sax, the latter on baritone sax). McPartland plays hot cornet throughout the disc, complemented by trumpeter Charlie Shavers; both men share the vocals during the inevitable rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In." The band also includes Cary (on piano, alto horn, and trumpet), trombonist Cutty Cutshall, guitarist George Barnes, tuba player Harvey Phillips, and bassist Joe Burriesce. This very well-recorded date still sounds great decades later, and will satisfy anyone who enjoys the Chicago style of Dixieland jazz. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Jimmy McPartland and His Dixielanders
Album: That Happy Dixieland Jazz
Year: 1959
Label: BMG (1994)
Runtime: 35:09

1.  High Society (Ray Gilbert/Kid Ory) 2:59
2.  That's a Plenty (Ben Pollack) 4:40
3.  Way Down Under In New Orleans (Henry Creamer/Turner Layton) 3:16
4.  Muskrat Ramble (Ray Gilbert/Kid Ory) 2:58
5.  When The Saints Go Marching In (Traditional) 4:23
6.  Darktown Strutter's Ball (Shelton Brooks) 2:48
7.  Original Dixieland One-Step (Nick LaRocca) 3:48
8.  Fidgety Feet (Eddie Edwards/Nick LaRocca/Henry Ragas/Tony Sbarbaro/Larry Shields) 3:36
9.  South Rampart Street Parade (Ray Bauduc/Bob Haggart) 3:11
10.  Farewell Blues (Joseph Mares/Leon Roppolo/Elmer Schoebel) 3:26

Jimmy McPartland (Cornet and Vocals)
Charlie Shavers (Trumpet and Vocals)
Cutty Cutshall (Trombone)
Bob Wilber (Clarinet and Tenor Saxophone)
Ernie Caceres (Clarinet and Baritone Saxophone)
Dick Cary (Alto Horn, Trumpet, Piano and Accordion)
George Barnes (Guitar)
Harvey Phillips (Tuba)
Joe Burriesce (Bass)
George Wettling (Drums)

Terreon Gully & Pedro Martinez

Thank you to Winnipeg Jazz drummer Jeff King who brought this nice one to my attention via the Facebook. Here's Terreon Gully in a drumset/percussion duet with percussionist Pedro Martinez:

Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

This session is a meeting between three of the most influential musicians of the forties (Dexter, Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke as "Americans in Paris"), completed by the great french bassist Pierre Michelot. At this really happy date the musicians decided to play tunes, that go back to the time, when those guys first gigged and recorded together, like Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple". But especially about Dexter's playing it can be said, that he had modified his style during the sixties, absorbing ideas from musicians, who originally had been influenced by him (listen to some very Coltrane-ish licks on "Night in Tunisia"). Actually, Dexter once stated, that he was thrilled by that kind of mutual exchange of ideas: First he had been a main source of influence for the early John Coltrane and later, especially during the time of this recordings (1963), Dexter further developed his style using some of Coltrane's ideas. Besides the above mentioned faster tunes, I expecially like "Willow Weep for Me" with it's nice intro and that kind of blues-feeling and of course the beautiful ballad "Stairway to the Stars". Bud Powell, almost at the end of his career, still plays very inspired. Expecially during those years in Paris, Bud was at his best on encounters with other great Americans, who visited Europe or temporarly lived there. - by G. Schramke, Amazon.com

This 1963 date is titled for Dexter Gordon's living in self-imposed Parisian exile and recording there with two other exptriates and a French native. Along with Gordon, pianist Bud Powell and Kenny "Klook" Clarke were living in the City of Lights and were joined by the brilliant French bassman Pierre Michelot. This is a freewheeling bop date with the band working out on such categoric standards as "Scrapple from the Apple," and "A Night in Tunisia." In addition, American vernacular tunes such as "Willow Weep for Me" and "Stairway to the Stars" are included. Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session. His playing is a tad more laid-back here, but is nonetheless full of the brilliant harmonic asides and incendiary single-note runs he is legendary for. The rhythm section is close-knit and stop-on-a-dime accurate. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Dexter Gordon
Album: Our Man in Paris
Year: 1963
Label: Blue Note (1987)
Runtime: 50:15

1.  Scrapple from the Apple (Charlie Parker) 7:23
2.  Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell) 8:50
3.  Broadway (Billy Bird/Teddy McRae/Sir Henry Joseph Wood) 6:46
4.  Stairway to the Stars (Matty Malneck/Mitchell Parish/Frank Signorelli) 6:58
5.  A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli) 8:17
6.  Our Love Is Here to Stay (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 5:41
7.  Like Someone in Love (Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen) 6:17

Dexter Gordon (Tenor Saxophone)
Bud Powell (Piano)
Pierre Michelot (Double Bass)
Kenny Clarke (Drums)

Warren Wolf with Karriem Riggins

Vibraphonist Warren Wolfe has a new album coming out on Mack Avenue Records this week. I look forward to checking this out and so should you!

