Bobby Hutcherson 1982

Just a couple great ones today of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson performing Wayne Shorter's cleverly composed anthem "United" and a rendition of the ballad "Here's That Rainy Day":

Can anybody tell me who that drummer is?

Chet Baker - Baby Breeze

Although Chet Baker's recordings from late in his life varied dramatically in quality, this series of studio sessions is a high point in his career. After having his trumpet stolen, he plays beautifully with a borrowed flügelhorn throughout most of these songs with a powerful tone, especially on "Baby Breeze" and Hal Galper's intense "This Is the Thing." Baker delivers some strong vocals on the session led by pianist Bobby Scott, though Scott's huge hit "A Taste of Honey" is marred somewhat by his odd honky tonk piano in the background. This is an unusual compilation worth acquiring. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

This album is SO perfect because it's NOT perfect. There is a little emotional weariness in Chet's voice, and there are times when you can hear a bit of a struggle with his flugelhorn (his trumpet was stolen before he recorded this album.) But that is what gives this album such a human quality, you can truly hear the sadness in Chet's voice when he sings "Born to Be Blue" - as though the song is about him. His playing is usually phenomenal, but you can hear a bit of a struggle on his usually so perfectly executed ballad solos, and there is such beauty to it. I love this album because it has such a wonderful human quality - there is so much emotion in Chet's voice and playing, that you can almost feel with him. Definitely buy this CD if you like Chet, or even if you just want a great jazz CD to add to your collection. - by J. Powell,

Artist: Chet Baker
Album: Baby Breeze
Year: 1964
Label: Verve (24-bit digital remastering, 1999)
Runtime: 55:46

1.  Baby Breeze (Richard Carpenter) 3:07
2.  Born to Be Blue (Robert Wells/Mel Tormé) 4:07
3.  This Is the Thing (Hal Garper) 4:55
4.  I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet/Leon Luis) 3:13
5.  Everything Depends on You (Charles Carpenter/Earl Hines/Louis Dunlap) 3:25
6.  One With One (Hal Garper) 3:47
7.  Pamela's Passion (Hal Garper) 5:23
8.  The Touch of Your Lips (Ray Noble) 2:43
9.  Comin' Down (Richard Carpenter) 4:30
10.  You're Mine, You (John W. Green/Edward Heyman) 3:12
11.  Sweet Sue, Just You (Victor Young/Will J. Harris) 2:20
12.  A Taste of Honey (Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow) 3:01
13.  Think Beautiful (Jack Lawrence/Stan Freeman) 4:15
14.  I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet/Leon Luis) 3:24*
15.  Thin Beautiful (Jack Lawrence/Stan Freeman) 4:18*
* - bonus tracks

Chet Baker (Flugelhorn, Vocals)
Frank Stozier (Alto Saxophone, Flute) - 1,3,6,7,9
Phil Urso (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,3,6,7,9
Bob James (Piano) - 4,8,13-15
Hal Galper (Piano) - 1,3,6,7,9
Bobby Scott (Piano) - 2,5,10,12
Michael Fleming (Double Bass) - 1,3,5-9
Charlie Rice (Drums) - 1,3,4,6-9
Kenny Burrell (Guitar) - 2,5,10,11

Peter Erskine Solos

Thanks to the kind people over at Vic Firth here are two fantastic drum solos featuring Peter Erskine:

I really admire the compositional aspect and overall shape and flow that Erksine gets when he plays drum solos like this. One really gets the impression that he is creating an "event" and really making an artistic statement on the instrument rather than just stringing together a bunch of drumistic patterns and licks. He also has a great touch and gets a great sound out of his drums and cymbals. Music on the drums. Beautiful!

Oscar Peterson - Night Train

Verve's edition of the Oscar Peterson Trio date released as Night Train includes stately covers of blues and R&B standards like "The Honeydripper," "C-Jam Blues," "Georgia on My Mind," "Bags' Groove," "Moten Swing," and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen provide tight accompaniment, and there are six previously unavailable tracks recorded the same day, including "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Volare," as well as alternate takes of "Happy-Go-Lucky Local" and "Moten Swing." - by John Bush, AMG

Night Train is one of the best jazz piano albums I have yet to hear. Oscar Peterson is spellbinding -- both at breakneck and leisurely speeds -- and the ensemble is tight. Favorites here include Ellington's C-Jam Blues (only two notes!), The Honeydripper, Moten Swing, a definitive Band Call and of course a memorable rendition of the title track. I am a huge fan of Dave Brubeck, but one ride on the Night Train and it's obvious Peterson was something special. If you like exciting jazz piano -- this isn't background music -- Night Train is essential. - by Jon Warshawsky,

Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: Night Train
Year: 1962
Label: Verve
Runtime: 44:53

1.  C Jam Blues (Barney Bigard/Duke Ellington) 4:50
2.  Night Train (Jimmy Forrest/Oscar Washington/Lewis Simpkins) 3:25
3.  Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell) 3:45
4.  Bags' Groove (Milt Jackson) 5:40
5.  Moten Swing (Bennie Moten) 2:54
6.  Easy Does It (Sy Oliver/Trummy Young) 2:45
7.  Honeydripper (Joe Liggins) 2:24
8.  Things Ain't What They Used to Be (Mercer Ellington/Ted Persons) 4:38
9.  I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Duke Ellington/Paul Francis Webster) 5:08
10.  Band Call (Duke Ellington) 3:54
11.  Hymn to Freedom (Oscar Peterson) 5:30

Oscar Peterson (Piano)
Ray Brown (Double Bass)
Ed Thigpen (Drums)

Dave Holland Quartet Vancouver 1991

Dave Holland Quartet
East Cultural Centre
March 1991


Dave Holland - acoustic bass & direction
Steve Coleman - alto sax
Kevin Eubanks - electric guitar
Marvin Smith - drums


1. Color of Mind (20:36)
2. African Lullaby (7:14)
3. Black Hole (13:19)
4. Take the Coltrane # (11:39)

Total Time: 52:50

FM Broadcast

The Kenderdine 12/8 (for David Braid)

Following one of the big band concerts I performed in a few weeks ago up at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan as part of the UofS Kenderdine Jazz Composers Retreat (see my previous post), Canadian pianist David Braid came up to me afterwards and asked me if I would explain to him a particular pattern that I had played several times over the course of the evening.

Several of the compositions and arrangements we played (including a drum solo on one of my very own big band compositions) used this stock 12/8 Afro-Cuban pattern that has been part of my vocabulary for nearly twenty years now. The hand patterns look something like this:

This is one of many 12/8 Afro-Cuban types of patterns that I commonly use and was initially inspired by things I heard from Art Blakey and Elvin Jones.

Now there are several variations that I commonly use for the feet patterns. This is the most common one that uses a big downbeat played on the bass drum with beats 2 & 4 on the hi-hat:

This is one is basically the same as the last but uses an anticipation on the very last eighth-note, played on the bass drum:

This next variation gives the whole pattern a more overt two-feel:

I find this pattern really can drive an ensemble and creates some nice poly-rhythmic forward momentum:

I picked up this variation from Art Blakey (although he might play the basic hand pattern on the drums slightly different that I do) and it creates a nice sort-of lopsided double-time feel:

I often have a lot of fun with this last one as it implies a cool Max Roach 3/4 "The Drum Also Waltzes" vibe underneath the 12/8 bell pattern (I'd like to thank Jeremy Jones, a great drummer from Seattle, Washington for showing me this pattern many years ago following a gig at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C.)

Roy Haynes Trio North Sea Jazz Festival 2009

Roy Haynes Trio North Sea Jazz Festival 2009


01 Unknown
02 In Your Own Sweet Way
03 Trinkle Tinkle
04 My One And Only Love
05 2nd Line
06 Jesus on the Mainline
07 Unknown
08 Unknown


David Kikoski Piano
John Patitucci Double Bass
Roy Haynes Drums

Gerry Mulligan - Meets Johnny Hodges

Gerry Mulligan's 1959 studio date with Johnny Hodges is one of the most satisfying sessions of his various meetings with different saxophonists for Verve, yet it was inexplicably the last to be made available on CD. With a hand-picked rhythm section consisting of pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Buddy Clark, and drummer Mel Lewis, and three originals contributed by each of the two leaders, everything gels nicely, though several tracks took more than three takes (in spite of liner note writer Nat Hentoff's assertions) to reach their final form. Mulligan contributed the gorgeous ballad "What's the Rush" (where he sat back to enjoy Hodges' solo and never plays his own horn), the easygoing swinger "Bunny," and the brisk cooker "18 Carrots (For Rabbit)," the latter which its composer would revisit with his Concert Jazz Band. The veteran alto saxophonist contributed the low-key ballad "Shady Side," the sassy blues "Back Beat" (later re-recorded by Hodges during a still unreleased 1960 studio meeting with Ben Webster), and "What It's All About," another potent blues. Throughout the date, the two saxophonists blend beautifully and complement one another's efforts, even though this was their only opportunity to record together in the studio. Sadly, no alternate takes or unissued numbers (at least two of which exist) have been added to this long anticipated reissue. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Gerry Mulligan
Album: Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges
Year: 1959
Label: Verve (2003)
Runtime: 33:22

