2016 was a busy and musical year and it looks as though 2017 should be the same!
The video above is from a September session with guitarist Sam Kirmayer, pianist Sean Fyfe, and bassist Mike Di Masi.
I'll be on tour with the Remi Bolduc Ensemble again this January. This fun group features Remi on alto sax. pianist Francois Bourassa, piano and Fraser Hollins, bass. We will be in Washington state and BC for 9 shows---check the calendar page for more details.
I notice it has been some time since my last news entry and here's an update on what has been happening and what is coming up for the rest of the summer.
The late spring and early summer was very busy and the highlights include fun shows with american pianist George Colligan; local guitarist Carlos Jimenez; a recording session with Kevin Dean, Neil Swainson, Mike Murley and Andre White; concert and recording with guitarist Sam Kirmayer; choir shows with the St. Lawrence and Choeur en Jazz choirs; a concert with a new brass ensemble called "La Brasserie" and many other shows, so happily very busy!
In June/July I had the privilege to perform with Oliver Jones in Sorel; Jens Lindemann and Tommy Banks in Montreal and Ottawa, and Peter Bernstein and the Mike Rud Trio as well as Ranee Lee in the Montreal Jazz Fest.
The rest of the summer looks to be fun also with shows featuring violinist Alexandre Da Costa, vocalist Ranee Lee, pianist Geoff Lapp and a show for the Festi-jazz series in Mont-Tremblant with bassist Michel Donato. I will also be performing in the Prince Edward Country Jazz Fest in August in a special concert "Guido Basso and Friends" featuring Mike Murley, Jodi Proznick, and Bernie Senensky, and the amazing Guido Basso. Hope to see you at one of these upcoming events!
I've just begun a new partnership with the Murat Diril cymbal company as an endorser. They have just begun expanding operations into Canada and I'm extremely happy to have been asked to become one of their Canadian endorsers.
Murat Diril is a cymbalsmith from Turkey who made cymbals for Meinl and Paiste before starting his own brand in 2000. These are hand made cymbals from Turkey and the sound is fantastic! I recently had a chance to pick a few out from a large selection and each and every one sounded great. You can find out more about them at the international websitemuratdiril.com.
To get your hands on one of these cymbals in Canada go to the Canadian site here: http://www.muratdiril.ca/
I will be posting some video samples of them soon, or you can come down to a gig and hear them for yourself!
_Welcome and happy new year! This winter looks to be a very busy one for me including some more touring with the Rémi Bolduc group as we head out west to Vancouver, Whistler, Nelson, Rossland and Edmonton later this month. I'll be sure to post some pics so check back and if you're living out that way and want to come to the shows please have a look at the calendar for complete info.
This semester at McGill I'll be giving my annual elective course for Arts and Science students called "Introduction to Jazz". This is a lot of fun for me and this term I will be posting a daily jazz tidbit in the form of music clips, videos, articles and more. You can follow along using this link: Winter 2016 Intro to Jazz
And in case you missed it, this photo has recently gone viral. It's a snowy owl caught on camera by one of Transport Québec's traffic cams out near the Trudeau airport.
It has a been a beautiful and warm fall here in Montréal and lots of gigs and teaching going on the last few weeks and some fun things coming up.
Rémi Bolduc's group has been busy with trips to Boise Idaho, Burlington and Kingston Ontario as well as a Montreal concert with special guest Taurey Butler at the beautiful Bourgie Hall in the Musée des Beaux Arts. We have some more shows with this group upcoming including a very special concert on November 14th at McGill's Tanna Schulich Hall with guest Jerry Bergonzi. Rémi invited Jerry up here on a couple of previous occasions including a recording session "4+1" and this concert will feature the music of the Dave Brubeck group, which Jerry was a member of for much of the 1970's.
After the holidays, that band travels out west to British Columbia and Alberta for a couple of weeks----looking forward to the snow in the mountains!
And of course the students have returned to McGill and so that means a new semester of teaching is underway which is always fun and gets me back into the 'shed' to keep up with the students. More to come about that!
Summer is truly underway now and thought I would put up a brief post about how it's progressing and what's next on the schedule!
During the month of May I was teaching a McGill summer course called "Intro to Jazz", an elective class for Arts and Science students and, as usual, I had a great time and suspect that I learned more than the students! The class of 165 students were an enthusiastic group and I hope they enjoyed the class and will become fans of the music.