Here's a taste of this amazing vibes player featured here with drummer Karriem Riggins and pianist Mulgrew Miller:

Max Roach & Booker Little

Today's post features a rare television appearance of Max Roach's band with trumpeter Booker Little:

Chad Anderson also hipped me this great live set from Max Roach at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1967 with Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell and Odean Pope:


Fat Elvish

Justin Bieber - Ladies Love Me Lyrics

And who in the pit is smoke in here cuz it's super cloudy
Goons with me dressed like skaters
Getting bruised kidneys
Stretch you later
Man my family so big
To the escalator to the elevator
Take the lift to the private jet
Then that jet niggas see you later

Ladies love me
I'm on my Cool J
Yellow model chick
Yellow bottle sippin'
Ladies love me
I'm on my Cool J
Yellow Lamborghini
Yellow top missin'
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/justin_bieber/ladies_love_me.html ]
[Justin Bieber]
(Shorty Mane, I'm back)
Baby I'm yo docta,
I could be yo rocker,
Swaggin' I'm not braggin'
But I trust that I could rock ya'
Baby I'm not crazy,
I got swag like Patrick Schwayze
Y'know them haters never phase me
That's not how my momma raised me
I am incredible, this is inedible
Killin this trail was inevitable
I am hetero, baby you best know Jb is mostly just JB look at me
No, I said look at me, swaggin with the crooked teeth
Body slammed the beats from D Beat, call me
Call me bookin t.
I said woah der, woah der baby you only want to stop. (okay)
I'm busy out playing and I'm going to the top.
I got so often to lose, so I'm steady gettin gwap.
But them haters go low and we only get to watch.
Amazing, I'm blazing. look over here, said that I'm amazing.
Nobody's facing, what I'm facing. set a pace, so I can run without pacing.
Lace my shoes off, start racing. you can try it, without facting,
I mean fasting, start blasting. call up warren hill do-op that thing
Swagger jacking, is not what I do. jb is the man, yeah he's a true.
He's a creature when he steps up in the booth. I only landed, I did too.
Ima gentleman, yes ima gentleman, ima on my element, but I'm still elegant.
I'm full of adrenaline, you love what that means Louie V hightops with the
Skinny jeans.

Ladies love me
I'm on my Cool J
Yellow model chick
Yellow bottle sippin'
Ladies love me
I'm on my Cool J
Yellow Lamborghini
Yellow top missin'

Ladies love me
I'm on my Cool J

[Chris Brown]
My bad, I'm sorry
I'm double parked
Yah that's my Bugatti
And that's my Ferrari next to my Ducati
Call my old school Big Bertha that I be got it
Boy I get exotic
My car need a pilot
Get free drinks to party
Your nigga need his wallet
No limit to what I'm spending so you know she's about bout

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Busy times these days between changing diapers and going through mixes of my next upcoming quintet album (to be released on the Cellar Live label this fall). I'm also hoping to hook up with John Riley this week for a lesson while he's in town teaching at the Mount Royal University Summer Jazz Workshop and Tyler Hornby's drum set camp the following week. I'm also looking forward to hearing John play at the Beatniq next Friday with the faculty ensemble. John always has many thoughtful answers for my many questions. In the meantime, here's a few interesting things to check out around the blogosphere:

-Thanks to Todd Bishop over at his blog Cruiseship Drummer where he dug up this interview with West Coast drummer Dick Berk:


Dick isn't as well known as he should be, in my opinion, but he is really a GREAT drummer and I've admired his work with Cal Tjader, Ray Brown and Milt Jackson for some time. In particular here's an album that I enjoy and is a great example of Berk's swinging drumming:


Thank you Todd for this great find and keep up the great work!

-Speaking of interviews, Ted Panken has published a ton of old interviews over at his blog. Here's a great one with drummer Edward Blackwell:


And another with Herlin Riley:


And finally a double interview with Idris Muhammed and George Coleman:


-My friend and frequent guest blogger here at Four on The Floor Prof. Patrick Boyle forwarded this interesting video article on the future of advertising from marketing guru and blogger Seth Godin and is really worth taking a look:


-Halifax drummer and Jazz icon Jerry Granelli was recently featured on the CBC radio show Q last week. Check out this link for his interview and some really nice solo & duet playing:


And here's another CBC radio interview from a previous episode of Take '5':


-To get us all in a nice, inspired mood for the week ahead here's a masterpiece to admire. I hadn't heard this one in awhile but I'm glad I did. Here's Buddy Rich featured on the epic "Channel One Suite" that also features some great tenor playing from Don Menza:

Speaking of Don Menza, apparently he and trumpeter Sam Noto recently reunited for a gig at the Pilot Tavern in Toronto (with my good friend Bob McLaren on drums!)

Did anybody happen to check that hit out?

Does anybody know of any albums these two recorded together as a front line?