1.  Bunny (Gerry Mulligan) 5:47
2.  What's The Rush (Judy Holliday/Gerry Mulligan) 3:45
3.  Back Beat (Johnny Hodges) 7:28
4.  What's It All About (Johnny Hodges) 4:02
5.  18 Carrots For Rabbit (Gerry Mulligan) 5:16
6.  Shady Side (Johnny Hodges) 7:04

Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (Alto Saxophone)
Claude Williamson (Piano)
Buddy Clark (Double Bass)
Mel Lewis (Drums)

The Drummer as Composer Part Two: Thoughts from Emma Lake

At the suggestion of a few readers I'm going to make the headline "The Drummer as Composer" a somewhat frequent column here at Four on the Floor. I often get a lot of questions about the music I've written/arranged and I'm thrilled that people are actually interested in what it is I'm trying to do in that regards. This column will feature various aspects and topics related to my journey as a composer and arranger who also happens to play the drums. I'm more than happy to share my music as well as my thoughts about the process of how I write music. Maybe I'll solicit a few interviews and comments from my fellow drumming composers out there as well.

I've written quite a bit of music over the years, some of which appears on my two albums "McCallum's Island" and "Sunalta". The music I've written so far mostly focuses on compositions for smaller groups ranging from trio and quintet to septet and octet, however recently I've started to write and arrange my music for big band and brass ensembles as well. There might even be a piece for strings in the works in the future as well and I'm also interested in writing some compositions for solo drum set.

I recently returned from the University of Saskatchewan's Kenderdine Campus located at Emma Lake in Northern Saskatchewan where I participated in a Jazz composers retreat organized by UofS professor/composer/arranger/trumpet player (and really nice guy!) Dean McNeill. This rustic camp was originally established in 1935 as an artist's retreat by Augustus Kenderdine and was intended to appeal to painters and other artists as a tranquil place to foster their craft. Even John Cage spent some time their in the 60s composing music for prepared piano! Fortunately for us, Jazz visionary Dean McNeill worked very hard to transform this normally quietly and serene spot into a meeting place for Jazz musicians and composers.

We spent five days playing new music for Jazz orchestra and heard daily lectures from several notable Canadian composers about their music, process and vision. In terms of the music and the presentations, the bar was set quite high from the first day. The whole vibe reminded very much of my experience attending workshops at the Banff Centre over the years, however this workshop brought together musicians and composers from  a wide range of experience, age and career paths. Plus, there really wasn't a student-teacher arrangement at all, instead Dean acted as a moderator and let things develop as they did within a very loose structure.

The participants in this retreat ranged from seasoned pros to recent university graduates and current students from the University of Saskatchewan. It was really great to learn from some of the more experienced composers/players/educators who attended as well as some of the more younger artists as well. I was really impressed with the playing, writing and enthusiasm from such people as Brett Balon, Jenelle Orcherton, Gent Laird, Paul Suchan and Graham Pritchard.

Over the course of the week we heard many fantastic lectures from the likes of:

David Braid
Paul Read
Christopher Smith
Jeff Preslaff
Dean McNeill
Mike Rud
Paul Suchan
Michelle Gregoire
Allan Gilliland

I also presented a session entitled "The Art of the Drum Chart" in which I discussed issues related to the mechanics of preparing a functional drum part for your drummer and the overall role and function of a drummer within a large ensemble.

The big band presented two concerts over the course of the week, performing works composed and arranged by members of the orchestra. One of the highlights for me was Allan Gilliand's arrangement of a piece written by singer/songwriter Eileen Laverty for full big band (written in basically a day!) Eileen is a very talented artist from Saskatoon (originally from Northern Ireland) who brought a very fresh musical perspective to the experience. I also really enjoyed a few jams with her and Mike Rud (it was very refreshing to play some quiet back beats with my brushes after driving the big band hard all day!)

Friday's concert finished off with a solo piano recital by David Braid, one of Canada's rising stars of Jazz piano, performed in the dining hall. David is an absolute creative force and he moved us all with numerous pieces which included a composition for prepared piano and a rousing tribute to Oscar Peterson. What a great way to end the week!

Overall the whole experience was great and very inspirational and informative. I'm always quite excited to get together with any group of creative people and come away with inspired ideas of my own afterwards. I am also always honored to spend time with such a group of dedicated and creative individuals. Often it's easy as a composer to hide away and do your own thing so opportunities like this are very important in terms of networking and in terms of widening one's creative perspective.

It was a wonderful way to spend the week and I certainly hope this retreat becomes a yearly event.


