The Monday Morning Paradiddle - Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween everyone!
Things have really been on the go lately.
Much to report...

-Thanks to everyone who came out to hear bassist Rubim DeToledo's octet project last Thursday and Friday nights at the Cantos Music Foundation. Both evenings featured Rubim's original compositions, arrangements of some great standards and some Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music which also featured accompaniment by some very talented dancers and visual projection artists. Rubim worked really hard to put together this complicated and multi-faceted project and he is a very accomplished composer (I've also been fortunate to have worked with him in a variety of group's including last springs Decidedly Jazz Danceworks production of "Wilds"). He sure kept us on our toes with his tunes, in particular the opener "Maidens" which, for the most part, featured a groove that, as best I could tell (!) featured a challenging yet melodic groove in 27/8 (!) Fortunately we convinced Rubim to let us play the solo section in a comfortable 6/8 instead : )

-I made my way down to the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club on Saturday evening to hear Vancouver saxophonist and club owner Cory Weeds joined by Oliver Gannon on guitar, fellow Canadian Jazz drummer and blogger Jesse Cahill on drums and their special guest from New York City, Mike LeDonne on B3 Hammond organ. The band played music by the great Hank Mobley and swung mightily and seriously from the first note. I really dug the fact that aside from the technical mastery that all these fine musicians demonstrated, they were not afraid to SWING and really dig into the groove. Fortunately these guys recorded their shows in Edmonton at the Yardbird Suite so I'm looking forward to hearing the results of that release on the CellarLive record label once it comes out in the coming months.

Mike LeDonne has always been a favorite musician of mine and I always make a point to catch him at Smoke whenever I'm in New York. His groove and overall creative mastery of the Jazz language is always a joy to listen to.

Here's a few nice ones of LeDonne backing up Milt Jackson with the legendary Mickey Roker on drums:

His piano trio album "Common Ground" with Kenny Washington on drums and Dennis Irwin on bass has been making the rounds on my car's CD player for quite some time now and is highly recommended (in particular dig KWash's impeccable brush work!)

- Here's a couple fun clips of Winard Harper to check out. Winard is a great drummer and someone who I've long admired but perhaps we don't hear about enough these days.

- I apologize for not posting more drum lessons on a more regular or frequent basis but I promise to try and get more on the ball in that regards. When guys like Ted Warren are posting such amazing lessons over at his blog Trap'd it's hard to keep up with that ! I really appreciate the kind words and requests for more lesson posts though. I'm really glad that so many people have found my "Elvin Jones" exercises and such so useful (in fact, Joe LaBarbera suggested to me that some of them lie very well on the I would take his advice and do that!)

- If you are in Calgary this week don't forget to check out The Invertigo Trio with myself on drums, Jim Brenan on tenor saxophone and Rubim DeToledo on bass (see the post below for details)

Gabriele Mirabassi - Latakia Blend

In 2001 Mirabassi joined Rabih Abou-Khalil's group and soon became its foremost soloist who regularly brings the audience into a boiling state. While Rabih's music has an Arabic color, Gabriele's is deeply rooted in the folk music of his native Italy which he presents with great emotional power. Accordionist Luciano Biondini, who has also worked with such as Tony Scott and Enrico Rava, and tuba player Michel Godard, the most versatile exponent of his instrument worldwide, have been working with Mirabassi for quite a while - formerly as a quartet with additional drums or mandolin. All three of them are currently members in Rabih Abou-Khalil's band.
Gabriele Mirabassi (from Perugia) studied at the Morlacchi Conservatory and graduated in 1986 with highest honors. In the following years he mostly played contemporary classical music with the best European ensembles. However, already during those days he ventured into jazz and improvisation. Through his work with Richard Galliano, Sergio Assad, Stefano Battaglia and others he received good exposure at large festivals throughout the world. He was selected Talent of the Year in Italy in 1996 and presented his Brazilian project Pixinguinha at Umbria Jazz in 2001. Italian critic Guido Festinese described him as "a lucid, driving, unpredictable clarinet player with a voracious musical curiosity." Mirabassi has several albums under his own name on the Italian Egea label.
"Latakia Blend" is a charming album packed with thrilling original tunes. Graceful and inventive, it mixes the happiness and melancholia of folk dance music, the artistic perfection of a chamber ensemble and the improvisational drive of a jazz band. Consequently this album's program ranges from that sad Italian folk song "Gorizia" to Brazilian Chôro composer Pixinguinha's "Segura Ele" to an out-of-tempo rendition of Billy Strayhorn's ballad "Isfahan." And Mirabassi's warm clarinet adds nothing but pure beauty to all of them.

Artist: Gabriele Mirabassi
Album: Latakia Blend
Year: 2002
Label: Enja
Runtime: 54:48

1.  Girotondo (Gabriele Mirabassi) 4:20
2.  Gorizia (Traditional) 9:06
3.  Latakia Blend (Gabriele Mirabassi) 7:42
4.  Passacaille (Michel Godard) 4:17
5.  Isfahan (Billy Strayhorn) 4:55
6.  Non ci resta che... Chorar! (Gabriele Mirabassi) 3:40
7.  Segura ele (Pixinguinha) 2:03
8.  Burley e Perique (Gabriele Mirabassi) 4:40
9.  Michelone (Gabriele Mirabassi) 3:48
10.  Les vieux Allemands (Gabriele Mirabassi) 6:19
11.  Hotel Danubio (Gabriele Mirabassi) 4:04

Gabriele Mirabassi (Clarinet)
Luciano Biondini (Accordion)
Michel Godard (Tuba)

The Invertigo Trio

Here's an upcoming show that I'm quite excited about this week. Jim Brenan, Rubim de Toldeo and myself have been playing together as a trio for a couple years now and we are looking forward to recording together in the next while. It's a really fun band and we're trying to incorporate many different approaches and types of tunes within the saxophone trio format.


The Cliff Bungalow-Mission Jazz Series Presents:






WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2nd 2011   8:00pm

INFO: 403.650.7695

The Invertigo Trio is the latest collaboration between Calgary jazz artists Jim Brenan on tenor saxophone, Rubim DeToledo on bass and Jon McCaslin on drums. Evoking the sounds of the classic jazz saxophone trios of the 1960s and beyond, these accomplished artists have come together to present an evening of introspective and hard swinging music inspired by such artists as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. The groups repertoire will focus on jazz standards and contemporary compositions drawn from the classic jazz era as well as pieces written and arranged specifically for this trio.

After an exciting start the CBM Jazz concert series is now in its third season. Organized by local jazz enthusiast, saxophonist and composer Jan Mulder, the monthly series of concerts features some of Calgary's best jazz musicians and ensembles and provides an ideal opportunity to spend a relaxing evening. The concerts are conducted in the quiet listening and family friendly environment of the Cliff Bungalow-Mission community hall and take place on the first Wednesday of every month. Each 2 hour performance starts at 8 pm so everybody can get a good night sleep and be rested the next morning. Coffee, tea, and beverages are served. There is a $15 cover fee for each event. Tickets are sold at the door. Call 403-650-7695 for more info.

