Trilok Gurtu Trio

Further to my post last week that featured drummer/percussionist/visionary Trilok Gurtu along with some musicians from Mali, here is a full length concert from the North Sea Jazz Festival featuring Trilok Gurtu and his trio:

I think this one demonstrates Trilok's fusion chops a bit more in a different sort of light than the West African footage from last week. And of course it's all great! I'm impressed that they can get so much happening with just a combination of voice, drums/percussion and keyboards/synths. When you have great musicians come together, of course anything is possible.

I recall hearing Trilok at the Spectrum in Montreal during the 2002 Montreal International Jazz Festival in a similar sort of configuration and was really impressed with the scope of Gurtu's imagination, deep groove and rhythmic sophistication. There is a whole orchestra of possibilities there!

Between Trilok Gurtu and the post of Billy Martin with Medeski, Martin & Wood + Soul Bop from yesterday, I guess I'm on a bit of an imaginative, funky/groove kick these days...Next stop on my listening safari for this week: Rich Brown's Rinse The Algorithm band featuring Toronto-drumming sensation Larnell Lewis!

Julian Lage Trio Boston Massachusetts 2011

The Julian Lage Trio Live at The Berklee Performance
Center Boston, Massachusetts USA 2011-12-31


Julian Lage - guitar
Larry Grenadier - bass
Eric Harland - drums
Dan Blake - tenor saxophone

Set List

01 - Radio Intro By Rhonda Hamilton (:52)
02 - Intro By Show M.C. Eric Jackson (2:09)
03 - 233 Butler (8:30)
04 - Grey Lightning (8:06)
05 - The Best Thing For You (Berlin) (11:32)
06 - Conversation (5:27)
07 - Up From The North (16:07)
08 - The Time It Takes (3:36)
09 - Encore Applause (1:12)
10 - However (1:22)

Total Running Time: 58:58

Lineage WBGO-FM

MMW + Soul Bop

I came across this interesting musical collaboration and I thought I would share it with you all. Here is the trio of Medeski, Martin and Wood with trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Bill Evans in some extended concert footage (with of course some great groove drumming from Billy Martin!):

I can't say that Bill Evans is really a saxophonist that I'm really all that familiar with (although I do recall seeing him play on some later footage with Miles Davis at some point, maybe if I'm not mistaken?) I think he sounds pretty good here and he plays great with Randy Brecker. Fortunately I did notice that he's also playing at the Blue Note in New York City this coming April with Brecker and vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. I'll have to check that out during my next trip!

Have these guys recorded an album together? They should!

Quincy Jones - I Dig Dancers

The French arm of Universal Music recently extended its remarkable “Jazz in Paris” series by releasing a number of classic French-made jazz albums on CD with original album covers, bonus tracks, new notes, all housed in beautiful gatefold digipak sleeves and available at tremendously affordable budget price points. Among the interesting, even historic, releases in this series – which mixes American leaders in Paris with French Leaders expounding upon the American art form – is the far too little-known Quincy Jones classic, I Dig Dancers!, much of which was recorded in Paris with an all-star group of American jazz icons.- from

Artist: Quincy Jones
Album: I Dig Dancers
Year: 1960
Label: Universal Music (2010)
Runtime: 46:57

1.  Pleasingly Plump (Quincy Jones) 2:18
2.  G'wan Train (Patti Bown) 6:22
3.  Moonglow (Eddie De Lange/Will Hudson/Irving Mills) 2:49
4.  Tone Poem (Melba Liston) 3:42
5.  You Turned the Tables on Me (Sidney Mitchell/Louis Alter) 2:32
6.  Chinese Checkers (D. Carr Glover Jr.) 2:43
7.  Our Love Is Here to Stay (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 3:13
8.  The Midnight Sun Will Never Set (Quincy Jones/Dorcas Cochran/Henri Salvador) 4:35
9.  Trouble on My Mind (William Boble) 2:33
10.  A Sunday Kind of Love (Barbara Belle/Anita Leonard/Stan Rhodes/Louis Prima) 2:35
11.  Parisian Thoroughfare (Bud Powell)  3:50
12.  Pleasingly Plump - First Take (Quincy Jones) 2:29
13.  G'wan Train - Short Version (Patti Bown) 3:00
14.  Close Your Eyes (Bernice Petkere) 2:07
15.  Blues from Free and Easy (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer) 2:00

Quincy Jones (Arranger, Conductor)
Bennie Bailey (Trumpet)
Melba Liston (Trombone)
Quentin Jackson (Trombone)
Phil Woods (Alto Saxophone)
Jerome Richardson (Tenor Saxophone)
Sahib Shihab (Baritone Saxophone)
Patti Bown (Piano)
Les Spann (Guitar, Flute)
Buddy Catlett (Double Bass)
Lennie Johnson (Trumpet) - 3,6-12,14,15
Clark Terry (Trumpet) - 3,6-12,14,15
Floyd Standifer (Trumpet) - 3,6-12,14,15
Roger Guerin (Trumpet) - 3,6-12,14,15
Jimmy Cleveland (Trombone) - 3,6-12,14,15
Ake Persson (Trombone) - 3,6-12,14,15
Julius B. Watkins (French Horn) - 3,6-12,14,15
Porter Kilbert (Alto Saxophone) - 3,6-12,14,15
Budd Johnson (Tenor Saxophone) - 3,6-12,14,15
Joe Harris (Drums) - 3,6-12,14,15
Clyde Reasinger (Trumpet) - 1,2,4,5,13
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet) - 1,2,4,5,13
Jerry Kail (Trumpet) - 1,2,4,5,13
Curtis Fuller (Trombone) - 1,2,4,5,13
Wayne Andre (Trombone) - 1,2,4,5,13
Joe Lopes (Alto Saxophone) - 1,2,4,5,13
Stu Martin (Drums) - 1,2,4,5,13

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio Paris France 2006

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio Duc des Lombards, rue
des Lombards, Paris October 13th, 2006

Lineage FM Stereo


Jean-Mcihel Pilc : piano
Thomas Bremerie : bass
Mark Mondesir : drums


Set 1
01. Satin Doll (D.Ellington)
02. Spring suite
03. ? *
04. ? **
05. Witmung (R. Schumann)
06. Moonlight with M
07. ?