Here's one of the tunes I recently wrote this summer and workshopped during my week at Emma Lake:

This piece is still somewhat a work in progress (!) but it's loosely based on a set of harmonic changes that Montreal pianist Oliver Jones showed me while sitting together at a piano last spring in Calgary. I believe it's an old standard but I never caught the name of it and Oliver never actually played the melody for me either (!) I just liked the feeling of it and had Oliver teach it to me (in particular I like the fairly straight-forward changes in C major but with some interesting twists in the second ending...)

I wrote the tune as the title suggests, late one July afternoon. I always find that Sunday afternoons and evenings always have a particular vibe about them, something about bringing the week to a close and preparing for the week ahead.

I was hearing this piece played at a medium to slow waltz tempo and with a broken swing feel. It should all be pretty loose and laid back, nothing overly aggressive (except perhaps at rehearsal letter C and the repeated section at the end of the solo form. Those can be played with a little more push and groove as compared to the rest.)

Thank you to David Braid for his great insights with regards to this piece (David was kind enough to sit down with me one afternoon to play through my tunes and offer a few suggestions) and to Darren, Bill, Jenelle, Gent, Paul and Graham who workshopped this tune with me. 

It's always great to hear your music played!

Petrucciani Duo Umbria Jazz Festival 1996

Petrucciani Duo Umbria Jazz Festival 1996


01 Summertime
02 Training
03 In A Sentimental Mood
04 Autumn leaves
05 Billie's Bounce


Michel Petrucciani Piano
Tony Petrucciani Guitar

Running Time 00:26:21

Mid-Summer Paradiddle

Just a quick mid-summer update here today. Most of the office staff over here at Four on the Floor are still on summer holidays so blogging will be sporadic until early September. However, there are still many great things to report in the world of Jazz drumming and here's a few cool things to check out.

-Drumming phenom and recent MacArthur Genius grant recipient Dafnis Prieto talks about his latest activities and his group the Proverb Trio over the fine blog Nextbop:

Prieto also alludes to a new multi-volume drum method book of his that is in the works. I look forward to checking that out but I can only imagine what crazy independence patterns and concepts he'll come up with!!!

-Vanguard Orchestra drummer and educator John Riley shares some thoughts about using the melody as a tool while playing time and comping with a rhythm section:

As always, I'm impressed and inspired by Riley's great playing and his ability to clearly articulate his ideas and concepts.

-Thank you to Kenan Foley who recently forwarded me these two pieces featuring the great Michael Carvin. Here's Carvin in a radio interview over at WBGO:

And here's a very informative article from

Here is some footage of a solo drum set performance that Carvin gave in Pittsburgh a few years ago:

This next clip (that I've blogged about before) is from a recently released Jazz Icons 1973 Freddie Hubbard concert recored in France:

I love everything about this solo and this entire concert (which consists of THREE extended songs!) I've been playing this DVD around the house quite a bit lately and I really admire the intensity, power, spirit and commitment that everyone, and in particular Michael Carvin, play with on this recording.

I don't believe that this particular band recorded a CD together (?) but I strongly suggest picking up the DVD.

-What am I listening to this summer?

I've been enjoying quite a bit of great music lately and driving across Western Canada has afforded me the time and opportunity to check out some really great CDs:

Duke Ellington "Unknown Session" - Sam Woodyard (drums)

PJ Perry & Kevin Dean Quintet "Ubiquitous" - Andre White (drums)

Lewis Nash Quintet "The Highest Mountain" - Lewis Nash (drums)

Kenny Wheeler "Music for Large and Small Ensembles" - Peter Erskine (drums)

Kenny Wheeler "Deer Wan" - Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Kenny Wheeler "Gnu High" - Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Dexter Gordon "GO" - Billy Higgins (drums)

Bobby Hutcherson "Dialogue" - Joe Chambers (drums), Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone)

Ulysses Owens "Unanimous" - Ulysses Owens (drums)

John Ellis "It's You I Like" - Rodney Green (drums)

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

John Coltrane & Don Cherry "The Avant-Garde" - Edward Blackwell (drums)

Wynton Marsalis "Black Codes From The Underground" - Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)

Milt Jackson "Bag's Groove" - Dick Berk (drums), Milt Jackson (vibraphone)

-Portland-based drummer Alan Jones is one musician that everybody should know about!

-I'm also always interested in what Cuban-born drummer Francisco Mela is up to these days. A recent conversation with Boston/Toronto pianist Carmen Spada prompted me to search up his name on again. Here is in a great and spirited solo with McCoy Tyner and Esperanza Spalding from a concert in Central Park:

-Jack DeJohnette recently performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and fortunately for those of us who couldn't make it (!) it was recorded and here it is for all to enjoy:

-My good friend Matt Wilson is making his debut as a leader at the Village Vanguard during the first week of September. Don't miss it!!!

