Thursday, March 31, 2011

The blogger becomes the bloggie!

Hey all,
Here's a nice interview from The Purple Cabbage.

You’ve Been Warren-ed!
Posted on April 1, 2011 by The Purple Cabbage

Over the past few years, blogging has become an integral part of the way we receive and share information. It has effectively put the power of the media in the hands of anyone with a computer (or smart phone) and something to say. The service has impacted everything from global news media to pop culture.

In an interview with Toronto drummer Ted Warren, he explains that blogging for him has served as more of a personal outlet than a public one. Although the interview was originally planned to focus on blogging and its role in the jazz world, I couldn’t help but also ask about his latest project, Broadview, whose CD release will be taking place on the 3rd of April at Dora’s.

Purple Cabbage: Most Toronto jazz musicians don’t have a blog. What prompted you to start writing about your thoughts on music? Do you write for a specific audience, or has the writing served as a personal means of expression?

Ted Warren: The blog is mainly a way for me to talk about music with no one to answer to but myself. It’s meant for anyone who might find it useful – students, casual listeners etc. My Mom reads it faithfully, but she says she rarely understands what I’m talking about!

PC: In your blog, you not only share jazz related ideas, but cross genre as well. You also talk about your love for pop and classical music. How big a part does non-jazz music play in your drumming? How has listening to and playing other genres of music influenced your jazz playing?

TW: I’m glad you noticed that about the blog. I’ve always been interested in music I found exciting, regardless of genre. All the music that I like informs my listening, writing, and playing. There is also a lot of music called “jazz” that I don’t like much, although I would never mention it by name in my blog. I think if I hear music that sounds honest, creative, and inventive, I’ll want to hear more. Whether that’s Bartok or the Foo Fighters has never been an issue for me.

PC: From reading your blog, it becomes apparent that yourself, and most other accomplished jazz musicians, have broad artistic and creative interests, beyond the realm of jazz. How important do you think this is and why?

TW: I certainly like other forms of expression, such as films, dance and visual arts. Unfortunately, I don’t get around to checking much out. As well as my work on the drums (I would never call myself as jazz drummer as much as a musician that plays drums, regardless of style) I have been practicing a lot of piano, which is helping relate to harmony in a deeper way. I’ve also been playing harmonica, which has led to a much deeper interest and better appreciation of the blues. That’s some very deep music. I find all the music I play and listen to keeps me feeling fresh and creative. I can never imagine playing or listening to one type of music. It would be like only getting to eat one kind of candy. It’s nice, but why would you bother?


PC: Steve Bellamy, of Addo Records, mentioned in an interview in February that you will be releasing a new record with your current group, Broadview, this year. When can we expect to hear it?

TW: The new Broadview recording is entitled “Two of Clubs” and will be released the first week of April. The band is doing a CD release on Sunday April 3rd at the Dora Keogh.

PC: Broadview features Mike Murley on tenor sax and Rich Brown on electric bass. Could you talk a little bit about the concept behind forming this group and some of the challenges and rewards that came about?

TW: In a nutshell, the initial concept behind Broadview was my desire to get an opportunity to play with Rich and Mike more often. I knew they would sound great in a chordless format and we would have a lot of fun playing together. I generally wrote specifically for the trio. With the chordless trio format, the challenge has been writing and performing music that relies on largely implied harmonies. At any one time, the listener hears the melody note and the bass note, and is required to imagine the notes in between. As a drummer, this is something that I feel I’ve had to work at in a different way, in contrast to the other two [Murley and Brown] who seem to have more of a natural feel for it. That being said, it has been and still is a fun challenge for me, and I’m really enjoying it. The playing, as I expected, has been a great joy from the very first note we played.

You can read more about what Ted has to say at his blog:
Catch Ted this month at his CD release at Dora’s on April 3rd and at the Rex on the 14th of April.

The Purple Cabbage
You can read more great jazz news here at The Purple Cabbage

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saskatchewan clave!

Hey folks,
Was just working on this a bit today. It's 3:2 Rhumba clave in the left foot, cascara in the right hand and filling in the rest of the notes with my left, and the melody to St. Thomas on the bass drum. I only played it once because I'm still getting it together and I wasn't sure if I could play it twice!