In the meantime, here's a video of Menza and Noto together from a date in New Orleans with Ralph Penland on drums and Cedar Walton on piano on "Cedar's Blues":


SAM NOTO | Myspace Music Videos

Now, I wasn't really familiar with drummer Ralph Penland either but thanks to the youtube.com gods here's some clips worth checking out as well:

-And finally here's another new blog that I've been checking out lately from my friend and frequent collaborator, saxophonist Jim Brenan:

Into the Stratosphere http://jimbrenan.blogspot.com/

Bud Powell - A Portrait of Thelonious

This CD reissue is one of the most rewarding Bud Powell recordings to come from his period in France. Powell (along with bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke) explores four of Thelonious Monk's tunes, Earl Bostic's "No Name Blues" and the standard "There Will Never Be Another You" but it is the final two numbers ("I Ain't Foolin'" and "Squatty") which really find the bop master at his most spirited and swinging. This very rewarding CD releases for the first time the alternate take (a faster rendition without a clear melody) of "Squatty," a song that (based on its original version) deserves to be revived. One oddity: the applause heard throughout this release was added on later because this was actually a studio album. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

I first bought this because I wanted to know more about Powell and Monk. I have never been disappointed listening to this and loved it more with each listening. The Monk pieces convinced me to buy everything of his I could lay my hands on but I also reached back to Powell's early albums and one of his last, "Bud Powell in Paris" a few years after this one, produced by Duke Ellington, on Reprise. The best moment I had with this album was sharing it with a college music class. While one jerk kept wondering why people applauded after each tune (to classical purists you never applaud until the end of a concert, not after each piece) the rest discussed how Powell's style cut across classical lines and it encouraged more jazz listening. Not a year has gone by that I haven't played this album so if you don't know bebop or Monk or Powell, this is a great introduction to all. - by Stephen Swain, Amazon.com

Artist: Bud Powell
Album: A Portrait of Thelonious
Year: 1961
Label: Columbia (20-bit remastered, 1997)
Total time: 47:25

1.  Off Minor (Thelonious Monk) 5:21
2.  There Will Never Be Another You (Mack Gordon/Harry Warren) 4:20
3.  Ruby, My Dear (Thelonious Monk) 5:49
4.  No Name Blues (Earl Bostic) 6:39
5.  Thelonious (Thelonious Monk) 3:48
6.  Monk's Mood (Thelonious Monk) 7:08
7.  I Ain't Foolin' (Charles Albertine) 3:21
8.  Squatty (Brian Fahey) 5:50
9.  Squatty (Alternate Take) (Brian Fahey) 5:06

Bud Powell (Piano)
Pierre Michelot (Double Bass)
Kenny Clarke (Drums)

Peace Orchestra - Peace Orchestra

Peace Orchestra, the debut album by Kruder & Dorfmeister's Peter Kruder, suffers little for its lack of both producers. The kind of trance-state trip-hop that sounds freshly minted by God himself, these nine tracks belie the notion that trip-hop is a style scavenger, content to paste sampled jazz-funk over a few hip-hop breaks. Peace Orchestra is so lovingly crafted, so finely detailed, that comparisons with the glut of trip-hop sinking the market seems almost laughable. A languid clarinet line does a slow waltz with K&D's oft-used shuffle-beat on the highlight "Meister Petz," while "Double Drums" works a mutated tech-synth line with strong breakbeats. Kruder's musical sense comes from a variety of musical capitals, including Rio de Janeiro (the fine, delicate swing), New York (the jazz chords and shadings), East L.A. (Latin percussion), and London (acid house ). Only Kruder (or perhaps Dorfmeister) could distill so many elements into one cohesive album without risk of blandness or musical fragmentation. - by John Bush, AMG

This is something truly beautiful. Peter Kruder (of the famous "Kruder & Dorfmeister") definitely proves his skills as a solo producer on this album. It manages to create that ethereal feeling so prized by Acid Jazz and Trip-Hop producers, while still maintaining listenability through consistent yet subtle drum beats. Kruder's caught a lot of flak for the horns and vocals used on some of the tracks, but I attribute a lot of this criticism to sheer ignorance from the downtempo "purists" out there. The vocal and brass samples manage to give "Meister Petz" a somewhat festive feel, and enhance the brooding mood of "Who am I" and "Shining".
Every sound Kruder uses on this album bends and shapes the mood like a clay sculpture. The textures are rich but not bombastic, and the album maintains a feeling that is brooding and mystical but not excessively sparse or depressed.This one is at least as vital a downtempo recording as Portishead's "Dummy", or anything Kruder and/or Dorfmeister have previously recorded.Peace Orchestra is one of the most beautiful records I have ever beheld. Get it. - by theunderbob, Amazon com

Artist: Peace Orchestra (Peter Kruder)
Album: Peace Orchestra
Year: 1999
Label: G-Stone
Runtime: 58:28

1.  The Man Part One 4:47 
2.  Meister Petz 6:18 
3.  Double Drums 9:24 
4.  Domination 8:37 
5.  Marakesh 6:57 
6.  Henry 6:57 
7.  Who Am I 5:59 
8.  Shining 5:03 
9.  The Man Part Two 4:22 
All compositions by Peter Kruder

Peter Kruder (Programming, Sampling)
Chilli Bukasa (Vocals) - 8

Bill Stewart @ MyCymbal.com

Get comfortable!

Here's Jazz drumming phenom Bill Stewart from his clinic and Q&A session at the Memphis Drum Shop courtesy of MyCymbal.com that was streamed on the web not too long ago:

The Calgary Scene - Rubim DeToledo

Today's "Calgary Scene" interview features a frequent musical partner of mine, bassist Rubim DeToledo - one of Calgary's busiest sidemen and also an accomplished composer and band leader in his own right.