Up Close with Greg Hutchinson

Sit back and enjoy a drum lesson with Greg Hutchinson on the drums:

Ali Jackson Jr. Solos

Another clip to follow up my previous post of Ali's trio from a recent performance at Dizzy's in NYC. Here's Ali Jackson Jr. unleashing on the composition "Flow", a piece based on John Coltrane's tune "Giant Steps":

Ravi Shankar - Raga-Mala

Dedicated to Ravi Shankar's collaborator Zubin Mehta, Sitar Concerto No. 2 (or Raga-Mala), commissioned in 1981 by the New York Philharmonic, combines a rich base of Indian classical forms with Western classical conventions. - by Jenna Woolford, AMG

Probably the best fusion work! For a common listener, it is impossible to comprehend, what a true fusion of Indian and Western Classical could be. Except probably for the notes, everything is different for these two diverse genres. Considering the range, depth and complexity, there could be many treatments to make a fusion. Ravi Shankar himself has done it at different times with Zubin Mehta, London Symphony Orchestra under Andre Previn, and Yehudi Menuhin and even more. However, after listening a good amount of these fusion musical works from Ravi Shankar and others, this remains one of my most favorites of this kind. While the four pieces here, in overall, have maintained the mandates of four Indian ragas, internally the structures are innovative - thanks to the two great minds at work. I feel these were more Ravi Shankar's ideas than Zubin Mehta's. Though percussion are more prominent here than usually they are in regular performances in India or West, I liked this album from my very first listening. That such a piece can be written was an unknown fact to me before. Ravi Shankar's mastery and versatility are written all over it. - by Gautam De,

Artist: Ravi Shankar and Zubin Mehta
Album: Raga-Mala (Sitar Concerto No.2)
Year: 1981 (Recorded live at Royal Festival Hall, London, UK)
Label: Angel (Digitally Remastered, 1998)
Runtime: 52:07

1.  (I) Lalit (Presto) 16:36 
2.  (II) Bairagi (Moderato) 8:11 
3.  (III) Yaman Kalyan (Largo Moderato) 14:32 
4.  (IV) Mian Ki Malhar (Allegro) 12:46 
All compositions by R. Shankar

Ravi Shankar (Sitar)
Zubin Mehta (Conductor)
London Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestra)

More Bill Stewart with John Scofield

Some great footage here of Bill Stewart with his longtime musical companion John Scofield on guitar:

A New Blog for Saxophone Fans

Welcome to my new blog. I'll post infos & "more" about recordings by great saxophone players. Sincerely Yours

Shadow On The Net

Pat Metheny Larry Grenadier New York City 2011

Pat Metheny & Larry Grenadier

The Blue Note Jazz Club
October 16, 2011
New York City, NY, USA


Pat Metheny-guitar, Pikasso guitar, orchestrion
Larry Grenadier-bass


00 Welcome to the Blue Note Introductions 02:21
01 So May It Secretly Begin 05:40
02 James 08:05
03 Never Too Far Away 05:52
04 When We Were Free 10:35
05 Pat Metheny talks 04:04
06 The Bat 08:40
07 Two For The Road 05:27
08 The Sound Of Water 06:05
09 Improvise w/Orchestrion 15:47
10 And I Love Her 05:13

Bitrate 320

Allison Miller Plays Odd Meters

A quick one today of drummer Allison Miller demonstrating how to play in 13/8 from a recent clinic appearance:

Los Angeles in the Mist

“If they'd lower the taxes and get rid of the smog and clean up the traffic mess, I really believe I'd settle here until the next earthquake”

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (1890[1] – 1977) comedian and film star

I realize now it’s me that cannot drive in the rain.

I need a frontal lobotomy, near-blinding cataracts, and paralysis of my right foot to prevent movement from one pedal to the next.

Sonny Payne 1962

Dig this!

Roswell Rudd & Toumani Diabate - Malicool

At first blush, adding Roswell Rudd to a group of native West African musicians might seem, well, stretched. Surprisingly, though, it proves a remarkably impressive combination -- in large part due to the simple melodies, the opportunity for the trombonist to stretch out, and the quality of the band. Curiously, although recorded in Mali, half of the tunes are not indigenous to the region: Three are by Rudd, "Jackie-ing" is, of course, by Monk, and "All Through the Night" is a traditional Welsh song. Rudd plays the only Western-style horn (the others perform on a variety of local instruments or contribute vocals), and his burly tone and raunchy swagger take full advantage of the moment. The trombonist is in prime form, relaxed and expansive. The Africans are splendid, too, not only laying down a sympathetic carpet of light percussion over which the trombonist improvises but also providing some interesting diversions on instruments such as the kora, the balophone, the djembe, and the ngone. The acclaimed Toumani Diabate is co-leader of the session, contributes a few pieces, and shines on his native kora (a 21-stringed harp). "Jackie-ing" is perhaps the most interesting of the tunes, if only because it is so difficult for the Africans to manage. As Rudd explains in his notes, the tradition among the Africans is to focus on simple riffs as accompaniments and to continue to explore sections to their fullest rather than jumping to the next section of a song. Ultimately, these issues (and others) are worked out, and Monk is given a sort of facelift that proves compelling. Overall, the band is tight and well-rehearsed, Rudd's solos rival his best, and the tunes are catchy, simple, and accessible. Fans of the trombonist or of West African music will not wish to miss the opportunity to pick up this rare and exciting collaboration.- by Steven Loewy, AMG

Artist: Roswell Rudd & Toumane Diabate
Album: MAlicool
Year: 2001
Label: Universal Music (2002)
Runtime: 60:48

1.  Bamako (Roswell Rudd) 6:29
2.  Rosmani (Toumani Diabate) 6:05
3.  Jackie-ing (Thelonius Monk) 5:43
4.  All Through the Night (Traditional/arr. Roswell Rudd) 2:21
5.  Hank (Toumani Diabate) 5:56
6.  Johanna (Toumani Diabate) 7:51
7.  For Toumani (Roswell Rudd) 11:32
8.  Malicool (Roswell Rudd) 3:47
9.  Sena et Mariam (based on George Gershwin's Summertime) 7:02
10.  Malijam (Ludwig von Beethoven/arr. Roswell Rudd) 4:02

Roswell Rudd (Trombone)
Toumani Diabate (Kora)
Lassana Diabate (Balaphone)
Basseko Kouyate (Ngone)
Henry Schroy (Bass)
Sayon Sissoko (Guitar)
Sekou Diabate (Djembe)
Mamadou Kouyate (Vocals) - 2,5
Dala Diabate (Vocals) - 5

Interview with Jesse Cahill

Today's post features an interview with my fellow Canadian Jazz drummer and blogger Jesse Cahill. Jesse is currently doing great things out in Vancouver, teaching at Vancouver Island University and is touring at the moment with a Hank Mobley tribute project featuring Cory Weeds on tenor saxophone, Oliver Gannon on guitar and NYC organist Mike LeDonne. I'm really looking forward to their show at the Beatniq on Saturday evening and I thought it would be nice to ask Jesse a few questions in advance of their performance.