Monday, March 28, 2011

The growth process

Hey people,
Had a busy weekend so there's been a bit of radio silence. Pardon me.

I have been playing for awhile, even when I looked like this,
.........I had been playing awhile.

I recently heard a recording I had done almost 15 years ago. For many reasons (some of which will become obvious soon) the recording will remain anonymous.
It was done with a group that worked a lot together and I think everyone else played great. When I listened to my own contribution however, I heard a lot of things I didn't like. I didn't like the time or the time feel, my sound, and I felt I bailed very early on ideas I had. I felt I didn't accompany very supportively or effectively and played very conservatively.
Now, this isn't necessarily the way I always feel when I hear an old recording back. In fact, when I heard Kieran Overs recording Off The Record that I recorded some years before it's release, I really enjoyed it because I brought fresh ears to it and enjoyed its general exuberance. Ironically I wasn't very happy with that performance around the time it was done.

In this current case, however, I think I've gotten a lot out of it because I have learned that's not where I want to be as a player any more. The playing on this CD (if it does see the light of day) that I did wasn't necessarily bad, it just wasn't very mature. How does one become more mature? Just by practicing, getting experience playing, and living one's life. Just as we aren't always going to be crazy about everything we said and did or the decisions we made when we were younger, we're not going to love everything we played once we have some perspective on it that comes with age.

For example, I might even hate that run on sentence I just wrote even MORE in the future.
Anyway, I would advise all of you when you hear something from the past that you did, just accept and love yourself as the player you were then. You can use the documentation of your younger self to gage how far you've come, and where you want to go. Music is a living art and living art will change over time. We all need to remind ourselves to enjoy the process.

P.S. I have a few very exciting guests lined up for "Inside the Drummer's Studio" in the next little while, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Keith Moon!

A while back I posted an isolated drum track of John Bonham playing Zep's Fool In the Rain.
Now I'd like to present his 60s rock drumming polar opposite, Keith Moon, playing Won't Get Fooled Again.

In other news, it looks like we might have a general election soon in Canada. Any coincidence between that fact and my choice of tune above is purely intentional.........

That's it for now, thanks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Brush Pattern part 2

Hey all,
Now I've posted a video of me playing the brush pattern from yesterday while playing the melody to Benny Golson's Stablemates. It's important after working on a brush pattern to make sure you can still comp openly on the bass drum. Also make sure the bass drum isn't too loud so you don't drown out the original brush pattern.

I've been working on my taxes all morning so I can't express how much more fun the past 15 minutes or so have been as compared to the last 4 hours.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Brush Pattern!

Here's a new one called Going In Circles. It's almost a left handed version of Trill from the Philly Joe book.
It's fairly simple, so there's lots of room for variation. We could play all the triplets in the bar with the right hand, and the rhythmic groups of the circles in the left hand can be almost anything we want.

Here's some footage of me playing it. Forgive the filming. My camera assistant decided to go scootering with her friend at the last minute. I like the sound of the drum though. I'd try to get a deal with them except they have very limited colours and yellow and white don't match my aura!

Toodles for now!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keep On Keepin' On.

Hey there,
I wanted to discuss a career in music and disappointments. Unfortunately, if you want to have a long term life in music, things aren't always going to go your way.
In my 30 odd years in music I have been......
-Told how much I suck (onstage and loud enough for the crowd to hear it) by a certain ex jazz messenger.
-Fired by both a Chilean singer and fusiony ex Miles Davis guitar player. What's unique about these circumstances is that both of them did so BEFORE they heard me play.

Those are just a few highlights (or low lights, depending on your point of view). I also have been ripped off numerous times by musicians and club owners alike, as well as enough unsolicited musical advice from audience members to last me a lifetime. Were some of the above events painful? Yes. But did I learn from them? Absolutely! Each and every one.
Also, I feel it's important to remember that when we are committed to the music and being true to ourselves not everyone's going to dig what we play/write/teach/sing etc. I know some very good players that never reach a certain level (in my opinion) because they are too afraid not to be liked. There is a certain point, especially in improvised music, that we have to damn the torpedoes and go for it! Life's too short not to play with absolute conviction.