1) Can you tell us about your musical background? How did you learn to play Jazz?

At the age of nine I began studying the violin. I was honestly terrible. A neighbour was a retired piano teacher and my mother thought that studying the piano would help my violin playing. Little did she know, I was going to be just as bad at the piano.
Fed up with negative musical experiences (at the ripe age of 12), I was asked by my grade six lunchroom mates what electives I would take in Junior High school. I said, ‘anything but band.’ As it turns out they were all going to take band except me. Peer pressure kicked in and I enrolled in band just to stay close to my friends. That elementary school lunchtime conversation changed my life.

On my first day of band we got to choose our instruments. My band teacher happened to be a working bassist so offered bass as an alternate instrument. I saw on the page, bass guitar. Guitar? That sounds cool. So there it was, secondary instrument bass guitar (primary instrument euphonium.)

Well being bad at violin and bad at piano had prepared me perfectly for grade seven bass playing. I had some facility and ability with my fingers and the strings and could read the bass clef reasonably well. I was better than everyone else instantly. This was the only encouragement I needed.

I had the luck of having an amazing and inspiring band teacher named Dan Breda (who has since passed). He, with a great sense of humour and incredible patience, turned most of us into decent school level musicians and most importantly implanted in us a great respect for music, our teachers and for each other.

After that I went through the paces, attended high school and in grade twelve attend a summer jazz workshop. There I met a great teacher named Gordon Towell. He encouraged me to audition for the Littlebirds Big Band put on by the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton. There I met a lot of great young players many of them I still know and work with today. Doug Berner, Jeff Hendrick, Lina Allamano, and Lyle Molzan in particular. I then attended Grant MacEwan College and met many more great young musicians that I also still know and play with such as Chris Andrew, Jim Brenan, Johanna Sillanpaa, and Don Berner.

During my early career I was really fortunate to be called to play in the house band for the Yardbird Suite jam sessions. Basically I am sure I got called because I was the only guy that owned an upright bass and was available on really short notice. I got to play with the very best musicians in the Edmonton Jazz scene on a weekly basis such as Gord Towell, Sean McAnally, Bill Elmes and Mike Gillespie. This was truly a school for me. They showed me the ropes, tune after tune and eventually I started getting calls for casual and jobbing gigs from them. At the same time I was doing regular jamming with my peers pianist Chris Andrew and drummer Lyle Molzan. We would lift Oscar Peterson arrangements of standards and shed them for hours every day. At that time I started playing in ‘Big’ Miller’s band. One of my first professional gigs was a ten night stint at Emerald Lake Lodge with Big Miller and Chris Andrew and Lyle Molzan. Those are still some of the best and scariest moments of my life. After that I got the chance to work with Tommy Banks and PJ Perry on a semi-regular basis. Playing with these real Canadian Jazz heavies was the best experience I could ever have dreamed of.

From there, all I can say is that I have been trying to develop the skills that all these great musicians shared with me. I can honestly say that I was very fortunate to have this great beginning as a musician and that twenty years later I am still working on trying to achieve the level that these masters introduced me to.

2) Who are your musical influences and why?

It’s a complex question. As a bassist, the usual suspects appear: Jaco, Ray Brown, Mingus, Dave Holland, John Patitucci. I have always been a very groove oriented player and a bassist who enjoys well constructed basslines. James Jamerson, Aston Barret, Me’Shell, Cachao, Cachaito, Paul McCartney and Sting also come to mind.

As a musician or composer I have always been interested in Brazilian musicians such as Caetano Veloso, Djavan and Chico Buarque. I also have been highly influenced by mainstream artists like Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and Daniel Lanois.

Most of all, I am influenced by great traditional music. This could mean folkloric music from Cuba and Brazil or Americana and tradition Jazz styles. I am also very interested in people that take these traditional styles and push them forward in unique ways.

As far a traditional Jazz musicians go my favourites are: Cannonball, Coltrane, Miles and Mingus. Modern players I enjoy are: Robert Glasper, Joey Calderazzo and Jason Lindner.

3) Name your top 5 favorite albums and how they have influenced you.

In no particular order:

Weather Report "Heavy Weather" - It was what I needed to hear as a teenager to get me hooked on Jazz music. It was energetic, it had great grooves, the playing was killer and the writing was one-of-a-kind.

Miles Davis "Four and More" - It showed me the possibilities that could come out of playing standards. It also taught me how a rhythm section should work together and also work with the soloist. This was a real band improvising together.

Branford Marsalis "Crazy People Music" - I actually heard this before I heard "A Love Supreme". It had an intensity to it that I was attracted to. I later found that in" A Love Supreme" but I may not have accepted it until I had heard Branford’s band first. It was like an initiation to high-energy post-bop.

John Coltrane "A Love Supreme" - Besides the intensity of the playing and the quality of the playing it was the concept behind the record that really affected me. Coltrane’s revolutionary approach to an extended improvisational concept when put into context of the history of the time is huge. The idea that it’s not the technical playing that mattered in "A Love Supreme" but the spiritual or emotional element that really matter to him. That really struck me and really gave me a deeper respect as to what Jazz could become.