I've known Jesse since 1995 when I first started my undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal. Jesse and I split the drum chair in one of the big bands for a couple of years and also shared a practice space for awhile. Even back then Jesse was an absolute monster on the drums and I always really admired his tremendous sense of swing and understanding of the tradition of Jazz drumming (he has checked out ALOT of recordings over the years). And of course Jesse's brush technique was always something to behold.

Jesse was nice enough to take a few moments out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions here at Four on The Floor:

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

Both of my parents played music when I was a kid so there was always something on the record player or banjos and guitars being played. Mostly growing up I listened to R&B and rock n roll: Chuck Berry, early Stones, the Coasters, Paul Butterfield and blue grass too as that's what my dad played. I got a snare drum when I was 12 and borrowed a drum set from my high school the following year. I found jazz music almost right away mostly from listening to the CBC and going to see concerts in Victoria. My Aunt took me to see Wynton's Majesty of the Blues tour and that was pretty much it.

I learned (and am still learning!) to play jazz by listening to records and trying to copy what I heard. It sounds cliche but that's really what I did. I met a few older musicians and they told me that's what they did so I just started going to the public library and taking out as many records as I could: MJQ, Miles Davis, Cannonball, Bud Powell, Larry Young, Dexter Gordon etc. At some point I got it in my head that I was good enough to go to the local jam session. I probably sucked but I got to sit in for a tune or two every week. A few guys I took lessons with in town let me come down to there gigs and sit in after I bugged them enough. I must have been a total pain in the ass!

When I was 18 I got to take some lessons with Keith Copeland and that really changed everything. He showed me how to practice jazz drums and gave me a great list of recordings to check out. That was huge! Then I went to Montreal to go to McGill and that's a whole other story. I loved it in Montreal and had many great teachers and friends to make music with.

2) Who are your musical influences and why?

Like most musicians I probably have more influences than I can actually list but I love jazz music! Soul music too. Music is a visceral thing for me so I've always been drawn to the greasier side of things. I love the sound of the Jazz Messengers, especially the live records, that energy is very inspiring. Or a musician like Bud Powell who put so much of himself into every note. I'm a huge fan of southern soul, anything on Stax records. That Memphis sound is amazing.

3) Who are some of your favorite drummers and why?

This changes constantly so here's two lists:

All time: Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones

Today: Ben Dixon, Billy James, Lex Humphries, Mel Lewis, Billy Higgins

4) Name your top 5 favorite albums (or more!) and how they have influenced you:

Again this changes all the time, there's so many great records and I've been influenced by a lot of different things so in no particular order here's five of my favourite records:

Art Blakey Quintet: "A Night at Birdland" - These sides, to me, are the essence of jazz music. It's swinging, has endless energy and the band plays with reckless abandon from start to finish.

Barry Harris: "At the Jazz Workshop" - Cookin! This is as close to perfect as I think it could get.

John Coltrane: "Live at the Village Vangaurd" - I love Elvin's brush playing on Softly and would say that Spiritual has been a blue print for me for playing in 3/4.

Larry Young: "Unity" (and all of the other Blue Note dates he did with Elvin) - This was the first organ record I ever owned.

Dexter Gordon: "Go" - The first Higgins record I ever heard. This was how I always wanted to play. I'm still trying….

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

Lately I've been spending a lot of time on trying to be a better ensemble player, do a better job playing arrangements and what not. I spend a fair bit of time every day playing snare drum, playing rudiments and such, playing some brushes, playing some time with the metronome and playing along to a recording or two. I like to work on tempos, in particular the ones I don't get to play very much (warp speed and slow ballads are the worst if you aren't doing it all the time). I also like to learn new feels. Lately I've been trying to get a good boogaloo together.

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

I'm on the road with The Cory Weeds/Mike LeDonne quartet at the moment. I have my organ band in it's two forms, big band and quintet. I'm playing with Harold Mabern and Eric Alexander in a few weeks and Cory Weeds' Quartet CD launch. So I guess right now it's mostly spang-shang-a-lang just the way I like.

6) How has writing your blog changed your approach to teaching and or/playing the drums?

It's forced me to put my own shit under the microscope a lot more than I have in the past (I've watched way more video of myself than ever before). And then of course there's trying to write in complete sentences.

7) Favorite place to eat? (while at home or on the road?)

My favourite place to eat at home is in my house! On the road I just try to keep a good 3 to 1 healthy to greasy meal ratio.

Ali Jackson Jr. Trio

Jazz at Lincoln Center/Wynton Marsalis drummer Ali Jackson Jr. just finished a week-long stint at Dizzy's in NYC with his trio featuring Omer Avital on bass and Aaron Goldberg on piano. Ali is always an exciting drummer to watch and listen to.

Here's someone's iPhone or camera footage to give you a sample (although I hope this trio records an album soon!):

The Calgary Scene - Michelle Grégoire

The Calgary Scene column is back and today we feature pianist and composer Michelle Grégoire who has just recently moved to Calgary from Winnipeg.

Grégoire's music appears regularly on XM Radio and Galaxie satellite jazz programs and made several top ten lists on programs all over North America. She has toured across Canada with her quintet and was recently featured at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Prairie Scene Festival, the Port Hope All-Canadian Jazz Festival and more. An active freelance musician since 1984, Michelle Grégoire maintains a solid reputation as a sideperson and band leader having appeared with visiting artists to Winnipeg such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Peter Appleyard, and the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation. In June 2009, Grégoire's quintet opened for the Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Jazz Winnipeg Festival and in June 2010 the group was recorded by CBC Radio's Concerts on Demand. Grégoire has been a guest performer and composer with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and has worked regularly with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra since its inception in 1997. Grégoire holds two jazz degrees from St. Francis Xavier University (1988, 1990), a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the Florida State University (1993). She has attended the Hugh Fraser Jazz Orchestra Residency in Banff where she worked with Maria Schneider in 2002 and Kenny Wheeler in 2004. Grégoire has also studied privately with world-renowned composer Bob Brookmeyer.

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

I started playing music at a very young age (4 or 5 years old) and because I learned through the Yamaha Music program  I was exposed to improvisation early on. I remember learning chords and improvising on a blues when I was 7 or 8 years old. We learned all kinds of popular songs and jazz tunes. I think I played Night Train for a competition once. I became more serious about jazz as a young adult. I thought it was an important part of developing as a professional musician and I wanted to learn to arrange and compose more seriously. I was actively performing with many groups and started out mainly exploring fusion and funk. Eventually it all led to studies in jazz at the university level at St Francis Xavier University in 1986.

2) Who are your musical influences and why?
I always find this type of question difficult to answer. has been in my life since day one...but some of my strongest influences might have been the musicians I work with on a regular basis, or peers. I have always been lucky in that I get to play with a lot of different people who inspire me to keep growing. That's how I learned music after all, in a group lesson playing along with a really good player/teacher and other kids. The teachers I have had in the past have had a strong influence on me and some of these were the greats I used to listen to on record when I was developing myself as a composer during my university years: people like Kenny Wheeler or Bob Brookmeyer. And some of my best teachers were names nobody has ever heard of but they influenced me both as an artist and as a person. I am inspired by the music if the person is somebody I have respect for and vice versa. Music is just a reflection of the person.