Rather than getting down on why we haven't got hired etc., we need to focus on the music itself and the magical power it has to transform all our lives.

Now let's all throw some major drumming down! To give us a great example, here's Stewart Copeland being the best Stewart Copeland he can be. Thank God he never listened when people told him how to play.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Q. Who's the great drummer on the recording? A. You!

I wanted to quickly talk about practicing with drummerless recordings. I have found it very beneficial to play along with recordings where I don't have another drummer's musical information coming at me. I can approach the music any way I want to, and can even try interpreting a song several ways. I have listed a few recordings I have enjoyed working with and learning from. Note that these cover a wide variety of styles, and some of them aren't even music with a constant pulse. Playing along with the Bartok string quartets has been great for my rubato playing. Enjoy!

Angel Song-Kenny Wheeler
Le Noise-Neil Young
Bartok String Quartets-Emerson String Quartet
Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio-Oscar Peterson
This One's For Blanton-Duke Ellington
Duologue 1 and 2- Mike Murley and David Occhipinti

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joe Morello

Hey everyone,
Just got the sad news from Jon M. that Joe Morello passed away.
Joe (in more recent years) became mainly known as a sort of monster chops teacher. While it was true he was a brilliant technician and a student of the great George Lawrence Stone (author of Stick Control and Accents and Rebounds) Joe didn't get credit for a lot of other great aspects of his playing, such as his beautiful warm drum sound and his very distinctive brush style. Joe Morello was also a great "gateway" player for me from players like Buddy Rich and other technical drummers to some of the more abstract small group players such as Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, etc.

Check out the master at work. Thanks so much for all the wonderful music Joe.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Check this out........

Interesting stuff. A colleague of mine posted this ( he has since taken it down) and responded very negatively to it. I could see my compatriot's opinion but I also think Branford is making a point (perhaps with a very blunt instrument, but a point nonetheless).
I have and have had many great students. They worked hard, studied, and looked at their abilities realistically without getting their egos involved. I have however, run into some players who don't want to work or research and pretend they're a lot more accomplished than they actually are. My colleague also mentioned people he worked with and their poor interaction with Mr. Marsalis and that's when I felt I had to mention my own experience. I played with Michelle Gregoire's band when we opened for Branford's quartet in Winnipeg a few years ago. Not only was he kind and gracious, but he invited us all up to play with his band during the concert. Not only that, he insisted we join him after the show for the food and drink the promoters had provided for him. We had a very lovely evening chatting about (what else?) music. I get the feeling that if you show him that the music is important and you are working diligently and honestly at it, he has plenty of time for you. In the clip above, I took away that a lot of people try to study with him as a resume bullet, and are trying to get him to feed their ego. I doubt he has much time for that.
Let me make this perfectly clear, I would NEVER, EVER, make a comment like that regarding anyone that has studied with me. I also think though, that many points of view (just like many types of music) are valid, especially if they're coming from an honest place.

See ya soon,

Odds and Ends

Hey all,
First I'm going to post a couple of more videos of the Tony Allen type beats I continue to work on. One version is slower than the other one and I'm playing the bass drum stronger.

Also I thought I'd mention some music I'm enjoying lately.

This is a great exciting recording showing a very firey side of Pete La Roca. My apologies for not being able to upload any tracks. Go buy it anyway, you won't regret it!

Anyone that knows me at all will know I love Pop music. Here's an incredibly catchy tune by Toronto based group Sweet Thing. The tune is "Lazy Susan".

Music is so great!!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Just got back the tour with Broadview, saw many friends, made some new ones, and got to play music for 5 nights straight with two great humans who are also killer musicians. With that, I thought I'd greet everyone with another tune from the Kingston gig. This is my composition and it's called "Shipwrecked".

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On The Road, the heart is sore

Not really, I just wanted to quote my favorite Max Webster song!
Broadview is heading out today so if I don't see you out there I'll see you back here in a week or so.

Here's another video of us playing my tune, "Rich Murlted"