Miles Davis "Birth of the Cool" - What I got out of this record was the beauty and sophistication of the arrangements and the understated approach to the playing. When you’re a young or immature player the flashy, higher, louder, faster thing is really easy to embrace. Then you hear something like this and you, for the first time, take a peek into the crystal ball and see a new musical universe. It really messes with your preconceived notions of what “it” is really all about. Many musicians (with a lot of talent and technique) NEVER get past the initial phase. They stop at the flashy, higher, louder, and faster kinds of music. But there is so much more. Really that’s the beauty of music (or art). You think you've got it and then ‘Boom’ you’re back at square one!

4) What sort of things are you practicing or developing musically these days?

The things I am working on these day, and it seems forever, are technique (lots of classical etudes, exercises, scales and arpeggios), ear training, time/groove/feel and learning more standards. I'm pretty sure that this is what everyone is working on.

5) What interesting projects do you have on the go at the moment? (gigs, recordings, etc.)

Right now my primary musical goal is composing new music. I always try to keep my bass chops up but really I enjoy writing new music or I like improvising in a band context. I hope to record a new jazz record in the next 12 months so I want to really gather a strong batch of original tunes and get out there and play them with as many combinations of musicians as possible. I really want to workshop my material live before I hit a studio to document it. I feel a lot of people (including myself), with the new ease of recording, are putting out a lot of CDs but maybe aren’t really ready yet. I don’t want to rush my next recording. I want it to be special.

6) In addition to being an accomplished Jazz player you also have extensive knowledge and experience playing Brazilian music and genres from South America and Cuba. Can you elaborate on how you learned about those styles of music and how they have influenced your Jazz playing?

My parents are Brazilian and I have always been drawn to Brazilian music. I love the balance of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic integrity that Brazilian music incorporates. Few styles music can compare in this aspect. I have been to Brazil countless times and have lived there from time to time. I have checked out a lot of Brazilian music on record and a lot of live Brazilian music while in Brazil. I have been fortunate to gig there and all of this makes everything I play and compose, inherently, have a very subtle but underlying Brazilian tinge to it.

I have also studied quite a bit of Cuban. I have been to Cuba four times and have studied with a variety of Cuban bass players including Carlos del Puerto of Irakere and Cubanissmo. Along with fellow Edmontonians Mario Allende and Chris Andrew, I played in a Latin-Jazz group called Bomba extensively. With Bomba we have recorded 4 albums and toured Canada extensively as well as many international dates. Most importantly though is that we have had many great Cuban, Latin and Jazz musicians work with us throughout the years. These people really became teachers to me. Raul Tabera, Toto Berriel, Luis Emilio Rios, Luisito Obregoso, Aldo Aguirre, Neraldo Duran, Levan Morejon, Jose Seves, and Oscar Valdez come to mind. It is incredible the natural and technical ability that these musicians possess. Their rhythmic sense is so deep and there energy is tireless.

7) Favorite place to eat in Calgary?

I can’t possibly narrow this down to one but I will settle for four places:

Jimmy’s A&A NW (Go there now!)

Gaucho Grill (Brazilian BBQ)

Mimo (Portuguese home-style cooking)

Home (My wife is a great Cuban inspired cook and I love to cook myself)

Jo Jones with Milt Buckner, George Benson and Jimmy Slyde

Thanks to Jeff McLeod for this groovy find!

Miles Davis - Miles in Tokyo

Recorded in '64, Miles in Tokyo finds the iconic Miles Davis performing with his almost-second great quintet. Tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, a more accomplished and daring experimentalist than his predecessor, George Coleman, joined the group after a fellow Bostonian, drummer Tony Williams, recommended him to Davis. There are times on this recording when one might understand why Davis and Rivers never meshed, and times when the partnership is quite wonderful, though brief.
On "If I Were a Bell," for example, after a lucid and melodic statement by Davis, Rivers purposely goes off-center on his solo. He does it with enough force that his motions are neither subtle nor nuanced; they're noticeable. Yet on the more forlorn and dark "My Funny Valentine," he shows greater care to stay within the song's melody, a treatment that resonates well with the rest of the group.
"So What" is taken at a faster pace than the version on the seminal Kind of Blue with, again, Davis and Rivers varying in their melodic approaches. By "Walkin'," though, it is Davis who alters his style, accepting some restless elements into his approach. He flies fast and furiously through his solo, provoking Williams into some manic beats. Williams, for his part, always sounded best in contexts that were more "out" than "in," and the inclusion of Rivers on this date certainly allowed him greater, rhythmic latitudes. Herbie Hancock, as well, finds some dissonant and interesting moments on "Walkin'." The finale, "All of You," finds Davis muted and lyrical, Rivers wild but compliant, and the rest of the group providing a wonderful groove.
Months after this concert in September of '64, the definitive version of the second great quintet, with Wayne Shorter on tenor, finally took form. The almost-second great quintet heard on Miles in Tokyo is an aberration, a rare gem, and  worth investigating. - by Germein Linares, Allaboutjazz.com