I hope you are all having a great summer and please be patient and enjoy the occasional post until we are back full-time in September.

Michel Petrucciani Trio Jazzbaltica 1996

Michel Petrucciani Trio Jazzbaltica Salzau 1996


01. Piano Suite
02. Enart
03. Shooting Stars
04. Sombrero Sam
05. Love Letter
06. Looking Up!


Michel Petrucciani Piano
Detlev Beier Bass
Manu Roche Drums

Running Time 00:57:18

Off Course - Tales of the Lighthouse

This wonderful album unites a quintet of Hungarian jazz musicians with Swiss trumpeter Erik Truffaz for a program of swinging, thoughtful, and emotionally rich melodies, including fresh takes on Truffaz's previously recorded "Betty" and "Yasmina." The somewhat introspective flavor of the session recalls the classic, spare, moody ECM sound of the mid-'70s in the best way, and fans of the early Pat Metheny Group should enjoy this CD, though the sound of Off Course is less flashy and less self-consciously virtuosic. This is a small group playing with intimate sympathy, and Truffaz's Miles-ish additions on six of these tracks makes "Tales of the Lighthouse" a perfect late-night or rainy Sunday afternoon listen. The first track, "Marmosets," features keyboardist Robert Szakcsi Lakatos on Fender Rhodes, which enhances the group sound so considerably that Off Course should consider using the Rhodes for an entire session. For Truffaz fans who don't mind hearing their hero in a somewhat old-school context, this record is a must-buy. - by Stephen Silberman,

I feel close to Hungarian musicians, because we share the same melodic approach, and although this was my fourth visit to the country, it was only my second chance to play with a local band.
My feeling was that the music we played wasn’t especially Hungarian, but rather European jazz and so I selected two of my more traditional compositions Betty and Yasmina in order to get the most out of these sessions. Though I have recorded Betty several times, I think this is my favourite version so far. I enjoyed playing with all the musicians because they performed with heart and spirit, as I believe that the most important thing about music is not technical perfection, but rather the achievement of magical moments. Also I really appreciated that Robi Szakcsi – a great pianist – played on a Fender Rhodes on Marmosets, giving the track a unique feeling. I loved doing it. - by Erik Truffaz

Artist: Off Course featuring Erik Truffaz
Album: Tales of the Lighthouse
Year: 2002
Label: BMC
Runtime: 54:02

1.  Marmosets (Robert Szakcsi Lakatos) 5:45
2.  Betty (Erik Truffaz) 4:57
3.  To My Father (Bela Szakcsi) 8:00
4.  Tales of the Lighthouse (Jozsef Horvath Barcza) 4:55
5.  Hope (Gabor Juhasz) 6:51
6.  Ogre (Jozsef Horvath Barcza) 5:13
7.  Black and Orange (Bela Szakcsi) 5:17
8.  Yasmina (Erik Truffaz) 5:18
9.  To My Father (Bela Szakcsi) 7:46

Gabor Juhasz (Guitar)
Robert Szakcsi Lakatos (Piano, Fender Rhodes)
Jozsef Horvath Barcza (Double Bass)
Andras Mohai (Drums)
Andras Des (Percussion)
Erik Truffaz (Trumpet) - 1,2,4,6,8,9

Charles Lloyd Quartet Feat M Petrucciani Austria 1987

Charles Lloyd Quartet Feat M Petrucciani Austria 1987

Saalfelden Jazz festival
August 1987 Austria


Charles Lloyd - sax
Michel Petrucciani - piano
Gary Peacock - bass
? - drums


1. Dorothea's Studio
2. Sombrero Sam
3. Lady

Thanks To Bennosh

Lars Jansson Fasching Stockholm 2006

Lars Jansson Fasching Stockholm Solo 2006


01 I
02 Ii
03 Iii
04 Iiii
05 V

Lars Jansson Piano

FM Broadcast

Running Time 51:02

Paul Desmond - Like Someone in Love

In 1992, Telarc unveiled a series of performances from the vault on a short-lived label punningly entitled "Telarchive," beginning with this long-delayed encore to the original releases from Paul Desmond's "Canadian" quartet. Recorded live in Toronto's Bourbon Street Jazz Club several months before the live dates released on Horizon and Artists House, it finds Desmond growing comfortable with his new Toronto friends but not quite settled into their laid-back ways quite yet. There are passages in this session where Desmond sounds a bit uncharacteristically scattered and unfocused, where guitarist Ed Bickert becomes the more fluid and stable solo partner, and bassist (and engineer) Don Thompson takes a lengthy solo on every track. Desmond seems to produce his best work in the material that he seems most familiar with. The title track is the one that catches fire most brightly (with a wry assist from "We're in the Money") and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" finds him working in some clever asides from, yes, Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe." The wistful European melancholy of Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" suits him perfectly and Jobim's "Meditation" makes its first appearance on a Desmond recording. The boxy, confined live sound doesn't suit the late saxophonist -- nor, obviously, the perfectionist standards at Telarc -- but every precious unreleased note from Desmond is definitely worth sampling at whatever sonic level. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