Set 2
08. Cardinal Points
09. ?
10. ?
11. All Blues (M.Davis)
12. Scène 1, 2 et 3 ***

"For Klook" - Documentary

This one has been making the rounds lately and I'm glad it is! Kenny Clarke has long been one of my favorite drummers. His swinging cymbal beat has literally paved the way for all of us.

Here is a short documentary and tribute to the great Kenny Clarke featuring narration by Mike Hennessey (also the author of the great biography "Klook: The Story of Kenny Clarke") and some concert footage of the Paris Reunion Band featuring some fine playing from Nathan Davis, Johnny Griffin, Woody Shaw and Billy Brooks on drums:

The whole thing is very interesting and a nice tribute to Klook but for me the highlights come at 7:20 where Kenny can be seen playing with an organ trio featuring Jimmy Gourley on guitar and at 28:15 where Clarke is featured in some drum solo trading with Bud Powell and saxophonist Barney Wilen. Bad ass!

The Leaders - Unforeseen Blessing

Although the Leaders is a supergroup comprised of trumpeter Lester Bowie, altoist Arthur Blythe, tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Don Moye, they fall far short of their potential on this Black Saint CD. Trumpeter Lester Bowie only gets to solo on a tongue-in-cheek version of "Blueberry Hill," and both Blythe and Freeman are very underutilized throughout the date. Pianist Lightsey is the dominant player on the 13 sketches, taking "In a Minute," "Now a Minute" and "Lightish" as unaccompanied solos, "Lucia" as a ballad for the trio and soloing throughout much of the 9½ minutes of "Heaven Dance."- by Scott Yanow, AMG

"As you walk through life
In a Minute you may see
the Hip Dripper looking for
Sun Precondition Five,
Throughout The Search
keep it kind of Lightsight
for you may see Sun Precondition Six,
And if you are pure in jeart
the Peacemaker may cause you
to Wait A Minute.

On the road to Agadir
you may indulge your self in aHeaven Dance.
Amd Now...A Moment
for Lucia,
Cecil's thrill on Blubery Hill." from the CD cover.

Artist: The Leaders
Album: Unforeseen Blessings
Year: 1989
Label: Black Saint
Runtime: 45:12

1.  In A Minute (Kirk Lightsey) 2:51
2.  Hip Dripper (Arthur Blythe) 3:35
3.  Sun Precondition Five (Famoudou Don Moye) 0:37
4.  The Search (Chico Freeman) 2:48
5.  Lightish (Kirk Lightsey) 1:22
6.  Sun Precondition Six (Famoudou Don Moye) 0:18
7.  Peacemaker (Cecil McBee) 6:34
8.  Wait A Minute (Chico Freeman/Lester Bowie/Cecil McBee) 2:35
9.  Agadir (Arthur Blythe/Famoudou Don Moye) 1:36
10.  Heavens Dance (Kirk Lightsey) 9:47
11.  Now A Moment (Kirk Lightsey) 0:49
12.  Lucia (Cecil McBee) 7:35
13.  Blueberry Hill (Al Lewis/Vincent Rose/Larry Stock) 4:42

Lester Bowie (Trumpet)
Arthur Blythe (Alto Saxophone)
Chico Freeman (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Kirk Lightsey (Piano)
Cecil McBee (Double Bass)
Don Moye (Percussion)

That Bongo Beat...

Today's lesson deals with a specific Jazz drumming beat that essentially mimics the sound of a bongo drum pattern. It looks something like this (although I didn't notate playing the hihat on 2&4) and it imitates the open and slap tones that a percussionist would usually play on the bongos or congas:

You can hear this groove quite often from drummers playing in organ trios and I think it's a pretty groovy little beat. My teacher Chris McCann, back from my McGill days, first really brought this pattern to my attention by introducing me to a Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves album entitled "Salt and Pepper" that featured drummer Osie Johnson using this beat quite effectively throughout the entire album.

You'll also quite often hear this groove played "backwards" like this:

I asked Winard Harper once about his thoughts regarding the origin of this groove. He replied: "Oh yeah, that's that bongo beat!" He suggested that perhaps it was one of Dizzy Gillespie's drummers (such as Kenny Clarke, Charlie Smith or Joe Harris) that may have come up with this pattern in the absence of whomever percussionist was supposed to be playing with them (Chano Pozo?) This is definitely a question for Kenny Washington the next time I run into him...

Anyways, here's a little rhythmic/coordination game that I came up with that uses this "bongo" beat that was inspired by the polyrhythmic mind twisters that Ted Warren has been coming up with over at his fine blog Trap'd:

Play either of those swingy bongo beat patterns from above (with the hihat on 2&4, of course) and try adding the bass drum pattern below (which is in dotted quarter notes):

Play the same counter line against the hand part with:

- The hihat

- The bass drum and hihat in unison

Here's a tricky pattern that divides the foot pattern between the bass drum and hihat and implies a different time signature in kind of a shuffle-like pattern:

- Play this pattern again, but reverse the bass drum and hihat parts.

It's kind of tricky but take it slow and, above else, make it swing. I've heard both Bill Stewart and Billy Martin play ideas similar to this. Once I even heard Jason Marsalis play a very groovy and inspiring drum solo based on this ostinato pattern with his feet and essentially played a drum solo in two tempos at the same time!