After George Coleman left the Miles Davis Quintet, tenor-saxophonist Sam Rivers took his place for a short period including a tour of Japan. Davis did not care for Rivers's avant-garde style (they failed to develop any chemistry) and soon replaced him, but this live LP (originally only issued in Japan) survived to document this brief association. The music (five lengthy versions of standards) is actually of high quality with both Davis and Rivers in fine form and the young rhythm section (pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams) pushing the trumpeter/leader to open up his style. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Miles Davis
Album: Miles in Tokyo
Year: 1964
Label: Sony BMG (2005)
Total time: 54:15

1.  Introduction By Teruo Isono 1:10 
2.  If I Were A Bell (Frank Loesser) 10:17
3.  My Funny Valentine (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 12:50
4.  So What (Miles Davis) 8:05
5.  Walkin' (Richard Carpenter) 9:15
6.  All Of You (Cole Porter) 11:18
7.  Go-Go (Theme And Announcement) (Miles Davis) 1:20

Miles Davis (Trumpet)
Sam Rivers (Tenor Saxophone)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Tony Williams (Drums)

Bobby Hutcherson & Harold Land

Another gem forwarded to me from cymbalholic.com mastermind Chad Anderson:

Great drumming from Joe Chambers and, as always, amazing playing from Bobby Hutcherson. Also nice to hear Harold Land, a guy whose playing I always admired from his days with the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet.

Dolores Keane - Night Owl

Like Ralph Stanley and June Tabor, Dolores Keane is one of those rare singers whose voices mellow and improve rather than weaken with age. Also like June Tabor (though not like Ralph Stanley), she has broadened her stylistic range and her performing repertoire in recent years, still focusing on the traditional music of her native Ireland but also exploring themes from other cultures and tunes by modern songwriters. Night Owl opens on a somber note, with a despairing song apparently about the Northern Irish Troubles, and the mood is scarcely lightened at any point thereafter; there is a gorgeous rendition of the mournful "Wind that Shakes the Barley," one lament, two back-to-back farewells, a lover's plea, a tale of mass martyrdom, and a song inspired by the street urchins of Sao Paolo. By all rights this should be a terribly depressing album. But Keane's singing is such a joy, and the instrumental accompaniment so well arranged and expertly played, that every moment is a pleasure, if a bittersweet one. This is one of those albums you'll find yourself giving to friends as gifts. - by Rick Anderson, AMG

I am very, very pleased with this cd and was extremely happy to find that it was available. Dolores has a wonderful voice that is deep and earthy and yet remarkably smooth and enjoyable. Her delivery has just the right emotional intensity for the many traditional and contemporary songs covered on the cd. When my wife first heard me play Night Owl she remarked, " this really sounds good."
I highly recommend the cd to anyone who enjoys traditional/folk music. Dolores just gets better and better and the instrumental work is top notch, adding to the overall effect instead of detracting, like on some other recent cds such as Emmylou Harris's Red Dirt Girl. - by a Customer, Amazon.com

Artist: Dolores Keane
Album: Night Owl
Year: 1997
Label: Kirkelig
Runtime: 52:57

1.  Dangerous Dance (Peter O'Hanlon) 4:12
2.  The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Traditional/Robert Dwyer Joyce) 4:18
3.  New Deal (John Faulkner) 2:56
4.  The Banks Of The Nile (Traditional) 4:04
5.  Dunlavin Green (Traditional) 5:11
6.  Ballyroan (Chris Andretti/Thomas Hodge) 4:47
7.  Aileen's Lament (John Faulkner/Gavin Povey) 5:37
8.  Fare Thee Well A Stór (Paraigin ni Uallachain) 4:06
9.  The Forger's Farewell (Traditional) 4:37
10.  José (John Faulkner/Gavin Povey) 5:28
11.  Make Me Want To Stay (Tommy Sands) 3:53
12.  The Night Owl (Homeward Turns) (Steve Tilston) 3:42

Dolores Keane (Vocals)
John Faulkner (Guitar, Backing Vocals) - 1-11
Gavin Povey (Piano and Keyboards, Harmonium) - 1,2,4-8,10-12
Fergus Feely (Mandola) - 1-3,5,8,10,11
Eoin O'Riabhaigh (Uillean Pipes, Whistle) - 1-4,6,7
Ruth Dillon (Backing Vocals) - 1,8,10,11
Liam Bradley (Backing Vocals, Percussion) - 1-5,10,11
Paul Moore (Double Bass) - 1-3,5,8,10,11
Vedran Smailovic (Cello) - 1,10,11
Alec Finn (Boizouki) - 4
Dessie Wilkinson (Bamboo Flute) - 12

Art Taylor!

GREAT drumming here today featuring Art Taylor with Sonny Rollins:

Anybody have any ideas as to who that bass player is?