When I bought this recording I was only familar with Desmond through the song "Take Five". This CD, recorded live at a club called Bourbon Street in Toronto, shows Desmond and company playing standards in a variety of styles - none of them in 5/4. "Tangerine" is a bright little number that has one of the best Desmond solos ever. The band gets Brazilian on Jobim's "Meditation" and melancholy on Django Reinhardt's "Nuages". The blues get turned inside out on Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" with bluesy solos from Desmond and guitarist Ed Bickert. Don Thompson (bass) and Jerry Fuller (drums) provide ample support although the dynamics of the recording make them sound slightly muted.
The recording quality is a little weak; other than the sax the band's sound is slightly muffled. And it can be intrusive to hear silverware clanging against china during the bass solos - not to mention the talking. But this is a great recording and any audible distractions will be overridden by the quality of the performances. A good introduction to Paul Desmond's skills as a soloist and interpreter of standards. - by Douglas T. Martin,

Artist: Paul Desmond Quartet
Album: Like Someone in Love (Live in Toronto)
Year: 1975
Label: Telarc (1992)
Runtime: 61:08

1.  Just Squeeze Me (Duke Ellington/Lee Gaines) 8:45
2.  Tangerine (Johnny Mercer/Victor Schertzinger) 9:46
3.  Meditation (Norman Gimbel/Antonio Carlos Jobim/Newton Mendonça) 10:59
4.  Nuages (Jacques Larue/Django Reinhardt) 10:37
5.  Like Someone in Love (Johnny Burke/Jimmy Van Heusen) 9:50
6.  Things Ain't What They Used to Be (Mercer Ellington/Ted Persons) 11:11

Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone)
Ed Bickert (Guitar)
Don Thompson (Double Bass)
Jerry Fuller (Drums)

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Their Last Time Out

In 1967, Dave Brubeck decided to disband his long-running quartet with Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello at the end of the year. Crowds turned out to catch the group for a final time, though this is only the fourth issued live recording from the tour, possibly recorded from the front of the concert hall, since the audience seems more prominent than usual, and the sound is in mono and not quite as well-recorded as the earlier releases, though the performances are of high caliber. The source of these recordings were long forgotten tape reels found in Brubeck’s home by his long time manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck kicks things off by launching into one of his perennial favorites to open concerts, "St. Louis Blues," played in a breezy manner similar to their earlier recorded versions. Brubeck's "Three to Get Ready (And Four to Go)" was already a favorite of his fans, while Desmond whimsically inserts a bit of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" into his solo (for this concert taped on December 26), while Brubeck can be heard softly singing along with his solo. The quartet learned the Mexican folk song "La Paloma Azul (The Blue Dove)" prior to their tour of Mexico earlier in the year and it became a staple in Brubeck's repertoire afterward. The pianist is at his most lyrical in this touching ballad, with Desmond's spacious, melancholy alto adding a nice touch, along with Wright's solid groove and Morello's soft brushes. The band sizzles in their treatment of "Take the 'A' Train" and sounds jubilant with their rousing rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come" to end the first set, both pieces which were part of Brubeck's performance repertoire over four decades later. To open the second set, the quartet launches a pulsating "Swanee River" in which the leader humorously works the standard "Lullaby of the Leaves" into his solo. Desmond's role is minimal in Brubeck's breezy "I'm in a Dancing Mood," with the focus being on the pianist and Morello. The standard "You Go to My Head" was long a feature for Desmond, who plays an inventive solo with Wright's swinging bass backing his as Brubeck stays mostly in the background. The drummer also has an extended feature to open "For Drummer's Only" to showcase his widely admired technique. It is inevitable that the evening had to close with a rousing performance of the quartet's signature tune "Take Five," which they manage to keep from going stale in spite of having to play it nearly every night after it became a best-selling single. Desmond's humor is in full force in his solo, while Brubeck's feature takes an exotic twist with a Middle Eastern flavor. Fans of Dave Brubeck will welcome the addition of this historic concert to his vast discography. - by Ken Dryden, AMG