It's enough to make one dizzy...

Amina Figarova Sextet Newport Jazz Festival 2010

Amina Figarova Sextet Newport Jazz Festival 2010


01 Four Steps
02 Ernie's Song
03 Sketches
04 On the Road
05 Back in New Orleans
06 Flight Number
07 Unacceptable


Amina Figarova Piano
Ernie Hammes Trumpet
Marc Mommaas Tenor Saxophone
Bart Platteau Flute
Jeroen Vierdag Bass
Chris Strik Drums

Running Time 57 min 59 sec

Tribute to Esbjorn Jazz Baltica Salzau Germany 2011

Tribute To Esbjorn Svensson– Jazz Baltica Salzau
Germany 2 july 2011


01. from gagarin’s point of view (svensson, berglund,öström) 06:25
02. announcement magnus öström 00:29
03. dodge the dodo (svensson, berglund,öström) 11:47
04. the goldhearted miner (svensson, berglund,öström) 05:18
05. please don’t tell me how the story goes (kristofferson) 07:56
06. believe, beleft, below (svensson, berglund,öström) 05:26
07. shining on you (svensson, larsson) 06:00
08. ballad for e (öström) 08:32


Nils Landgren, Leszek Mozdzer, Lars Danielsson, Pat Metheny,
Yaron Herman, Michael Wollny,Viktoria Tolstoy,
Dan Berglund, Magnus Ostrom,

Bitrate 320

John Hollenbeck Interview & Big Band Drumming

Myself and fifteen other very talented local musicians premiered the new Calgary Creative Music Ensemble at the Cantos Music Foundation in Calgary last Saturday evening. The show was definitely a success as the crowd was packed to capactity/standing-room only and the big band really rose to the occasion and played great on some pretty challenging music. We are looking forward to many concerts with this band in the future.

Our program consisted of original big band works composed and arranged by myself, trumpeter Dean McNeill and pianist Michelle Gregoire. We also performed "Hello & Goodbye", "Skylark" and "Boom Boom" from the library of composer/arranger/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer.

I've found myself playing in many big bands over the years. My first introduction to Jazz came via playing in big bands in high school and in the Regina Lions Band program. While I studied at McGill I played in the bands there and, while working with teachers such as Gordon Foote, Chuck Dotas, Ron DiLauro and Joe Sullivan, the bands really operated at an extremely high level. Fortunately when I finished school this translated into a lot of work with many of the local Montreal bands such the Montreal Jazz Big Band, Vic Vogel's big band and subbing in with Joe Sullivan's and Christine Jensen's Jazz orchestra's from time to time. All in all I consider big band drumming to be a very central part of my development and career as a Jazz drummer. I haven't done quite as much of this kind of playing in the past few years so naturally I am very excited to be part of this new and forward-thinking big band project right here in Calgary.

In the weeks leading up to our gig I spent quite a bit time studying the music we were to play and listening to a lot of Mel Lewis (one of my all-time favorite big band drummers). I also spent some time listening to the fine musicianship of John Hollenbeck as he was the drummer of choice for many of Brookmeyer's large ensemble projects (including his New Arts Orchestra) and appears on many of his albums. I'm now a huge admirer of John's music and approach to the drums. I expect to continue listening to him for ideas and inspiration in the years to come.

I came across this interesting interview with Hollenbeck and thought I would share it with you all:

I should also like to mention that Ted Warren wrote a great piece on playing with big bands and large ensembles in general that I found tremendously useful over at his blog Trap'd awhile ago. Ted is an incredible big band drummer and I've heard him play great with Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass, John McLeod's Rex Hotel Orchestra and, most recently, his work with Dean McNeill on his "Prairie Fire" big band project (we played a few charts from Dean's album the other night so studying that album was part of my homework!)

Here's another couple of inspiring clips of Mel Lewis in action with his own big band:

That's how it's done folks!

Trilok Gurtu "Farakala"

Today I thought I would post an interesting documentary on drummer/percussionist Trilok Gurtu and his collaboration with the Frikyiwa family, a group of musicians from Mali:

Trilok, to me, represents the true definition of what it means to be a contemporary, modern "fusion" artist in the year 2012. He has a very creative and fearless approach to blending aspects of Indian music with the music of other cultures along with an authentic and eclectic Jazz fusion sound. His various sonic combinations are always curiously interesting to listen to and his writing mixes his strong Indian rhythmic heritage along with rich melodies and fusion grooves. You never seem to know where this guy is going next! His originality and imagination always inspires me.

To hear Trilok with the Frikyiwa family, I would recommend this fine album:

Cindy Blackman - Another Lifetime

Here's a nice interview with Cindy Blackman merged with some dynamic performance footage of her and her band to check out:

I love the big fat sound that she gets out of her Gretsch drums, tuned all big, tubby and low like that.

More Bugalu - Chad Anderson Speaks

Further to my post from last Friday on drummer Marvin Bugalu Smith, my good friend over at Chad Anderson was very generious enough to offer a few of his thoughts and words about his experience studying and learning from Bugalu a few years ago:

"Bugalu is a master–a character, for sure–but, a master.

I mean "character" in a positive, respectable sense. Full of life. It is this life quality, the character, that comes through in his playing. I think that some individuals might not consider just how much this translates to his sound. It is easy to say, but I believe it is often overlooked, that when you play the instrument, you communicate. No hiding. This communication can be positive or negative, but one should remember, particularly when playing a drum of any kind, that this instrument has been a tool of communication for years.

I believe Bird once stated that: "if you don't live it, it won't come out your horn."


Bugalu's life voice projects directly through the instrument. Strongly. I knew this from the first note I ever heard him play. It was not just the direct connections to Max, Philly Joe and Elvin I heard that contributed to the infectious sound in Marvin's drumming. It was the depth of the groove, the perpetual energy and the spiritual, church-like "lift" mixed with the cut of the street that moved me to connect with Marvin and, at the least, try to somehow say thanks for the inspiration.