(Editor's note: Irish bassist/blogger Ronan Guilfoyle and a host of others have informed me that this bassist is in fact Gilbert 'Bibi' Rovére, a French bassist who played a lot with visiting American musicians)

Quincy Jones - Smackwater Jack

It's pretty hard to put a "category label" on this, like the record companies try to do....let's just call it GREAT MUSIC! Judging from the scope of Quincy Jones' work, he doesn't think of himself as strictly a jazz musician. The music included for consideration here runs the gamut: Carole King's "Smackwater Jack;" Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate To The Wind;" themes from "Ironside," "The Anderson Tapes" and Bill Cosby's TV-Show theme, "Hikky-Burr" (on which he does the vocal); Ray Brown's lovely "Brown Ballad;" Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" and Quincy's "Guitar Blues Odyssey: From Roots To Fruits." This last deserves some explanation. It's an sampler of the history of the guitar from Robert Johnson through Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix. QUITE AN ODYSSEY!
The list of musicians on the recording looks like everybody's "Poll Winners" from the period: woodwinds Jerome Richardson, Hubert Laws and Pete Christlieb; trumpets Freddie Hubbard, Marv Stamm, Buddy Childers, Snooky Young, Joe Newman and Ernie Royal; trombones Wayne Andre and Garnet Brown; guitars Eric Gayle, Jim Hall, Joe Beck, Toots Thielmans, Arthur Adams and Freddie Robinson...if that's not enough, the REST of the rhythm section includes Grady Tate,Paul Humphries, Bob James, Jakie Byard, Monty Alexander, Joe Sample, Jimmy Smith, Dick Hyman, Ray Brown, Chuck Rainey, Bob Crenshaw, Carole Kaye and Milt Jackson! (NO SLOUCHES HERE !)
The arrangements are all Quincy's (with an assist from Marty Paich on "The Anderson Tapes") and all sound TERRIFIC under the producing hands of Quincy, Ray Brown and Phil Ramone. This is just a SUPERB ALBUM ! I like it better than the Grammy-Winner it followed, "Walking In Space," just because of the variety of music here, but BOTH are worth collecting ! - by C. Law, Amazon.com

Quincy Jones had jazz fans wondering when he released his killer Gula Matari album in 1970. That set, with gorgeous reading of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with a lead vocal by none other than Valerie Simpson, pointed quite solidly into the direction Jones was traveling: unabashedly toward pop, but with his own trademark taste, and sophistication at the forefront of his journey. Its follow-up, Smackwater Jack, marked Jones, along with Phil Ramone and Ray Brown in the producer's chair, and knocked purist jazz fans on their heads with its killer meld of pop tunes, television and film themes, pop vocals, and big-band charts. The personnel list is a who's- who of jazzers including Monty Alexander, Jim Hall, Pete Christlieb, Joe Beck, Bobby Scott, Ernie Royal, Freddie Hubbard, Jerome Richardson, Ray Brown, Jaki Byard, Toots Thielemans, and many others. But it also hosted the talents of new school players who dug pop and soul, such as Grady Tate, Bob James, Joe Sample, Chuck Rainey, Paul Humphries, Eric Gale, and others. And yes, Simpson was back on this session in an epic reading of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On,'" that featured Carol Kaye and Harry Lookofsky on soulful, psychedelic jazz strings and a smoking harmonica solo by Thielemans. The title cut, of course, is a reading of the Gerry Goffin and Carole King number, done in a taut, funky soul style with Rainey's bassline popping and bubbling under the entire mix and James' Rhodes and Thielemans' harmonica leading the back until the funky breaks by Tate, and some tough street guitar by Arthur Adams host an enormous backing chorus and a "mysterious" uncredited male lead vocal. Other highlights include a rocking version of the television theme from Ironside, and "Hikky-Burr," the now infamous theme from the Bill Cosby Show with a guest vocal from Bill. The version of Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" is one of the loveliest tracks here, and sets in stone a gorgeous model for the meld of complex jazz harmonics and a lithe pop melody. The album's final cut is a Jones original that sums up the theme of the entire album. Entitled "Guitar Blues Odyssey: From Roots to Fruits," it travels the path of Robert Johnson and Skip James through toJimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton with stops along the way at Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green. Guitarists Beck, Hall, and Gale, as well as Freddie Robinson, all do their best mimicking on this lovely, musical, labyrinthine montage that moves back and forth across musical history. It works like a charm with Brown's upright and Rainey's Fender (electric) bass work (alternately), and the beatcraft of Tate. This set has provided some key samples for rappers and electronic music producers over the years -- and there's plenty more to steal -- but as an album, it is one of Q's true masterpieces, recorded during an era when he could do no wrong, and when he was expanding not only his musical palette, but ours. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Quiny Jones
Album: Smackwater Jack
Year: 1971
Label: A&M Records
Runtime: 42:04

1.  Smackwater Jack (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) 3:22
2.  Cast Your Fate to the Wind (Vince Guaraldi/Carl Rowe) 4:27
3.  Ironside (Theme from Ironside) (Quincy Jones) 3:54
4.  What's Going On? (Renaldo Benson/Al Cleveland/Marvin Gaye) 9:56
5.  Theme From the Anderson Tapes (Quincy Jones) 5:16
6.  Brown Ballad (Ray Brown) 4:21
7.  Hikky-Burr (Theme from The Bill Cosby Show) (Bill Cosby/Quincy Jones) 4:04
8.  Guitar Blues Odyssey: From Roots To Fruits (Quincy Jones) 6:44