Artist: Dave Brubeck Quartet
Album: Their Last Time Out (The Unreleased Live Concert) I-II
Year: 1967
Label: Columbia/Sony (2011)
Runtime: 98:14

CD 1 [48:00]
1.  Introduction 0:39
2.  St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) 8:42
3.  Three To Get Ready (Dave Brubeck) 5:38
4.  These Foolish Things (Eric Maschwitz/Jack Strachey) 10:24
5.  Cielito Lindo (Quirino Mendoza y Cortes) 4:57
6.  La Paloma Azul (Traditional) 5:20
7.  Take The A Train (Billy Strayhorn) 5:56
8.  Someday My Prince Will Come (Larry Morey/Frank Churchill) 6:24
CD2 [50:14]
1.  Introduction of the Members of the Quartet 1:07
2.  Swanee River (Stephen Foster) 10:26
3.  I'm in a Dancing Mood (Al Hoffman/Maurice Sigler/Al Goodhart) 3:19
4.  You Go to My Head (J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie) 8:51
5.  Set My People Free (Eugene Wright) 6:29
6.  For Drummers Only (Joe Morello) 11:43
7.  Take Five (Paul Desmond) 8:18

Dave Brubeck (Piano)
Paul Desmond (Alto Saxophone)
Eugene Wright (Double Bass)
Joe Morello (Drums)

Joshua Redman - Freedom in the Groove

As the title suggests, Joshua Redman explores new rhythmic territory on Freedom in the Groove. Abandoning the traditional hard bop that has dominated his past recordings, Redman attempts to work himself into hip-hop and urban dance rhythms, which results in an occasionally intriguing but often frustrating album. Occasionally, the fusions work, with Redman contributing sympathetic, graceful licks to the gently insistent rhythms. Too often, the record sounds forced and stilted, which is unfortunate, since jazz/hip-hop fusion need a musician of Redman's caliber to make it credible in the jazz world. - by Leo Stanley, AMG

I've recently read a couple critics who actually use terms such as "rather disappointing" and "bland" in reference to this CD. I have to wonder exactly what these critics are listening for as they reach these conclusions; to me, Redman, backed up by an absolutely phenomenal rhythm section, offers forth an intense display of energy and musicianship. I don't see how it is possible that somebody could listen to this CD with open ears and not notice how incredibly exciting the music is. Anybody who can't hear raw creativity and energy on "Freedom in the Groove" is thinking too much, in my humble opinion. I don't remember if it was Pops, Miles, or Duke that said, "If it sounds good, it is good." But this music is very, very good. It should be noted that the rhythm section is rock solid throughout, and the entire quintet really meshes nicely during solos and so forth. Certainly, some of Redman's later music is brilliant as well. But this album shouldn't be overlooked in the least. - by Thomas Hoberg, AMG

Artist: Joshua Redman
Album: Freedom in the Groovy
Year: 1996
Label: Warner
Runtime: 69:10

1.  Hide and Seek 5:36
2.  One Shining Soul 8:13
3.  Streams of Consciousness 8:53
4.  When the Sun Comes Down 7:15
5.  Home Fries 4:44
6.  Invocation 10:00
7.  Dare I Ask? 6:03
8.  Cat Battles 5:40
9.  Pantomime 7:27
10.  Can't Dance 5:13
All compositions by Joshua Redman 

Joshua Redman (Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophone)
Peter Bernstein (Guitar)
Peter Martin (Piano)
Christopher Thomas (Bass Guitar)
Brian Blade (Drums)

Simon Shaheen - Turath

Simon Shaheen is wonderful, and this is a great CD. I've been listening to it since high school (when it was originally released by CMP), and I'm now just short of twenty-nine. My favorite track, and really one of my favorite songs, is the uber-catchy "Longa Farahfaza." The addition of the bass oud really propels the song and gives it some funky oumph (pun intended). The tempos on the other songs tend to be slower, but the track I mentioned and the longer riqq/oud duet on the next track are well worth the price of the album. It's very seldom you'll hear this kind of repertoire with such high production values. If you enjoy this, I also recommend Mr. Shaheen's album devoted to the music of Mohammed Abdel Wohab. It rocks. It really really rocks. Fun-Fact: Dead Can Dance, the leading fake world music purveyors of the 80s and 90s, sample that one for the closing credits of their "Toward the Within" concert film. -by John Grunwell, AMG