I began communicating with Marvin back in about 2006 via the internet. One thing about Marvin is that, unlike many of his peers, he is not afraid of utilizing technology to promote his music, efforts, and teaching (as others birthed into the same generation might normally be inclined to reject technology). At that time, he and his students had already started populating MySpace (it was still a popular, viable resource online at that time) with Marvin's videos and teacher-student dialogs. It was there where I first watched one of his performance videos posted/stored on his profile page. Immediately, I was completely knocked out by his cymbal beat, his vocabulary, and his energy. Obviously, a master who has dealt with time, in all respects.

Marvin and I began an exchange of messages electronically and discovered that we had a few mutual, musical acquaintances (in particular reedman, Henry P. Warner and bassist, Andy McCloud with whom we had both played at different times). He also watched a few videos of my playing, pointed out a number of issues, and generously offered to help me clear those up. What happened over the year that followed was an intense, online study through which Marvin delivered his unique methodology of teaching. A year and a half later, I had a string of gigs up in New York City and surrounding areas again, during which I had the chance to catch a train up and visit Marvin at his home studio in Poughkeepsie, NY. I spent only a short time there, but, of course, as with any encounter with a master, I experienced one of those massive turns in life, the kind that awakens you.

Life-changing. Life-awakening.

To properly and respectfully outline this would require a book-length document to be written.

I just need to say this: There is school and then there is SCHOOL. When you study personally with a master of any discipline, you come to understand how much there is beyond the surface, especially when, as a student, the ego is pushed aside. Beyond drums, when I studied with Marvin, I gained insight about life–further confirmation that life IS the music. While one can easily learn the rudiments, that does not build the complete voice. I did not study with Marvin to learn how to play jazz or to further add patterns, chops, rudiments to my arsenal as a drummer. While that was a small percentage of the outcome, I learned about the music from Marvin by riding in the car with him and listening to him talk about life, from watching him play the music (actually, on one of my gigs up that way) in person, a mode that one might consider an old school notion. I learned about the music from Marvin's sense of humor, sense of life. The stories–every note. The MUSIC. Life.

To receive this knowledge base is the greatest gift. This is timeless."

-Chad Anderson, via e.mail

Thank you Chad.

Jacques Loussier Trio - Handel

It wasn’t long ago that I was listening to the Loussier Trio perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on my updated hi-fi, and was amazed at the lower extension of the bass. Loussier plays piano, and uses one of two bass players, and seems to always pair with drummer André Arpino. Having since lost the recording’s original CD, and only having a 160Kbit rip in MP3 format, I re-purchased the album along with a few others. First up for review is their 2002 recording of Handel, specifically, music from the Fireworks and Water Music suites, plus a Passacaglia that lasts some 5 minutes. What’s fun about the Loussier recordings is knowing this music inside-out, upside-down. It’s the tickle of fancy of recognizing old favorites in new clothing. I think Handel’s music is less successful in this clothing than that of Vivaldi or Bach. Of course, there are some successful tracks amid some “good tries.” The concluding “Trio” from the Water Music suite is energetic, if not virtuosic. Some areas where the music is “quoted” verbatim bother me… of course, you have to referenc the original, but there are other ways to weave these melodies into something… I think this music, whether it be Handel, Bach, or someone else, is so rich that you could make many CDs off the same source material, if you were so talented. Loussier has a particular talent… he’s good at capturing spirit. The direct quoting I find less successful. The last movement of the Fireworks music, with over a minute of drum fodder, then a direct quotation… I found less than enjoyable. Nice try, wrong approach, I think. So yes, there is some to love, some to hate on this release. Then we get the final track. A sparse 5 minutes, but so richly wrought-out, it is the jewel on the disc. It’s less about direct quotation, and more about getting to the essence of a work. I don’t mean to sound cliché, but this is about high-life, with all the cheese we might associate with a successful man sitting in his easy chair after work, enjoying a fine scotch. This is that soundtrack… but when you brush the cheese aside, it’s music that simply makes you smile. Any CD that forces a smile on your face is a good one, despite its warts. Only if we could plays these for Dr. Handel. - from

Artist: Jacques Loussier Trio
Album: Handel - Water Music & Royal Fireworks
Year: 2002
Label: Telarc Jazz
Runtime: 54:49

1.  Grave 1:37 
2.  Allegro I 2:48 
3.  Adagio 5:12 
4.  Allegro II 5:03 
5.  Andante 4:33 
6.  Bourree 1:47 
7.  Alla Danza 4:16 
8.  Aria 4:50 
9.  Trio 4:36 
10.  Grave 3:19 
11.  Allegro I 4:22 
12.  Siciliana 4:48 
13.  Allegro II 2:28 
14.  Passacaglia 5:03 

Jacques Loussier (Piano)
Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass)
André Arpino (Drums)

Franco Ambrosetti - European Legacy

Franco Ambrosetti grew up in the Italian-speaking community in Switzerland but by the time he was 20 he had moved to Milan, becoming a regular on the Milan jazz club scene. Originally influenced by such as Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan, he grew into one of Europe's leading stylists on both trumpet and fluegelhorn. No less a person than Miles Davis called him the only white trumpet player who could play like a black man. Franco Ambrosetti had his American debut in 1967 at the Monterey Jazz Festival as a sideman with his father Flavio, then a famous alto sax player. In later years Franco received Special Awards from the Montreux Festival and was voted "Best European Jazz Musician" in Italy. A leading German newspaper called him "the most elegant hard bop trumpeter Europe has ever known." An ENJA recording artist since the 70s, Franco has collaborated with international greats like Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon, Cannonball Adderley, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Miroslav Vitous and many others. For many years he was also the general manager of "Ambrosetti Technologies," the company founded by his father. With his project "European Legacy" Ambrosetti points at the multicultural vibes in European jazz tradition. All the tunes are written by European jazz musicians like (Canadian-born) Kenny Wheeler, George Gruntz and Franco himself as well as his bandmates but also by legends of the chanson like Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour. "This music is soaked with inspirations, memories, emotions and flavors that come from our (European) musical culture," says Franco. "The differences are in the colors, in the shades, in the moods, in the vibrations." With the dense rhythm work of Frenchman François Moutin and French/Swiss Daniel Humair and the great solos by Franco, his son Gianluca and Italian pianist Dado Moroni, this album proves that the European legacy swings as hard as anything. This is modern jazz in its purest and most thrilling form. -