3) Name your top 5 favorite albums and how they have influenced you.
Wow again tough to answer. I hope I never narrow it down to just five. But off the top of my head:
"Night Train" by Oscar Peterson - love of swing, groove, blues, technique, tone, everything. One of my first favorite records, and it may be the one that made me really love jazz.
Any Gordon Lightfoot record - what? Yes, mom had all his records and I probably heard them day in and day out from the womb up till age 6 or so. I am sure he's why I have melody seriously ingrained in every cell. Even my most complicated melodies can be sung. Thanks Gordon.
"Standards Vol. 1" by the Keith Jarrett Trio - inspired playing, interaction, melody, space, uncomplicated.
Mel Lewis Orchestra playing the music of Bob Brookmeyer - there are a couple of significant recordings breaking all the limitations of form and development in jazz orchestra writing. LOVE it. It inspired me to go much much further, to look for what I could do with the music.
"Deer Wan" by Kenny Wheeler - I listened to it every night for almost two years. Phrasing, tone, compositional strength, melody, group interaction, breaking so much to say. It made me want to be a contributor in every way, not just a player who could play something. It opened up my ears to new harmonic ideas and so much more.

4) What sort of things are you practicing or developing musically these days?
I still spend most of my "work" time writing or transcribing or collecting and developing ideas. I am finishing a commission for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra which will be played in February or March 2012.
I also have really taken to the idea of returning to the organ. I did a session on the B3 with Ralf Bushmeyer and John Riley recently. Organ is actually my first instrument, so it's great to get back into it. I have a lot more work to do yet to keep the chops up and "expand" my brain to more comfortably play solos while walking and what not. It's a fun new diversion.

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

I just started a trio project (Ascend 3 Trio) with a couple of my favorite players in town, Tyler Hornby on drums and Rubim De Toledo on bass. Tyler approached me about it last summer and I jumped on the idea. I have been wanting to record a piano trio record so I am pretty stoked to do this with these guys. We're all collaborating and contributing to the material. It's a fantastic new project and I can't wait to do more with that.
I am also wanting to record another quintet record - so many great tunes to document and I just love that format. I've enjoyed playing my tunes recently with some Calgary based players mixed in with either some of the Toronto guys who played on the record, or Winnipeg based players I enjoyed working with. It's been great fun and I'd love to document some of the recent tunes and take the music as far as I can take it both musically and geographically!
Also, I am always writing something for big band or playing in one, I really should record an album one of these days. And I certainly plan to expand my writing into more of the chamber orchestra type stuff, or full on orchestra....some type of jazz-orchestrated-large ensemble extravaganza.
And last year I wrote a bunch of stuff for voices and that's still a main interest. Yikes...I have lots of things I want to explore....and that's why I am still doing it!

6) As a composer you’ve written an extensive amount of original works and compositions for your own groups and others. What can you tell us about your philosophy and approach as a Jazz composer?
I definitely still love melody, space, time, great feel. I still want the music to be music because I still love music! So my approach is that it HAS to be musical no matter how crazy it all gets. Form and direction are very important. Where is it all going? I want to work with something inspired...I'll wait forever for the right melody of tid bit to work with. I want things to say something. Even the most outside or loose stuff has to come together for me somehow. 
Also I really believe in the idea of doing pre-compositional work. In college it was easy, teachers fed me a bunch of new concepts and I ran with that and wrote a bunch of new music. But now it's on me to create and collect new ideas. So I feel that in order to be satisfied with any new tune or composition, I have to put some time into that aspect of things. It takes more ongoing effort, but I really just want to expand myself and write something truly new for me.

7) You’ve only recently moved to Calgary after spending many years active in the Winnipeg music community.
What prompted your move to Calgary?
The change is very good. I am thrilled to meet new players, be in a bigger town, do new things. I came here because I knew I would be able to work, grow, pay the bills and keep doing my thing. The bonus is the strong jazz scene - great players, good people. I know I will thrive here, and I hope I can give back as much as I am getting here. I certainly do love it here.

Mark Isham - Blue Sun

A fine album by this trumpeter better known for film scores and Windham Hill new age electronics than for jazz. However, on this outing, Mark Isham struts his jazz stuff. Although the instrumentation includes electric bass, occasional electric piano, and a sprinkling of atmospheric electronics, the feel here is of an acoustic recording of the cool jazz school. Isham's quintet includes Steve Tavaglione on tenor saxophone and David Goldblatt on piano, both of whom inform this music with elegance and grace. Isham himself has never sounded better on record, recalling the Miles Davis of the '50s at times, and the rhythm section of drummer Kurt Wortman and bassist Doug Lunn keeps the music moving at a relaxed pace. Isham's work in his Windham Hill days was, while interesting, easily identifiable and properly classified in the new age bin. Here, he has moved in a new, classy direction, proving he can write and perform well-crafted music of substance. - by Jim Newsom, AMG

I hate to make Miles Davis comparisons, and I won't even attempt to critique his technique--I'll let the experts and the brass players do that. I will simply say that, as years have gone by, when I am in the mood for a trumpet CD, I reach for SKETCHES OF SPAIN or BLUE SUN. I don't know what that says for Miles or Isham, but I love both. BLUE SUN is such a wonderful blend of sounds, melodies, and harmonies that I just don't get tired of hearing it. From the opening percussive notes of "Barcelona," right through the subtle keyboard and sax intro to "That Beautiful Sadness," the more restless feel of "Trapeze" and the melancholy "Lazy Afternoon," Isham has me in his grasp. I love the sax harmony and interplay on "Blue Sun," the sorrow of "In More Than Love," and the tip of the hat to both Miles Davis and Robert Frost (I'm a high school English teacher, so I really appreciate the Frost reference) on "And Miles To Go . . . Before He Sleeps." I love just the hint of electric on the closing tune, "Tour de Chance," as well--it closes everything nicely. Where he really slays me, though, is on "In a Sentimental Mood," track 8. I don't think anyone, living or dead, could wring any more emotion and "sentiment" out of a melody than Isham does on this piece. Ohhhh. It's almost exhausting to listen to, but somehow I don't feel exhausted when it's done--I feel refreshed and invigorated. He's done all the work--I just need to slow down and listen. . . . Really nice keyboard work underneath and behind the melody--very understated and appropriate. I don't know how a person could listen to Isham on this track and not run out and buy the CD. Even if you hated the rest, which would be virtually impossible, it would be worth the asking price for this 7+ minute experience. Bottom Line: Whether or not he's the next coming of Miles or just another chump blowing on a trumpet, Mark Isham has captured something very special on this CD. It isn't on his earlier ones, and I haven't heard it on his more recent ones, although I love those, as well. He is garnering some attention as a film scorer, which is great--his scores are excellent--but he can't capture this . . . essence . . . in a film score. This is a very intimate, personal, understated, and reflective effort from Isham. Everyone deserves to experience this hour. . . - by Roger L. Foreman,