Shaheen invited three other highly-respected virtuosi on istruments played widelyin Turkey and the Arab world to participate in the project: Hassan Ishkut, a well-versed musician originally from Turkey who played the qanun (a plucked zither); multi-instrumentalist Faruk Tekbilek, another Turkish musician, heard here on the nay (reed-flute); and Samir Khalil, an Egyptian percussionist currently living in London, who plays the riqq (small tambourine) and the tar (a large frame-drum). In addtition to showcasing the talents of these artists, the album also demonstrates Shaheen's innovative treatment of the music (e.g. adding the bass 'ud, a regular 'ud equipped with thicker, custom-made strings), as well as the care he has taken to preserve the integrity and character of the repertoire performed. - from the CD cover

Artist: Simon Shaheen
Album: Turath
Year: 1991
Label: CMP (1992)
Runtime: 59:18

1.  Bashraf Farahfaza (Ismail Haqqi) 5:42
2.  Sama'i Farahfaza (Tamburi Jamal) 6:41
3.  Taqasim on Violin (Simon Shaheen) 1:35
4.  Longa Farahfaza (Riyad al-Simbati) 3:15
5.  Taqasim on the Beat (Simon Shaheen/Samir Khalil) 9:33
6.  Sama'i Nahawand (Masud Jamil) 8:16
7.  Tahmilah Suznak (Traditional) 6:22
8.  Sama'i Nahawand (Ali Jihad Racy) 6:27
9.  Bashraf Kurd (Asdik Aga) 4:17
10.  Taqsim on Nay (Faruk Tekbilek) 1:13
11.  Sama'i Kurd (Simon Shaheen) 5:51

Simon Shaheen (Oud, Violin, Bass oud)
Faruk Tekbilek (Nay)
Hassan Ishkut (Qanun)
Samir Khalil (Riqq, Tar)

Thank You Larance Marable

I just received word that the great West Coast Jazz drummer Larance Marable passed away earlier this July. Marable was not a household name by any means but certainly played an important role in the West Coast scene and, notably, as the drummer in Charlie Haden's Quartet West group for many years.

In fact, when I was in grade 12 my high school Jazz band travelled to the IAJE conference in Anaheim, California in 1995 and I heard Larance playing drums with Haden's iconic group. His drumming really spoke to me and I was really influenced and moved by his clear and swinging cymbal beat and some very tasteful accompaniment on the drums. His style and approach fit that band perfectly. 

I distinctly remember Larance taking an extended drum solo with mallets that, for me, was the highlight of the concert and really brought the house down. Charlie was going NUTS on the bass afterwards, he was so excited. That was the first time I'd ever heard a drummer play a solo with mallets and ever since it's been one of my favorite things to do during a drum solo.

Thank you Larance.

Here's a clip of Marable in a 50s trio date with West Coast pianist Carl Perkins and the underrated Leroy Vinnegar on bass:

With great thanks to Ethan Iverson over at his very fine blog Do The Math here are some words from Charlie Haden on his relationship with the great drummer, Larance Marable:

"I first met Larance Marable in the late fifties when I was playing with Paul Bley at the Hillcrest Club in L.A. and Larance was playing gigs around town. We soon started playing together with Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes, Sonny Clark, Paul Bley, and would often drive up to San Francisco to play with different musicians including Chet Baker. I still remember the stories he told on that drive, about Bird and other great musicians. In fact, on our Quartet West album Now Is the Hour there's a picture of him at a birthday party for Bird in Watts, sharing ice cream and cake.

He was a beautiful person that loved to laugh. My daughter Tanya once played him several games of ping pong when we were in Paris. When she missed a point, she'd say, "I'm going to get you, Wabbit" like she was talking to Bugs Bunny, and Larance would crack up.

This guy had something that was magical. I experienced it from the first time we started to play. The thrust of his cymbal was so strong. Strength is not the right word. Maybe power is right. It would happen anytime, anywhere. You could always rely on him. He had a lot of dynamics in his playing. You can’t explain it, but he had it. He functioned in my Quartet West like Jimmy Cobb functioned for Miles Davis, especially on Kind of Blue.

In 1986 or thereabouts, in Hollywood, there was some kind of benefit or reception for the movie Round Midnight. Billy Higgins was there, and he and I were talking and Higgins said, "Look over there, it's Larance Marable." Way across the room! Larance Marable! I went over to him, and we hugged. We had't seen each other in many years. I said, "Man! Are you playing?" He said, "I always loved playing with you!" and I said, "Now that I found you, we have to play together!"

First Larance subbed with Quartet when Higgins couldn't make it, but then, when Billy started touring with the Round Midnight band a lot, Larance joined my band full time.  His cymbal beat was perfect: It was earthshaking when he came in with the time.

In Quartet West he was the other part of my heartbeat."