Artist: Franco Ambrosetti
Album: European Legacy
Year: 2003
Label: Enja
Runtime: 60:49

1.  Consolation (Kenny Wheeler) 3:02
2.  Waltzing With Flavia (Franco Ambrosetti) 6:10
3.  Tu Te Laisse Aller (Charles Aznavour) 2:10
4.  Suenos (Furio Di Castri) 8:11
5.  Leontine (Dado Moroni) 2:55
6.  Don't Be Silli (Franco Ambrosetti) 3:11
7.  Flagellation, Too (Daniel Humair/Gianluca Ambrosetti) 1:28
8.  L'Irriducibilita (Gianluca Ambrosetti) 5:09
9.  Danny And Dado In Arlen (Dado Moroni) 4:03
10.  Spherical Harmonics (Gianluca Ambrosetti)  6:16
11.  Hymne a l'Amour (Edith Piaf) 3:00
12.  Si, Lo Sapero (Franco Ambrosetti) 7:57
13.  The Smart Went Crazy (George Gruntz)  5:06
14.  Giro Giro Tondo (Traditional) 2:04

Franco Ambrosetti (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Gianluca Ambrosetti (Soprano Saxophone)
Dado Moroni (Piano)
Francois Moutin (Double Bass)
Daniel Humair (Drums)

Marvin Bugalu Smith

My good friend Chad Anderson first introduced me to drummer Marvin "Bugalu" Smith via his fine web forum a few years ago. Marvin posts video recordings of his weekly jam sessions and the occasional lesson dealing with his conceptual approach to Jazz drumming on quite frequently. I really dig his eccentric personality and he plays some really deep, over-the-top things on the drums.

Here's Marvin's bio (from his website):

"Drummer Marvin 'BU-GA-LU' Smith is a veteran in the world of music. His exciting playing has been heard on stages around the world for more than forty years. Growing up in a musical family outside of New York City in nearby Englewood, NJ, Marvin began his studies of music at an early age. By the time he was eight years old, Marvin was already working with his older brother, Buster Smith, a prominent drummer who performed, most notably, with Jazz pioneer, Eric Dolphy. When Marvin was sixteen, he worked for the Town Sound Recording Company. During his time there, he recorded with such stars of the music world as James Brown, Lola Falana, and Sam and Dave among others. In 1969, Marvin joined singer Rocky Roberts' band and moved to Italy. During the nearly 25 years Marvin spent playing in Europe with Roberts, he also performed with many of the top names in Jazz. Stints with Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Mal Waldron, and Charles Mingus followed. It was also at this time that Marvin first met and played with Archie Shepp and Sun Ra. Both men would prove to be influential in Marvin's career. Archie Shepp asked Marvin to join his band in 1982. For five years Marvin toured all over the world and recorded with the legendary reedman. While with Shepp, Marvin further evolved what he calls "The Timing Of The Drum", a philosophy based upon the idea that rhythm in music follows the Universal Rhythms of Life. One night in 1987, Marvin happened to be at a club across the street from Sweet Basil in New York City. He saw that Sun Ra was performing there all week and decided to stop in and say hi to his old friend. Upon entering the club, Sun Ra band member John Gilmore greeted Marvin and asked him to sit in with the band
for a set. After the set, Sun Ra immediately offered Marvin the gig starting the next day. From 1987-1992 Marvin toured and recorded with Sun Ra. In 1992, Marvin released Be Impartial to Yourself, recorded live at “Visiones” in New York City with Cecil McBee and Kirk Lightsey. This recording showcases the power and creative energy Marvin brings to every group he plays with. Currently, Marvin continues to stay busy as a leader, sideman and instructor in New York."

Here is a great interview with Marvin that Chad recently passed on to me:

As I mentioned, Bugalu regularly posts footage of his weekly sessions and in the following three clips you can really get a sense of the intensity and depth that this man plays with:

This one, in particular, is a free-wheeling version of "Giant Steps":

I saved the best one, I think, for last. Here is some late-night, home basement footage of Marvin playing GREAT and talking through a few of his concepts:

Don Alias & Friends London 2000

Don Alias & Friends Live at Queen Elisabeth
Hall in London/GB, 2000-01-17


Don Alias: percussion
Michael Brecker: ten-sax
Randy Brecker: trumpet
Mitch Stein: el-guitar
Gil Goldstein: keys, accordeon
Carlos Bonaved: el-bass
Alex Acuna: perc, dr No5
Steve Berrora: perc
Giovanni Hidalgo: congas


1. Georgia O 12:07
2. Kimmy and Donny 8:46
3. A Tribute to Tony and Elvin 13:43
4. Moema 8:50
5. Unknown Title 12:02

Total Time: 55.32

FM Broadcast 320 MP3

Mike Mainieri Marnix Busstra Quartet Hamburg Germany 2009

Mike Mainieri Marnix Busstra Quartet
6th Hamburger Jazztage, Hamburg
Germany 1st October 2009


Mike Mainieri, vibes
Marnix Busstra, g
Eric van der Westen, b
Pieter Bast, dr


01 Don't Break Step 08:09
02 3 Years, 3 Months, 3 Days 11:16
03 band intros 00:48
04 Kannada 10:18
05 It's Done - All In A Row 11:50
06 Young And Fine 10:05 (end missing)

TT: 52:26


I recently spent last week working with a great crew of young Jazz drummers up in Edmonton (all studying under the tutelage and watchful eye of their very knowledgeable drum teacher Dan Skakun, who's a fine drummer himself and a disciple of Joe Morello and Kenny Washington). We spoke about a lot of important Jazz drumming related topics during our time together and fortunately the name Art Blakey came up numerous times during our discussions.