Artist: Mark Isham
Album: Blue Sun
Year: 1995
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 60:55

1.  Barcelona (Mark Isham) 5:12
2.  That Beautiful Sadness (Mark Isham) 5:58
3.  Trapeze (Mark Isham) 6:55
4.  Lazy Afternoon (Jerome Moross/John Latouche) 3:53
5.  Blue Sun (Mark Isham) 9:00
6.  In More Than Love (Mark Isham) 8:06
7.  And Miles To Go... Before He Sleeps (Mark Isham) 7:02
8.  In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Manny Kurtz) 7:50
9.  Tour De Chance (Mark Isham) 6:59

Mark Isham (Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn and Electronics)
David Goldblatt (Acoustic and Electric Piano)
Steve Tavaglione (Tenor Saxophone)
Doug Lunn (Electric Bass)
Kurt Wortman (Drums)
David Torn (Guitar Loops)
Peter Maunu (Guitar Loops)
Lisbeth Scott (Vocal Loops)

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

On Monday night I had the opportunity to hear the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans perform at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts in Calgary, AB. It was an impressive and joyful evening of traditional New Orleans Jazz music that brought to mind the legacies of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and other early Jazz music from the Crescent City.

The band featured the following superb musicians (no sousaphone that night though! oh well...)

• Mark Braud - trumpet
• Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
• Freddie Lonzo - trombone
• Rickie Monie - piano
• Clint Maedgen - tenor saxophone & vocals
• "Little" Joe Lastie, Jr. - drums

It was a great evening all around and featured early American Jazz music played with the authentic sound and feel. You can tell that these musicians have grown up with this music and they play it with a sincerity and real knowledge, appreciation and deep amount of respect for the tradition.

Two real things really stood out for me after hearing them play. I was reminded that:

1) Jazz is fundamentally a folk music...

2) The happy and joyful spirit that these guys play with was a nice reminder that it's okay to have fun while playing Jazz music. Personally, maybe I need to try and smile a bit more myself when I play (*see Billy Higgins!)

For me, the highlight was easily the trumpet playing of Mark Braud. His playing was outstanding and he really nailed it as far as I was concerned.

"Little" Joe Lastie's drumming provided the perfect buoyant support for the band. It was firmly rooted in the style of such early Jazz drummer pioneers such as Warren "Baby" Dodds and Zutty Singleton. I was very impressed and got a real lesson in Second Line drumming and early Jazz drumming styles that rely heavily on using buzz/press roll vocabulary, playing time on the snare drum (or as Baby Dodds referred to it as "digging coal" on his LP "Talking & Drum Solos". Carl Allen gave me a copy of this years ago and it is a must have resource for anyone interested in early forms of Jazz drumming.)

Here's a taste of what the Preservation Hall Jazz band is up to these days:

Jeff Ballard's Trap Kit

Dig this unique contraption from Jeff Ballard:

Jean-Luc Ponty - Tchokola

Every eight years, it seems, Jean-Luc Ponty picks himself up, gives himself a good shake, and switches direction. In 1967, he made his first life-changing visit to the U.S.; 1975 found him going solo permanently as a jazz/rock icon; 1983 marked a switch to sequencer music; and in 1991, Ponty discovered African music. Taking advantage of the huge interest in African music in France, Ponty recorded his electric violin over the churning, hypnotic grooves of a coterie of visiting West African musicians in Paris, and the results, on Tchokola, are delicious. In one sense, not that much has changed, for while Ponty has thrown out the sequencers and electronic gizmos, his music remains grounded in repeated ostinato patterns -- those provided by the Africans. Ponty dabbles in all kinds of grooves -- the Nigerian juju, Cameroon's makossa (there is an especially swinging example of that on "Mouna Bowa"), the Afro-French Caribbean zouk, the sabar from Senegal, West Africa's mandingo, and a few others. On top of these, Ponty imposes his own distinctive melodic ideas on acoustic or electric violin, gingerly negotiating his way over the bumps of the tricky rhythms. At times, one feels that even this endlessly pliable virtuoso is not quite comfortable with these exotic idioms, but the music is so infectious that it usually sweeps him -- and us -- right along. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Jean-Luc Ponty
Album: Tchokola
Year: 1991
Label: Epic/Sony
Runtime: 54:15

1.  Mam' Mai (Abdou Mboup/Yves Ndjock/Jean-Luc Ponty) 6:00
2.  Sakka Sakka (Guy Nsangué/Brice Wassy/Myriam Betty/W. Nfor) 5:22
3.  Tchokola (Brice Wassy) 5:47
4.  Mouna Bowa (Guy Nsangué/Jen-Luc Ponty) 6:32
5.  N'fan Môt (Jean-Luc Ponty/Brice Wassy) 6:10
6.  Yé Ké Yé Ké (Mory Kanté) 4:58
7.  Bamako (Yves Ndjock/Jean-Luc Ponty/Brice Wassy) 4:32
8.  Rhum 'N' Zouk (Jean-Luc Ponty) 5:04
9.  Cono (Salif Keita)  4:56
10.  Bottle Bop (Yves Ndjock/Guy Nsangué/Brice Wassy) 4:49

Jean-Luc Ponty (Acoustic and Electric Violins, Keyboards)
Guy Nsangué (Bass Guitar)
Kemo Kouyate (Kora, Balafon, Harp)
Abdou Mboup (Percussion)
Brice Wassy (Drums and Percussion)
Yves Ndjock (Guitar) - 1-3,6-9
Martin Atangana (Guitar) - 2,4,5,10
Moustapha Cissé (Percussion) - 1-3,6-9
Angélique Kidjo (Vocals)
Myriam Betty (Vocals)
Esther Dobong'Naessiene (Vocals)

Eric Harland with McCoy Tyner & Bobby Hutcherson

Let's start off the week with a fine rendition of John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" featuring Eric Harland on drums with McCoy Tyner and my hero Bobby Hutcherson at the vibraphone:

Here's also a few trailers from Eric's new instructional DVD soon to be released from

Make sure to buy this fantastic DVD and others soon to be available from I know this sounds like a commercial (!) but I've been quite impressed from the quality I've seen so far. The Ralph Peterson Jr. clips that are circulating are really good and I was also fortunate to get an advance copy of Ari Hoenig's "Melodic Drumming" DVD earlier this year. There is some serious information in these volumes that no one else has had the foresight to present as of yet, so let's support this great initiative.

