Sound Healing therapy, Meditation, and Grief Recovery are my main focus, life mission and full-time profession.
However, music is a life-long passion and I still thoroughly enjoy working in the studio or performing live, playing drums and percussions in a professional capacity.
I am always thrilled by any opportunity to collaborate or create music through percussive explorations.
ON DRUMMING ~ where it all began
The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather exorbitant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”.
As a young musician, I was very much influenced by this story and by the genius who believed he still had much to learn 40 years into his career. I believe Picasso was not referring to a method of schooling or apprenticeship but a mentality: one that requires you to undergo a constant renewing of the mind. To have a never-ending thirst for what is innovative, uncommon, or unexpected. My musical life has been continuous voyage thru a kaleidoscope of cultures, expressions, styles, and instruments. A joyful and passionate learning. A mesmerizing journey of discovery that is never finished.
In my childhood, my father – a fine drummer and percussionist himself – taught me the basics by having me accompany him on hundreds of percussive instruments in many styles of music, often while playing alongside his LPs. He had a unique way of pressuring me to achieve: he would take me to clubs and concerts where we would both jam with the musicians. My parents furthered my musical “education” by taking me to countless concerts, and by playing music from a wide variety of countries and genres in our home on a daily basis. When the constraints of living in an apartment frustrated me from further exploring drums and percussions, I learned to play several of the instruments I heard at home — the guitar, mandolin and banjo — as well as a myriad of less reputable instruments such as the bagpipes, zither, and the portable harmonium. I also took up singing.
Oddly, this rather un-academic formation worked and by my teenage years I was able to hold my own among accomplished musicians. I was fluent in contemporary western music (rock, blues, jazz, country, and folk) but also quite fond of and familiar with such varied music and rhythms as Afro Cuban, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, Caribbean, Polynesian, Indian, and East European. To this day I incorporate elements from these cultures in my playing, no matter which style of music I’m performing.
To be immersed in music is a fascinating and enlightening way to live. It fosters sensitivity, creativity and individuality, and hopefully, triggers a passion for learning more. I’ve been on that trip and never really came back.
This passion for learning is shared by the best musicians out there. Drummers such as Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, and Milford Graves all traveled to Africa and India to learn more from indigenous percussionists. The great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins is well known for having taken dramatic “breaks” during his career to re-learn his instrument and start anew. Likewise, I still seek and discover drumming and percussion techniques I haven’t heard, and young players that take my breath away.
I am hopeful that everyone can experience the kind of epiphany I had after hearing John Coltrane’s “Olé” recording. I had obstinately tried this tune and many other avant-garde jazz recordings before, but they had always sounded to me like a bunch of random notes, sounds, and noise. But on one particular day I was listening to the tune over again and it clicked — I suddenly got it! In a fraction of a second I “re-heard” a lifetime of jazz and appreciated it for the first time. I literally thought my brain had doubled in size. More than finding a key to modern jazz, a mental barrier had broken down and I was being flooded with a new comprehension.
So how do you go on and keep going down this path? Ultimately, I feel it all goes back to listening to music, all kinds. I have no doubt that my passion for music and my ability to play in many styles really began one Christmas morning some forty five years ago. I found myself the ecstatic owner of a cassette player and some pre-recorded tapes. Next to the obligatory children’s lullabies and fairytale tapes, my parents had thrown in a dozen or so others — among them The Doors, Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger, the Bee Gees, a Folkways country and bluegrass compilation, and another of Celtic Music, the Red Army Choir, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Alan Stivell, an African drumming field recording, and numerous Latin American music including Mexican, Cuban, and Peruvian. I didn’t like it all immediately, but I loved all of it, ultimately.
Because it always is about Love. It is the Answer, isn't it?
Drums - Solo performance at the Wexford Arts Center
Drums - With The Django Experiment
Richard Lee / Adam Nolan
The Middle Path
The website of Stephane Wrembel, world-renown gypsy world-jazz composer and performer, profound soul. Stephane is a star and I am honored and blessed to have been his drummer and percussionist for three years.
Masterful and prolific musician, inspired creator of many moods, feels, and musics, Scott writes and plays a music that is as eclectic, rich, and profound as the many cultures he has visited and immersed himself into. Our collaboration on his album "Trio" is a highlight of my musical journey.
Vaudevilesque, cabaret-folk jazz, multi-instrumentalist, world music enthusiast, and talented singer-songwriter, Zoë is not just a great artist. She is also a beautiful soul who sows the seeds of joy and happiness with her music and her being. Thank you for having me on board and having me drum on your "Rotary Phone" record.
Richard writes, performs, and sings the singer-songwriter angst like a true brilliant poète maudit. His talent is immense and I am grateful to have played with Richard numerous times in New York and been featured on his recording "Burying the Dead".
Fascinating and hip short film by Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg. “Foli” is the word used for rhythm by the Malinke tribe in West Africa. Africa IS the cradle for all rhythms.
Absolutely brilliant short film by Johannes Stjärne Nilsson and Ola Simonsson. We've all drummers played on kitchen sinks, drinking glasses, and plastic bottles. These guys brought it to a new level.
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