Let me make this clear, Art Blakey is one of my all-time favorite Jazz drummers, hands down - ever. The album "A Night at Birdland" with Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Curly Russell, Lou Donaldson and Clifford Brown was one of the first Jazz albums I ever bought and to me the feeling and swing that this band achieves on this recording date is really the essence of what Jazz is all about.

Anyways, in my discussions with Dan's students the topic of the "Blakey Shuffle" came up. This is a very important groove to learn and is deceptively simple. As far as being a serious Jazz drummer, learning it is a must.

Well, here it is from a live date featuring Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers with Benny Golson and Lee Morgan:

I'm sad that I never had the opportunity to see or hear Art Blakey in person. Seeing him and listening to his introduction alone on that clip is inspiring in itself.

If you don't already own the DVD which this performance came from, then go buy it now here:

Drummer Andrew Hare has a nice blog post on his take on the Jazz shuffle as well over at his fine blog The Melodic Drummer

Now if Bu's shuffle doesn't get 5 cheeseburgers on Jesse Cahill's Grease-O-Meter, I'm not sure what does!!!

George Fludas Swings

George Fludas is a great hard swinging drummer from Chicago and someone who deserves more attention, I think. Here he is playing great with pianist Benny Green and bassist Ed Howard on a nice feature over John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C.":

Miles Davis - Cookin' With the Miles Davis Q.

Cookin' is the first of four albums derived from the Miles Davis Quintet's fabled extended recording session on October 26, 1956; the concept being that the band would document its vast live-performance catalog in a studio environment, rather than preparing all new tracks for its upcoming long-player. The bounty of material in the band's live sets -- as well as the overwhelming conviction in the quintet's studio sides -- would produce the lion's share of the Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin' albums. As these recordings demonstrate, there is an undeniable telepathic cohesion that allows this band -- consisting of Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) -- to work so efficiently both on the stage and the studio. This same unifying force is also undoubtedly responsible for the extrasensory dimensions scattered throughout these recordings. The immediate yet somewhat understated ability of each musician to react with ingenuity and precision is expressed in the consistency and singularity of each solo as it is maintained from one musician to the next without the slightest deviation. "Blues by Five" reveals the exceptional symmetry between Davis and Coltrane that allows them to complete each other's thoughts musically. Cookin' features the pairing of "Tune Up/When Lights Are Low" which is, without a doubt, a highlight not only of this mammoth session, but also the entire tenure of Miles Davis' mid-'50s quintet. All the elements converge upon this fundamentally swinging medley. Davis' pure-toned solos and the conversational banter that occurs with Coltrane, and later Garland during "When the Lights Are Low," resound as some of these musicians' finest moments. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Miles Davis Quintet
Album: Cookin' With the Miles Davis Q.
Year: 1956
Lavel: JVC (Mono, XRCD, 1998)
Runtime: 33:40

1.  My Funny Valentine (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 6:03
2. Blues by Five - false start
3.  Blues by Five (Miles Davis) 10:00
4.  Airegin (Sonny Rollins) 4:27
5.  Tune Up - When Lights Are Low (Miles Davis/Benny Carter) 13:10

Miles Davis (Trumpet)
John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone) - 2-5
Red Garland (Piano)
Paul Chambers (Double Bass)
Philly Joe Jones (Drums)

Fun With Swiss Army Triplets

I was inspired and motivated by Jesse Cahill's post "Fun with Flam Taps" from last month (as well as Ted Warren's ever so fine drum lessons and rhythmic tongue twisters over at his blog Trap'd"... always lots to practice between following these two guys!)

Taking that same concept (and hopefully the same nice, hand-to-hand execution!) here's an exercise that I came up with that uses the same alternating idea as Jesse's, but using Swiss Army Triplets instead:

"Groups of 4"

"Groups of 3"

"Groups of 2"

"Groups of 1"

The Monday Morning Paradiddle

- Thanks to Joel Gray and everyone involved with the Jazzworks Jazz festival in Edmonton, Alberta last week. Saxophonist Jim Brenan and I spent three action-packed days adjudicating and working with a dozen high school big bands from across Western Canada. I also performed with the Edmonton Jazz Orchestra during the noon-hours and a good time was had by all.

Here's a few nice videos that have inspired and motivated me lately that come from a few friends and acquaintances of mine:

- Courtesy of my good friend Jerome Jennings, here is his recent and informative masterclass from Ohio State University:

As you can see, Jerome plays really great. I first met Jerome while he was passing through with Mark DeJong's "Outer Voices" Project and recently he's been playing with Sonny Rollins as well (!)

- Here's a nice clip of my good friend and Toronto percussionist Mark Duggan performing a solo vibraphone rendition of "On The Sunny Side of The Street":

- An inspiring lesson and reminder from my occasional teacher over the past three years, the great John Riley talks about "The Gift":

- What am I listening to these days?