Oscar Peterson - On the Town

This reissue of Oscar Peterson's live Toronto recording in the Desert Island Discs series at Verve brings to light the question that jazz audiences were debating at the time. With Peterson's legerdemain rhythmic possibilities, his knotting, shimmering waves of notes, his insanely huge harmonic structures, and his dense clusters played in every solo, half the jazz populace wondered if all the swinging noodling might be a skillful medicine show while the other half considered it genius. No matter. One thing that everyone agreed on: No matter how busy his busy got — and this album illustrates the rule since it's in a live setting — Peterson always, always swung, particularly with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. The set opens with "Sweet Georgia Brown" and it's all bets off as to what Peterson will do next. He skitters from one melodic possibility to the next while Ellis creates a dynamic flow of fresh ideas to keep the music full and bright. There are blues here, and they are gutbucket blues. They come from Ellis' guitar during this late '50s period more than at any other time in his life. But they come from Brown and Peterson too, and that's where the argument loses the wind in its sails: Everything this trio played was rooted in a blues so pervasive, so swinging, so hot, it could not be anything but truly fine jazz. Peterson's musical appetite matched his physical stature, and it is reflected in the selections here, which all seem to segue into one another: "Should I," "When the Lights Are Low," "Pennies From Heaven," "Moonlight in Vermont," and others through to "Love Is Here to Stay." All are reinvented and reinterpreted through the science of harmonic invention and rhythmic interval unique to this Oscar Peterson Trio. And while the plates and glasses rattle and tinkle, the jazz continues to burn, full of joy and light and just a hint of smoke. In 1958 this was a night to remember; in the 21st Century it's a disc to memorize in the depths of the heart. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: On the Town with the Oscar Peterson Trio
Year: 1958 (Recorded live at the Town Tavern, Toronto)
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: Verve (96 kHz, 14-bit digital transfer)
Total time: 77:39

1.  Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie/Kenneth Casey/Maceo Pinkard) 7:47
2.  Should I? (Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown) 5:04
3.  When Lights Are Low (Benny Carter/Spencer Williams) 5:57
4.  Easy Listenin' Blues (Nadine Robinson) 6:48
5.  Pennies From Heaven (Arthur Johnston/Johnny Burke) 7:22
6.  The Champ (Dizzy Gillespie) 5:25
7.  Moonlight in Vermont (Karl Suessdorf/John Blackburn) 6:05
8.  Baby, Baby All the Time (Bobby Troup) 6:49
9.  I Like to Recognize the Tune (Richard Rodgers/Lorentz Hart) 4:17
10.  Joy Spring (Clifford Brown) 9:01
11.  Gal in Calico (Arthur Schwartz/Leo Robin) 5:16
12.  Love is Here to Stay (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 7:41

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Herb Ellis (Guitar)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)

Jazz Docs

I'm taking a break for the weekend. However, in the meantime, here's a few GREAT Jazz documentaries to keep you occupied:

There is something to be said about great documentaries filmed about Jazz musicians and capturing their music and personalities on film. These ones, in particular, are good examples and will hopefully stand the test of time.

In recent times Ken Burns PBS series JAZZ is probably the most significant Jazz doc of our time. It's very good, however I feel that it skipped over certain musicians and didn't devote quite enough attention to certain important aspects of the music that really deserved it. Maybe it was just about 10 episodes too short? But I think it's still worth watching and there is much to be learned, even if it doesn't necessarily tell the entire story.

Having said that, the best recent Jazz documentary that I've come across is Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense I've blogged about this one before and I think it's an excellent cinematic effort that attempts to show all that is good and currently happening in Jazz music today. Make sure to check it out.

Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense from John Comerford on Vimeo.

Richard Bona Martinique Jazz Festival 2010


01. Kalabancoro
02. Please don't stop
03. Liberty City
04. O Sen Sen Sen
05. Djombwe
06. Tedikalo


Richard Bona Bass vocal
Etienne Stadwijk Claviers
Jean-Christophe Maillard Guitar
Ernesto Simpson Drums
Lee Greenblatt Trumpet
Andreaw Hunter Trombone

Bitrate 320

Max Roach and Abdullah Ibrahim

Some of my favorite Max Roach duet recordings feature him with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Mal Waldron, Archie Shepp and Anthony Braxton. As you can probably tell, Max is my favorite drummer and I'm always excited to discover something of his that I've never seen before!

Here's a recent find of Max Roach in a musical dialogue with none other than pianist Abdullah Ibrahim:

I've always admired Max's way of really making the drums "speak". In fact, I've even heard him refer to his melodic style of drumming as being "lyrical" drumming. Max studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music early on in his career and I think he really approaches the drums from an almost compositional perspective. The way he organizes his vocabulary and phrases is always very clear and there is always lots to learn from listening and watching Max play the drums.

Alan Pasqua Paris France 1994

Alan Pasqua-Palle Danielson-Peter Erskine
1994 September
Paris France


Alan Pasqua:Piano
Palle Danielson:Bass
Peter Erskine;Drums


01: You & The Night & The Music
02: Announce
03: Karine
04: Milago
05: Sleepin Child
06: Joy in Progress (incomplete)

Broadcast Source Jazz Club France Musique

Bitrate 320

Bill Stewart with John Scofield and Mulgrew Miller

An impressive lineup here featuring Bill Stewart on the drums with John Scofield on guitar, Mulgrew Miller at the piano and Scott Colley on the bass:

Dig the close ups of Bill's impressive cymbals and technique!

Brad Mehldau Live At Jamie Cullum Show 2011

Brad Mehldau Solo
BBC Radio 2
Jamie Cullum Show
October 2011


1. Blackbird – Lennon/McCartney
2. Hey You – Pink Floyd
3. Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead

Total time 22’ 04”

All songs recorded BBC Maida Vale Studios September 2011

Bitrate 320

Enrico Pieranunzi with John Patitiucci & Joey Baron kick off new concert series in New York's Merkin Concert Hall

D.JGreene and Associates together with E.A. Music Artist Management presents world renowned Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi performing for the first time with John Patitucci (bass) and Joey Baron (drums) for an evening of Jazz at Merkin Concert Hall, November 14, 2011.

Pieranunzi’s American trio history is studded with prestigious collaborations, from the legendary Marc Johnson/Joey Baron trio to his late 80s trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. Enrico’s musical world, already rich in typical European aspects, is fused with the distinctive moods of the most gifted American musicians, leaving a personal mark on the fascinating progression of this classic jazz format.

Pieranunzi’s artistry has come full circle to this current collaboration with Grammy-winning bass player, John Patittucci. In addition to his solo work, Brooklyn-born Patitucci has played with B.B. King, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and Dizzy Gillespie. Rounding out the trio for this Merkin Hall date is drummer Joey Baron, best known for his work with Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, Steve Kuhn and Jim Hall. There’s no doubt that this trio’s live performance will generate a rich interplay tracing some stunning and unexpected musical adventures.

D.J. Greene & Associates and E.A. Artist Management are music impresarios committed to bringing jazz greats and new, up-and-coming U.S. and European musicians that typically perform at jazz clubs and introduce them and their music to a new audience in a concert setting.

Jo Bickhardt, founder and president of U.S. - based D.J Greene & Associates and Andrew Read, founder of European-based E.A. Music Artist Management, said, “We believe the time is right to celebrate and expand the world of jazz by introducing the music rarely heard in concert halls". We believe once audiences hear jazz in this new setting they will still experience the music intimacy of the jazz club setting.

DJ Greene & Associates are advocates for their artists, building and perfecting their career development and provide essential branding for professional growth. We have adapted niche marketing techniques and uncovered new career opportunities in the fast changing new music economy.  Our reach has expanded to European artists, venues and tour support. DJ Greene & Associates in association with European-based E. A. Music Artist Management represent a select number of international artists with prominence in the fields of Jazz, Classical and World Music.

