Born: December 4, 1964 Primary Instrument: Drums
I am a drummer, composer, improviser, and educator. My work is animated by a lifelong fascination with rhythm, space, and a drum-based sensibility for melody and energy.
I was born and raised in the Seattle area, and studied with Ed Blackwell, Bill Lowe, Bill Barron, Robert O'Meally, and the writer Annie Dillard when I was at Wesleyan University in the 1980s. In those years I played with a diverse assortment of musicians including Brad Mehldau, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Thomas Chapin, Joe Fonda, Mario Pavone, Wes Brown, David Bindman, Dicky Wells, Chris Lightcap, Matt Moran, Paul Flaherty, Michael Attias, Anthony Braxton, Jackie McLean, and Wadada Leo Smith.
I also work in genres and formats that fall outside what's typically considered jazz. My Earth Solos are an ongoing series (initially inspired by Robert Smithson's Six Mirror Displacements) of outdoor, site-specific drum set improvisations performed and photographed in desert, mountain, and industrial settings in the western US. I make electro-acoustic sound collages using field recordings and percussion samples--these have accompanied dances by Heather Kravas and Sheri Cohen at DTW, Oberlin College, and Seattle. I've also done street theater in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico, among other things.
As a freelance educator I have led nearly 1,000 junk percussion workshops and residencies in the US and Central America, in prisons, schools, theaters, Indian reservations, museums, and elsewhere. For six months in 2000 I was 'Millennium Project' Artist-in-Residence with the Oneida Nation on their reservation in Wisconsin. I was a roster artist-in-residence with the Washington State Arts Commission for four years, and since 2002 I have taught composition in the NYC public schools via the Manhattan New Music Project, Carnegie Hall Weill Institute, and others.
Recent projects as a leader:
--Performing as a soloist using floor tom and various objects
--Content Provider a horn + drums quartet with Peter Evans, Briggan Krauss, Chris Speed.
--KJOSA featuring Kyoko Kitamura (vocal/laptop), Jane Rigler (flutes/laptop), Jason Kao Hwang (violin/viola), Oscar Noriega (clarinet/bass clarinet), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), and myself.
Other recent bands & projects:
--Jason Kao Hwang's EDGE--JKH (violin/viola/composer), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn), Ken Filiano (bass).
--Jason Kao Hwang's Burning Bridge-- JKH (violin/viola/composer), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Ken Filiano (bass), me (drums), Steve Swell (trombone), Joseph Daley (tuba), Sun Li (pipa), Wang Guo-wei (erhu).
--Jason Kao Hwang's Spontaneous River--a 35+ member string orchestra with drum set.
--TOTEM> Bruce Eisenbeil (guitar), Tom Blancarte (bass), me (drums)
--IRON DOG Sarah Bernstein (violin/electronics), Stuart Popejoy (bass/electronics), me (drums)
--10^32K, a trio with Kuumba Frank Lacy (tbn/flugelhorn), Kevin Ray (bass), me (drums). J.D. Parran and Elliott Sharp play with us too.
--Other Life Forms, quartet with Gordon Beeferman (piano), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Evan Lipson (bass), me (drums)
--3D Trio, Tomasz Dabrowski, Kris Davis, me
--Yoni Kretzmer Duo & Quartet with Daniel Levin, Eyal Maoz, Terrence McManus
--Ras Moshe group with Kyoko Kitamura, Anders Nilsson, Shayna Dulberger and others
--James Ilgenfritz's groups with Denman Maroney, Angelika Niscier, Jay Rozen, Steve Dalachinsky and others.
--Kevin James' KAJ Ensemble, new music with Joe Tompkins & Andrew Drury (percussion), Caroline Chin (violin), Lev 'Ljova' Shurbin (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello)
--Chris Stover group with Michael Gregory and Niels Praestholm
I do a lot of free improvisation and have played with Ricardo Arias, Michel Doneda, Wade Matthews, Andrea Neumann, Reuben Radding, Greg Kelley, Mazen Kerbaj, Christine Sehnaoui, Sharif Sehnaoui, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, to name a few.
CDs as a Leader
My Fingers Will Be Your Tears (Cadence Jazz Records, 2009), a live trio date from Roulette featuring Briggan Krauss and Myra Melford playing my compositions.
Renditions: Solos 2004-2007 A solo CD of texture-based improvisations using a number of approaches to playing a floor tom
A Momentary Lapse (Innova, 2003)--with Briggan Krauss, Chris Speed, Eyvind Kang, Myra Melford, and Mark Dresser
Polish Theater Posters (Red Toucan, 1998) with Eyvind Kang, Briggan Krauss, Craig Flory, Timothy Young, Phil Sparks, Brent Arnold, and Steve Moore
“(an) outstanding jazz and experimental percussionist…” Timeout NY
… extremely imaginative… …expansive and intimate…something to place alongside … Burkhard Beins, Tatsuya Nakatani, and Le Quan Ninh. Jason Bivins, Signal to Noise
Willing to teach:
I studied with Ed Blackwell for years, and took one lesson with Alan Dawson. My teaching reflects my learning through these two masters, plus my own experiences. I teach private students in New York City and as I travel. Contact me for details.
Clinics are aimed at students and music teachers. I have presented workshops across the U.S. and in Europe and Central America on the following subjects: Junk Percussion workshop Improvisation workshop Small Ensemble workshop Extended Techniques for Drummers Engaging Students through Drumming--for Artists & Teachers Junk Percussion & the Classroom--for school music teachers