June was full of music projects including a fun (but all-too-brief) visit to the Jazz Camp in Asbestos, Quebec led by saxophonist Richard Savoie and vibraphonist/drummer Robert Pelletier. I gave a clinic and had a chance to perform with the wonderful faculty. Great fun and I hope to go back again soon!
June was also a chance to get back on the road and perform with singer Ranee Lee. I've been working with this amazing woman for about 15 years now and she never fails to inspire with her tireless energy and devotion to the music. We played shows in Rochester, Ottawa, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Trois-Rivieres, Montreal and later this week we head down to Halifax.
I also put together a couple more short drum videos for my Youtube channel. One is an interpretation of Clifford Brown's solo on Joy Spring, while another sees me add a cymbal part to a Joe Henderson/Christian McBride duet. Please have a look:
The remainder of the summer looks a little quieter so that leaves time to golf! This weekend it's Halifax for a double bill: One show with Ranee Lee and another with saxophonist Kirk Macdonald. Then the following week in Waterloo Ontario for a show with Remi Bolduc and his Quartet---it will be good to play again with that band! At the end of July I'm doing a show with pianist Geoff Lapp and bassist Paul Johnston. It has been far too long since we've had a chance to play together and so I'm really looking forward to that night.
Have a safe and musical summer!
I've just posted a second video to my new(ish) Youtube channel and I hope you check it out!
A little background on this one: I used a Canon XF 100 video camera that the McGill music library has for lending. For the audio I am using an Zoom H6 recording unit that I recently bought and have been recording gigs, rehearsals, lessons, as well as myself just practicing. Today I spent about an hour playing with different grooves or tempos or tunes in mind including a great 12 bar blues by Kenny Dorham called "Philly Twist" from the album "Whistle Stop". Then the video and audio file gets imported into Final Cut Pro and edited together. Let me know what you think!
I just returned from a three-day trip to Haiti to take part in the 9th edition of the Port-au-Prince Jazz Festival with singer Ranee Lee. Also in the group were Ranee's husband and guitarist Richard Ring, pianist Taurey Butler and bassist Dave Watts. We did two shows along with a vocal workshop at a community arts centre. At all these venues the audiences gave us a beautiful and warm reception (and immediate feedback!) and I can't wait to go back!
There is still lots of work to be done helping the people of Haiti rebuild after the earthquake 5 years ago that caused such terrible destruction. That damage, along with widespread poverty, and a worsening cholera situation, is heart-wrenching when you see it before your eyes. We've become desensitized to stories of poverty and disease and the scale of the problems make them feel too impossible to overcome and as a result we often will do nothing. The only solution is by spreading the word and making a donation. One of my new year's resolutions is to get my humanitarian chops up to speed and so I'm starting by making a donation and I hope you do too! http://www.redcross.ca/haiti2010/
This past weekend I was in the recording studio for a session put together by pianist/drummer/professor Andre White. Every Canadian jazz musician knows who Andre is and many have played with him or have been recorded by him (he is also a sound engineer/record producer) and many have been taught and influenced by him through his role as an educator at McGill. His status on the Canadian jazz scene is second-to-none. I have had the great pleasure and fortune to work with him for many years but almost always while he was playing piano. His drumming has influenced my playing enormously however and it was a definite treat to be a part of this recording session that he organized in which the two of us both play drums. We did play together once before however. Back in the early 90's, bandleader Andrew Homzy hired us to play a concert of Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite with his band. Here is a track from that concert that I have posted to my Soundcloud. (sorry but I'm a little foggy on the band personnel!)
This past weekend's recording featured music composed by Andre and the following musicians: myself and Andre on drums; saxophonist Janis Steprans; bassists Alec Walkington and Marcin Garbulinski; and pianist Pierre Francois. We recorded 5 tunes and Andre is planning a second studio date to record more material for this project. I will certainly let everyone know when it is ready to be released!
I'm starting off the new year with a redesign of the website. If you have visited before, you will notice I'm using the same illustration but with a slightly updated layout. I will be using this blog/news page to update the latest happenings and events, so please check in again. There will be lots to talk about in 2015, so stay tuned and feel free to follow on FB and Twitter.