Quincy Jones (Arrangement and Vocals)
Jerome Richardson (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone)
Hubert Laws (Flutes and Tenor Saxophone)
Peter Christlieb (Tenor Saxophone)
Ernest Royal (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Eugene Young (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Joe Newman (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Buddy Childers (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Wayne Andre (Trombone)
Garnett Brown (Trombone)
Dick Hixon (Trombone)
Alan Raph (Trombone)
Tony Studd (Trombone)
Toots Thielemans (Harmonica and Guitar)
Eric Gayle (Guitar)
Jim Hall (Guitar)
Joe Beck (Guitar)
Arthur Adams (Guitar)
Freddie Robinson (Guitar)
Grady Tate (Drums)
Paul Humphries (Drums and Percussion)
Larry Bunker (Percussion)
George Devens (Percussion)
Bobby Scott (Piano)
Bob James (Fender Rhodes)
Jakie Byard (Fender Piano)
Monty Alexander (Tack Piano)
Joe Sample (Fender Piano)
Jimmy Smith (Organ)
Dick Hyman (Electric Harpsichord and Piano)
Paul Beaver (Synthesizer)
Edd Kalehoff (Synthesizer)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Chuck Rainey (Bass Guitar)
Bob Crenshaw (Double Bass)
Carole Kaye (Bass Guitar)
Milt Jackson (Vibes)
Harry Lookofsky (Violin)
Valerie Simpson (Vocals) - 4
Maretha Stewart (Vocals) - 4
Marilyn Jackson (Vocals) - 4
Barbara Massey (Vocals) - 4
Joshie Armstead (Vocals) - 4
Bill Cosby (Vocals) - 7

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

Well it's been awhile since I've had time to write a proper blog post. Things have been quite busy here over these past two months. Being a new father will do that to you but all is good ! Here's a few things on the go here at Four on the Floor:

- I had the pleasure of hearing the Jeff McGregor Quintet on Saturday evening at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club in a band that featured Jeff on alto saxophone, Brent Mah on tenor saxophone, Steve Fletcher on piano, Kodi Hutchinson on bass and Calgary-turned-Montrealer Andrew Dyrda on drums. The band featured Jeff's original compositions that brought together a myriad of influences and you can learn more about him here from a previous edition of the "Calgary Scene".

Andrew's drumming was exceptionally musical and demonstrated a real maturity and development towards creating an original identity since I last heard him (Andrew was an occasional student of mine about six years ago before he moved away). Dyrda is certainly a young drummer you'll want to keep an eye on in the years to come as his dedication and hard work ethic is certainly paying off. You can learn more about Andrew in another upcoming edition of the "Calgary Scene".

- What am I listening to these days?

Between a productive trip to Calgary's premier used record shop Recordland and a shopping spree on iTunes, I've been listening to a lot of great music lately. Here's some that have caught my attention and I've been enjoying lately:

Milt Jackson "Milt Jackson and the Thelonious Monk Quintet" Milt Jackson - vibraphone, Kenny Clarke - drums

Sonny Rollins "Way Out West" Shelly Manne - drums

Joe Locke Trio "Very Early" Joe Locke - vibraphone, Adam Nussbaum - drums

Louis Bellson Big Band "Explosion" Louis Bellson - drums

Benny Green Trio "Source" Kenny Washington - drums

The Modern Jazz Quartet "European Concert" Milt Jackson - vibraphone, Connie Kay - drums (thanks Jesse!)

Mike LeDonne Trio "Common Ground" Kenny Washington - drums

Bobby Hutcherson & McCoy Tyner "Manhattan Moods" Bobby Hutcherson - vibraphone

Kevin Dean Quintet "Since 1954" Dave Laing - drums

Herbie Hancock "Trio 77" Tony Williams - drums

Kenny Drew "Tough Trio" Philly Joe Jones - drums

Russell Gunn "Gunn Fu" Ali Jackson Jr. - drums

Andre White "Code White" Andre White -drums

- I've known Montreal drummer Rich Irwin since my McGill days and he's doing great things touring with Nikki Yanofsky's band these days. Here's Rich showing off his nice new Sonor drums:

- Check out this amazing Tony Williams drum clinic that has been making the rounds lately:

- This is not a terribly long clip but I enjoyed the brief up close footage here of drummer Adam Nussbaum:

You can really sense the incredible energy and deep sense of swing that he plays with even in this short one !

- Speaking of swing, this is the first footage of Thelonious Monk I ever saw when I was a teenager (from a 1950s CBS television program entitled "The Sound of Jazz" and if you haven't seen this in its entirety then check it out!):

Dig the ever swinging and tasteful drumming of Osie Johnson on that one (and an attentive Count Basie hanging out next to the piano as well!)

- Please come check out this exciting upcoming gig of mine this coming Thursday:

The Vaughn Ambrose Trio

Appearing at the
Beatniq Jazz & Social Club
811 - 1st Street SW
Calgary, Alberta

Thursday, August 11th 9pm


Vaughn Ambrose - Tenor Saxophone

Rubim DeToledo - Bass

Jon McCaslin - Drums