Concert dates are

Enrico Pieranunzi Trio 14 November 2011 - Merkin Hall - New York
Concert starts at 8:00pm

Enrico Pieranunzi - Solo 15 November 2011 - Merkin Hall - New York
Concert starts at 8:00pm
Tickets available via the Merkin Hall Website   


Happy Birthday Art Blakey

Happy birthday to Art Blakey who would have been 92 years old today!

Lefteris Christofis - Nous Icons

A consonant jazz fusion delight with mediterenean scents that gives life to an imaginary musical result from a remarkable band which surprises and carries away its audience. The Greek lyrical guitarist Lefteris Christofis is the kind of an artist who through his music transfers internal images, visions and scenes from the realm of reality and fantasy. In his new CD "NOUS ICONS" released worldwidely by Blue Note Records he creates well – built melodic compositions with unusual rhythmical moods and a diversity of the colours of sound. Modal melodies, calidoscopic harmonies, lyrical vocals are supported by groovy rhythms in order to create the spirit of improvisation that gives space to the musicians for an impressive performing status.- from

Artist: Lefteris Christofis
Album: Nous Icons
Year: 2005
Label: Blue Note
Runtime: 56:12

1.  Voices 9:36 
2.  Mirror's Reflection 8:02 
3.  Diavassis 5:40 
4.  Dream Dance 11:22 
5.  Bossa Modo 9:25 
6.  First Touch 7:35 
7.  Fire Fest 4:29 
All compositions by Lefteris Christofis

Lefteris Christofis (Guitar and Vocals)
Paul Wertico (Drums and Percussion)
Vangelis Kontopoulos (Double Bass and Bass)
Barbara Unger-Wertico (Keyboards) - 3,5,6
Antonis Papoutsakis (Congas and Djembe) - 1,7
Nikos Touliatos (Marakes, Gong and Claves) - 1,4

Gigs This Week...

A few fun gigs on the go this week to tell you about:

The Keith O'Rourke Quintet Plays the Music of Tom Harrell

Friday, October 14th
Saturday, October 15th

The Beatniq Jazz & Social Club
211 - 1st Street SW
Calgary, Alberta


Keith O'Rourke - Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Summers - Trumpet
Michelle Gregoire - Piano
Kodi Hutchinson - Bass
Jon McCaslin - Drums

We'll be playing two nights of music from the pen of composer/trumpet player Tom Harrell. This is really fun music to play but definitely very difficult music and a real challenge!

The Jon McCaslin Trio

Thursday, October 13th


The Sandstone Lounge
The Hyatt Regency
"All That Jazz" Music Series sponsored by the Cantos Music Foundation
700 Centre Street SE
Calgary, Alberta


Jon McCaslin - Drums
Ralf Buschmeyer - Guitar
Dale James - Bass

This is a new project that I'm really quite excited about. Ralf is one of Western Canada's premier guitarists and Dale James is a force! I'm looking forward to this hit and taking the music some interesting directions with these guys.

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

I'm happy to be spending Thanksgiving in Montreal this year (that's Canadian Thanksgiving, eh?) and it's been great catching up and playing with old friends in my old town after a brief stopover in Toronto last week. I spent the better part of ten years studying and working in Montreal and I owe a lot to the musicians in this town in terms of my own personal musical development and personal journey.

- My wife and I hit the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill on Saturday evening to hear trumpeter Kevin Dean and his fine quintet consisting of Janis Steprans on tenor saxophone, Andre White on piano, Alec Walkington on bass and Dave Laing on drums. The band sounded great, as always, on a program of Kevin's brand new compositions that, while impressively steeped in the hard bop tradition of Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Barry Harris, Blue Mitchell and Horace Silver, featured everyone very nicely on hard swinging and very cleverly written compositions and arrangements.

- Kevin has a real talent for writing interesting and well thought out melodic compositions that are equally fun to play as they are to listen to. I was lucky to study Jazz composition with Kevin during my McGill days and he always stressed the importance of integrating the arrangement within the composition and this is something that he does very well. I've tried to incorporate that concept in writing my own compositions and I feel that this always provides for memorable compositions and it's a very useful overall composing technique.

- Drummer Dave Laing is one of the nations best on drums. I was fortunate to study with Dave during my undergrad years at McGill and also had the opportunity to watch him in action on a regular basis with many of Montreal's top Jazz artists back in the day. Listening to Dave's hard swinging and driving cymbal beat and hearing his exceptionally clear phrasing on the drums is always inspiring, refreshing and a nice incentive to hit the woodshed once I get home! I also sat in a rehearsal with Joe Sullivan's big band and witnessing Dave's thundering and driving beat reminded me of why his playing has always been one of my favorites.

Here's a little sample of "Scooter" in action:

- Pianist & drummer Andre White has recently resurrected in his long-time website "Jazz View" that features interviews with many of Canada's leading Jazz artists. Dig that here:
Look for an upcoming interview with Jerry Fuller from Andre's archives. Jerry was certainly one of Canada's influential Jazz drummers during his time.


A few things to take note of these days that caught my interest lately:

- Drummer/author/educator Steve Fidyk has an upcoming article in the November issue of Modern Drummer magazine where he discusses some different approaches to dealing with playing the ride cymbal from the perspective of holding the stick using some different fulcrum points. Here's the video portion of this article:

- Ethan Iverson, pianist with the Bad Plus and blogger over at DO THE MATH, interviews legendary swinger Mickey Roker over here:

My fellow Canadian Jazz drummer/bloggers have been busy over at their respective blogs:

- Vancouver-based Jesse Cahill has some great lessons dealing with variations on a common three-note phrase between the hands and feet over here:

- Ted Warren over at his blog Trap'd has more interesting brush lessons plus an inspiring article about what it really means to play the music at hand with focus, purpose and integrity:

- Ralph Peterson Jr. has a new instructional DVD in the works. I'm really looking forward to checking this out in it's entirety. In the meantime, several excerpts of this video have been posted at

Check those out here:

- Likwise, drummer Eric Harland has a DVD of his own coming out as well and a few previews of those can be checked out here as well:

Dig the "blues" in particular! Wow...

- Speaking of Eric Harland, here he is in a unique duet with trumpeter Avishai Cohen in some ruins:

- Here's some nice up close footage of drummer Billy Hart taking his turn during a performance with "The Cookers":

Just don't take his picture up close with the flash on while he's playing!!!