Aretha Franklin - "Live at The Fillmore" w/Bernard Purdie - drums

James Brown - "Foundations of Funk - A Brand New Bag: 1964 - 1969" w/Clyde Stubblefield & James "Jabo" Starks - drums

Bob Brookmeyer & The New Art Orchestra - "Waltzing with Zoe" w/John Hollenbeck - drums

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra - "Basle, 1969" w/Mel Lewis - drums

Philly Joe Jones - "Showcase" w/Philly Joe Jones - drums

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

- And finally, don't forget to come on out to the inaugural concert of the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble this coming Saturday evening. I'm very excited about this new big band project in town that I'm co-leading with saxophonist Mark DeJong and pianist/composer Michelle Gregoire. There is lots of great music to be made with this group so please come on out to support our new endeavor.

The Summit Jazz Series presents:

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble
Inaugural Concert

Featuring contemporary jazz orchestra works by Dean McNeill, Michelle Grégoire, Jon McCaslin and Bob Brookmeyer
Special guests include: Dean McNeill (trumpet), Craig Brenan (trombone)

Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Cantos Music Foundation/
134 11th Ave SE
Calgary, AB

Tickets available at the door or by calling (403) 949-6414
Adults $20 (advance) $25 (door)
Students/Seniors $10 (advance) $15 (door)

Karrin Allyson - In Blue

Much like Wynton Marsalis' Soul Gestures in Southern Blue trilogy, vocalist Karrin Allyson's In Blue is a celebration of the blues. But where Marsalis focused on original post-bop compositions, Allyson simply performs some of her favorite tunes by composers such as Mose Allison, George & Ira Gershwin, Blossom Dearie, Bonnie Raitt, and others. Coming on the heels of her much-lauded double-Grammy-nominated Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane, In Blue may seem less ambitious than its predecessor, but this would be an unfair judgment. Allyson tackles this concept with as much verve and artistry as the Coltrane project and it's never a bad thing to hear her interpret a standard. Interestingly, this is apparently virgin ground for the singer, as she has never attempted such an extended foray into blues territory before. Not surprisingly, the results are stellar, with Allyson's ruddy voice -- here sounding not dissimilar to Raitt's -- tailor-made for the blues. It doesn't hurt either that she brings along such consummate sidemen as pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash. - by Matt Collar, AMG

Artist: Karrin Allyson
Album: In Blue
Year: 2002
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: Concord
Runtime: 66:43

1.  Moanin' (Bobby Timmons/Jon Hendricks)  6:02
2.  Everybody's Cryin' Mercy (Mose Allison)  3:57
3.  Long As You're Living (Oscar Brown Jr./Julian Priester) 4:35
4.  The Meaning Of The Blues (Bobby Troup/Leah Worth) 7:35
5.  My Bluebird (Tommy Flanagan/Jay Leonhart) 4:31
6.  Hum Drum Blues (Oscar Brown Jr.) 5:39
7.  How Long Has This Been Going On? (George Gerschwin/Ira Greschwin) 5:41
8.  West Coast Blues (Granville Burland/Wes Montgomery) 5:02
9.  Evil Gal Blues (Leonard Feather/Lionel Hampton) 4:13
10.  Blue Motel Room (Joni Mitchell) 6:03
11.  Bye Bye Country Boy (Blossom Dearie/Jack Segal) 4:11
12.  Love Me Like A Man (William Smither) 4:20
13.  Angel Eyes (Matt Dennis/Earl Brent) 4:51

Karrin Allyson (Vocals)
Mulgrew Miller (Piano and Fender Rhodes)
Peter Washington (Double Bass)
Danny Embrey (Guitar)
Lewis Nash (Drums)
Steve Wilson (Alto and Soprano Saxophone)

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble

I'm very excited about this upcoming concert that's happening next Saturday, February 18th. Myself and some very talented and like-minded musicians are launching a new Jazz orchestra in town: The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble. We plan on presenting numerous concerts over the course of the year that feature Canadian Jazz music and contemporary works for Jazz orchestra.

I've always had an affinity for playing in big bands and have been very fortunate to have played and worked with many of country's top bands when I lived in Montreal and Toronto. With the stellar line-up of musicians involved this should prove to be a memorable event.


Summit Jazz Series presents
The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble
Inaugural Concert

Featuring contemporary jazz orchestra works by
McNeill, Grégoire, McCaslin and Brookmeyer
Special guests: Dean McNeill (trumpet), Craig Brenan (trombone)

Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Cantos Music Foundation/National Music Centre
134 11th Ave SE, Calgary
Tickets available at the door or by calling (403)-949-6414
Adults $20 (advance) $25 (door)
Students/Seniors $10 (advance) $15 (door)

Saturday, February 18, 2012 promises to be an exciting evening of music as the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble presents a premiere performance as part of the Summit Jazz Series at the Cantos Music Foundation. This concert will feature music penned by local and international composers performed by the crème of the region's jazz musicians. The ensemble of 16 musicians features some of the strongest talents in the region namely Mark DeJong, Jon McCaslin, Jim Brenan, Dave Reid, Michelle Grégoire, and many more as well as guest artists, from Saskatoon Dean McNeill, and from Edmonton Craig Brenan.

Saxophonist Mark DeJong, drummer Jon McCaslin, and pianist Michelle Grégoire share a common passion for the creation and performance of original Canadian repertoire for large jazz ensemble. Sensing a need in the Calgary community for an ensemble with this type of focus, these accomplished musicians set out to form The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble.

Calgary has a diverse and active music scene, and the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble will work to enrich and energize the musical environment by engaging Calgary's most active, creative, and interesting jazz and improvising musicians to create original music of the highest calibre. While many Calgary musicians have risen to prominence in a variety of genres and musical settings, there are numerous improvising and creative jazz musicians who deserve a higher profile on the local, regional and national level.

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble will allow these musicians to present their work within the scope of a high-profile concert series, and provide incentive for musicians to continue to present their work on the national stage.

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble will also develop innovation and creativity by encouraging the exploration of mutli-media concerts, mixed media, innovative performance spaces and community engagement.