Vinicius Cantuária - Sol Na Cara

This is a great pop release with good compositions and performances, very respectful to the Brazilian music-rich tradition (as evidenced by the melody of "Samba Da Estrela," clearly inspired by Ari Barroso's "Baixa Do Sapateiro"). Vinícius Cantuária, for some decades (since O Terço, in the '70s) active in Brazilian pop music, performs (co-produced with Arto Lindsay) his own compositions with respectable partners such as Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, and Ryuichi Sakamoto (his only accompanist in the entire album). Cantuaria carefully avoids the traps of an easy appropriation of Brazilian music elements condemned to be to mere exotic ornaments for commercial clichés, as it is the pop mainstream in Brazil today. His subtle interpretation and compositions clearly spell B-R-A-S-I-L, not as some old, stuffed tradition, but as a celebration of a strong and living culture that can coexist side by side with other world cultures. There are lots of low-profile synthesizer effects in the background, which seem to represent a "modernizing" intention; it doesn't add to the artistic result, but that's a minor complaint. The album is worth it. - by Alvaro Neder, AMG

Artist: Vinicius Cantuária
Album: Sol Na Caea
Year: 1996
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: Gramavision
Runtime: 38:41

1.  Sem Pisar No Chão (Without Touching the Ground) (Vinicius Cantuária/Caetano Veloso) 3:20
2.  Rio Negro (Black River) (Vinicius Cantuária/Caetano Veloso) 2:30
3.  Samba Da Estrela (Star Samba) (Vinicius Cantuária) 3:38
4.  Ludo Real (Royal Ludo) (Vinicius Cantuária/Chico Barque) 2:29
5.  Sutis Diferenças (Subtle Differences) (Vinicius Cantuária/Caetano Veloso) 3:51
6.  Este Seu Olhar (That Look You Wear) (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 3:21
7.  Sol Na Cara (The Sun on Your Face) (Vinicius Cantuária/Ryuchi Sakamoto) 2:30
8.  O Nome Dela (Her Name) (Vinicius Cantuária/Arto Lindsay) 3:26
9.  Corre Campo (Run Through the Field) (Vinicius Cantuária/Ryuchi Sakamoto) 3:13
10.  O Grande Lançe É Fazaer Romançe (The Thing to Do Is to Make Romance) (Vinicius Cantuária/Caetano Veloso) 3:47
11.  O Vento (The Wind) (Vinicius Cantuária) 2:41
12.  Labrea (Vinicius Cantuária) 3:51

Vinicius Cantuária (Vocals, Guitar and Percussion)
Ryuichi Sakamoto (Electronic Instruments, Sampling)
Jania Carvalho Austin (Bass) - 4
Michael Leonhart (Trumpet) - 6
Arto Lindsay (Acoustic Guitar) - 7

Modern Jazz Quartet - Rome 1961

Milt Jackson never ceases to amaze and impress me...

Ed Soph Masterclass

An impressive masterclass and information from University of North Texas drum set instructor Ed Soph:

My Little Suede Shoes

Roy Haynes!

Terri Lyne Carrington

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Been on the road between Toronto and Montreal lately and last weekend was quite busy between gigging with "Barbados First Lady of Jazz", Cici Duke and hosting the Broken City Jazz Jam with Ralf Buschmeyer and Dale James (ummm...why didn't ANY drummers show up to sit in and play??? Thank you to the two very talented young bassists and trombone player who did, however, come to play.)


Some pretty amazing footage here of a very young and talented Terri Lyne Carrington in action from a late 70s children's television series:

Also nice to see her mentors Keith Copeland and Clark Terry also featured in that one.

As you can see, Terri is still playing great today (!) Here she is in a tribute to Roy Haynes:

Eddie Davis - The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Shirley Scott set an enduring standard for tenor saxophone/organ groups, beginning with this their first recording together. Davis' authoritative, hard swinging style came through his seasoning as a key player in the Count Basie band. Scott, an accomplished pianist, took up the organ when she joined Davis in 1955, emerging with her distinctive, driving yet subtle style virtually fully formed. The music on this 1958 date holds few surprises; it's meat and potatoes all the way, but it's made using the choicest ingredients. The barbecue sauce is applied in moderation, as the band steers closer to Basie-style swing than to overt R&B riffing. Davis and his working band -- Scott and drummer Arthur Edgehill -- are joined here by reed player Jerome Richardson and bassist George Duvivier. Richardson, playing flute on most tracks, provides a useful complement to Davis' tenor. Duvivier is indispensable in anchoring the music with a commanding walking bass. Edgehill's quick, light touch helps maintain the swinging, jazzy feel. The tracks comprise three strong Davis originals, two standards, including "But Beautiful," which ranks as a master class in ballad playing, and the CD's centerpiece, the 12-minute plus "In the Kitchen." This slow blues by Johnny Hodges has room for extended soloing all around in a performance that underlines the skill, passion and artistry that made the Davis and Scott partnership a potent and influential combination. - by Jim Todd, AMG

Artist: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
Album: The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook
Year: 1958 (Prestige)
Label: OJC (Digital remastering, 1991)
Runtime: 40:35

1.  Have Horn, Will Blow (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis) 5:17
2.  The Chef (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis) 6:00
3.  But Beautiful (Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen) 7:45
4.  In The Kitchen (Johnny Hodges) 12:58
5.  Three Duces (Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis) 5:01
6.  Avalon (Buddy DeSylva/Al Jolson/Vincent Rose) 3:32

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (Tenor Saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (Flute and Tenor Saxophone) - 1-5
Shirley Scott (Organ)
George Duvivier (Double Bass)
Arthur Edgehill (Drums)

Paul Desmond - Skylark

Moving over to the CTI label with Creed Taylor, Paul Desmond injects a bit of the 1970s into his sound, obtaining agreeable if not totally simpatico results. Here, the cool altoist is teamed with the progressive-slanted drumming of Jack DeJohnette (who might have been too busy a drummer for his taste), and Bob James' electric and acoustic pianos, with Ron Carter as the bass anchor, Gene Bertoncini on rhythm guitar, and, most interestingly, another individualist, Gabor Szabo, on solo electric guitar. For the first and only time, even taking into account the most inspired moments of Jim Hall, Desmond is not the most interesting soloist on his own record, for it is Szabo who most consistently draws you in with his mesmerizing incantations over vamps from the rhythm section. For those who missed it the first time, Desmond remakes "Take Ten" -- without the Middle Eastern elements -- "Romance de Amor" is eventually dominated by Szabo, and the inclusion of "Was a Sunny Day" proves that Desmond's involvement with the music of Paul Simon in 1970 was not a passing infatuation. Don Sebesky is credited with the "arrangements" but his orchestrating hand is not felt except for a single solo cello (George Ricci) in an adaptation of Purcell ("Music for a While"). It's a cautious change of pace for Desmond, although the fiercer context into which he was placed doesn't really fire his imagination. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Paul Desmond
Album: Skylark
Year: 1973
Label: CTI (SBM, 1997)
Runtime: 53:49

1.  Take Ten (Paul Desmond) 6:08
2.  Romance de Amor (Traditional) 5:21
3.  Was a Sunny Day (Paul Simon) 4:00
4.  Music for a While (Henry Purcell) 6:45
5.  Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer) 4:52
6.  Indian Summer (Al Dubin/Victor Herbert) 9:40
7.  Music for a While (Henry Purcell) 5:56
8.  Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer) 5:39
9.  Indian Summer (Al Dubin/Victor Herbert) 5:28

Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone)
Gabor Szabo (Guitar)
Gene Bertoncini (Guitar)
Bob James (Piano and Electric Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Jack DeJohnette (Drums)
Ralph McDonald (Percussion)
George Ricci (Cello)