The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble will create a legacy for the citizens of Calgary by commissioning new original works for large jazz ensemble from Calgary musicians, and providing an opportunity for those new works to be performed and recorded with the highest possible level of artistic integrity and professionalism. The Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble concert series will also provide outstanding educational opportunities and interactions.

The February 18 concert will be the first in a series of concerts. An inaugural season is planned for 2012-13 and more information will be made available as details firm up.

The inaugural program on February 18 will include works by Canadian composers Dean McNeill, Michelle Grégoire, Jon McCaslin, and legendary big band composer Bob Brookmeyer. Brookmeyer who recently passed has earned a reputation as a seminal composer and arranger and is considered the most important jazz composer of the post-Ellington era. This concert will in part feature music in tribute to this great master.

Michael Brecker Quintet Seattle 1987

Michael Brecker Quintet
Old Ballard Firehouse
May 26,1987

Michael Brecker - Sax,Ewi
Mike Stern - Guitar
Joey Calderazzo - Keyboards
Jeff Andrews - Bass
Adam Nussbaum - Drums

Cd 1

1-Radio Announcements
2-Nothing Personal
4-Talk/Band Intros
5-My One And Only Love (Tape Flip During Bass Solo)
6-Upside Downside
7-Radio Announcements

Cd 2

2-The Cost Of Living
4-Original Rays
6-Radio Announcements

Fm Broadcast

Highly Recommended

West African Drumming & The Study of Rhythm

Thanks to Morgan Childs who hipped me to this amazing footage of some Ghanaian drummers performing a style known as Brekete:

Recently, I spent a year studying with Ghanaian Master drummer Kwasi Dunyo (including variations of the piece demonstrated above) while I was attending the University of Toronto. It was an incredible experience.

I was first introduced to West African drumming while attending the Banff Jazz Workshop in 1997 where we were fortunate to work with the great Abraham Adzenyah for one summer. Dave Holland was quite instrumental in bringing Adzenyah to the workshop initially during the mid 80s (while Holland was the programs artistic director) and he insisted that what Abraham brought to the workshop was just as important as any composition, contemporary improvisation or harmony masterclass. I am willing to bet that Adzenyah's participation in the workshop during that time was one of the things that made it so special and unique. Just ask anybody who was there!

I highly recommend that anyone, and not just a drummer or Jazz musician, who is interested in deepening their personal understanding of rhythm to spend some time studying the rich rhythmic language of West African music and drumming (and dancing for that matter!) Your feeling for pulse, meter and subdivision will take on a whole new meaning.

And there have been many famous Jazz drummers that have recognized this and taken their personal study of the drums and the rhythmic nature of Jazz music back to its roots in African. Ed Blackwell is one notable example of someone who was able to integrate some of those rhythmic concepts with his New Orleans/Max Roach-influenced style of modern Jazz drumming to a very high degree. In particular, check out his great playing on Mopti or Togo with Old and New Dreams to hear what I mean!

There are many, many others worth mentioning as well, of course, but Billy Martin of MMW fame really stands out for me these days as someone that has done their homework. I was fortunate to spend some time working with Martin last spring, playing together in one his homemade backyard practice shacks located in the middle of suburban New Jersey (although I felt like we were in the middle of the mountains back in Banff!) Martin has a very deep and rich understanding of rhythm on the wider scope and I think this allows him to play with such a deep pocket, no matter what style or direction he chooses. Fundamentally I believe that a study of any cultures music from a rhythmic perspective can only help you play your own music from a deeper place. Similarly, other musicians such as Steve Coleman, Dave Holland and Ronan Guilfoyle (and I could go on here as well!) have all figured out how much a serious and in-depth study of rhythm can enrich their own music.

All great examples to follow, whether you are a drummer or not!

Michael Brecker Stockholm Sweden 1998

Live at Jazzclub Fasching Stockholm
Sweden, October 25, 1998

Track Listings

1. Slings and Arrows
2. El Nino
3. Cat’s Cradle
4. Delta City Blues
5. Madame Toulouse
6. Naima
7. San Lorenzo
8. Outrow with Trumpet


Micahel Brecker: saxophones
Joey Calderazzo: Piano
James Genus: Bass
Ralph Petersen: Drums, Trumpet

Duration 1:29:22

Bitrate 320

Thanks To
Live Jazz Lounge

Tootie Heath with Dexter Gordon

My father recently caught Albert "Tootie" Heath in action with his brother Jimmy while sailing the high seas on the "Jazz Cruise" in the Caribbean. And now here is Tootie from a few years ago, in fine form, with Dexter Gordon:

Through The Lens of My iPhone - Volume One

I'm no Jesse Cahill or Chad Anderson when it comes to artistic drum photography, but it's amazing what one can do with an iPhone, a clever app called Instagram and a bit of creative inspiration while in the moment:

"Getting Ready for The Gig" - Setting up the house drums at the Beatniq Jazz & Social Club with the Johnny Summers Quartet.

"Brushes, Sticks & Well Worn Drum Heads" - An overview of the evening's instruments.

"Loading In" - Outside the Market Collective in Kensington on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

"Dark Wood on Light Wood" - My Djembe stands in my living room.

"Out of The Cases and Ready to Go..." - Yellow Premier drums, Yamaha copper snare drum and drum pad all ready for an evening practice session.

"Taking a Break" - A shot taken between dance routines during an afternoon modern dance class at the University of Calgary.

"Tools of the Trade" - Everything is ready to go.

"Inspiration" - The Master's are watching/listening...

"Dark Vibes/Bright Music" - I love the contrast between the bars of the vibraphone, the sheet music and the orange mallets resting on the keyboard.

"The Force Will Be With You, Always" - Sidewalk Yoda says hello on 8th Avenue NE during a morning stroll.