Born: June 13, 1954 Primary Instrument: Drums
I've been involved in the professional music business since 1970, but incredibly, still enjoy playing the drums anyway. I consider it very fortunate that my Indianapolis grade school had a full band program and indoor plumbing as well. At age 12 the music nun yanked me from piano lessons to play drums in the orchestra because no one else had exhibited any natural proclivity toward becoming the scapegoat in the school's traditional losses at district band contests. Falling in love with the drums immediately, I demonstrated my interest and gratitude by ripping off drumsticks from the school, using them at home to break the heads on a pair of Emenee bongos.
In order to protect the windowsills and tabletops, a drumset was soon provided and in no time, I was auditioning for my first band (Do you know the beat to 'Wipe Out'? Yeah. OK, you're in.). Starting with youth centers and community pools, moving up to after-game dances and drunken frat-house affairs, I paid my dues to reach the top in Naptown: VFW halls, Moose Lodges, mall openings, sets between films at drive-ins, and occasional Union jobs at the Women's Prison. I once found myself playing along with the jukebox at a country joint too cheap to hire a whole group; realizing something was missing, I decided to devote myself to bands inexplicably working on unique, original material no one wanted to hear.
By this point I was gaining notoriety as a drummer who would show up for the gig, but I needed more...so, after finally perceiving that further artistic growth could not occur in an area with such a dearth of seedy dives, I moved to Philadelphia.
Since relocating to the East Coast and slowly crystallizing the concepts for a book, I've greatly decreased my chances for fame and financial success by evolving into a Jazz Snob. In recent years my drums have taken me to many distant and foreign lands including Cancun (Mexico), Lisbon (Portugal), and Des Moines, Iowa. But seriously, I took snare drum lessons with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra percussionist Jack Wagley, and studied informally at drum clinics with John Von Ohlen, J.C. Heard, Ed Shaughnessy, and Alan Dawson. I was leader/co-founder/chief mediator/drummer for the electro-jazz group REVERIE, which persevered in the face of adversity, apathy, and overwhelming indifference to release four collections of original material in the dozen or so years of its existence; as a sideman, I've backed Ira Sullivan / Johnny Coles / Larry Coryell / John Blake / Al Grey / Don Alias / Cecil Bridgewater / Steve Giordano / Victor Bailey / Anita O'Day / Frank Tiberi / Jef Lee Johnson / Steve Rudolph / Alex Foster / Bootsie Barnes / Sid Simmons / Onaje Alan Gumbs / Doc Gibbs / Reggie Workman / Uri Caine / Rebecca Parris / Mark Murphy / Ben Schachter / Tony Williams / Jeff Jarvis / Evelyn Simms / Eddie Green / Ron Thomas / Larry McKenna / Lynn Seaton / Bob Kindred / Gordon Brisker / Richie Cole / Charles Fambrough / Randy Brecker / Vanessa Rubin / Houston Person / Bob Mintzer / Buddy DeFranco / Clark Terry / James Moody / John Simon / Ted Rosenthal / Ray Mantilla / Joe Ford / Jean Carn / Dave Stryker / Dave Leonhardt / Eddie Gomez / Mark Kramer / Dave Liebman / Slide Hampton / Randy Johnston / Bobby Zankel / Michael Pedecin, Jr. / Clifford Adams / Steve Marcus (and many others).
I founded ENCOUNTER RECORDS in 1986 and DREAMBOX MEDIA in 1995, resulting in Philadelphia Magazine’s choice award for 1999 Best of Philly® Jazz Record Label; Produced Evelyn Simms' On My Own, awarded BEST JAZZ RECORDING OF 1989 by the Philadelphia Music Foundation; currently working and recording with Tyrone Brown (former bassist for Max Roach), the Jim Ridl Trio, the Tom Lawton Quintet, MONKadelphia” and the Denis DiBlasio Quartet / Quintet; two trips to Europe w/ pianist BRIAN TRAINOR; Adjunct Professor for Advanced Study of DrumSet on Jazz Faculty at Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J.; Active Member American Federation of Teachers, Local 2373; member JazzBridge.org and Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Project advisory boards.
DREAMBOX MEDIA (formerly Encounter Records) is an independent musicians' co-op dedicated to promoting the rich tradition of distinctively original and creative Philadelphia jazz artists performing a wide range of jazz styles.
Since Philadelphia Jazz has a rich tradition of breeding distinctively original and creative artists, Dreambox Media aims to supplement and provide an alternative to the mass market-driven policy decisions made by other record labels.
Releasing works by under-recorded veterans and deserving newcomers, Dreambox Media enables these recordings to reach a wider audience through its own website, NorthCountry Distributors, amazon.com, and other outlets. Dreambox artists have played major jazz festivals and clubs all over the world, and have conducted local community workshops for students of all ages in the spirit of spreading the message of America's uniquely indigenous artform, a truly democratic music.
Awards:(Please see Bio above.)
With his characteristic flexibility, one that makes it sometime seem as if he's physically steering the band around the turns of whatever tune is rolling past (-Cadence)
...the orchestrational drummer of choice (-Jazz Player magazine)
...unbelievably difficult to listen to... (-AllAbout Jazz.com)
IF IT’S NOT ONE THING… - Jim MILLER TIME (Dreambox Media DMJ-1029)
…IT’S ANOTHER – Jim MILLER TIME (Dreambox Media DMJ-1063)
As A Side Musician
LOOK AHEAD - GERALD VEASLEY (Heads Up OXCD/MC3016)
CATCH ME - DENIS DiBLASIO (Liscio Artist Series-11193)
KUSANGALA (w/ TYRONE BROWN) - (Nirvana K-1001)
SUDDEN LIFE - DON GLANDEN w/ LARRY McKENNA (Encounter Records EAR-1019)
SIGNS - GERALD VEASLEY (Heads Up HUCD 3027)
7 GIANT STEPS TO HEAVEN - DENIS DiBLASIO (Liscio LAS-38932)
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS - SUZANNE CLOUD (Encounter Records EAR-1022)
JAZZ SAXOPHONE CLASSICS - BOB FANELLI (2nd St. SSP1204)
SHADES OF GREEN - EDDIE GREEN (Dreambox Media DMJ-1052)
LEMON DROP - GEORGE RABBAI & Co. (DBK Jazz 70001)
MONK & ME - BRIAN TRAINOR trio & friends (TriArt Music TRT-2018)
THIS XMAS (I’D RATHER HAVE LOVE) - TEDDY PENDERGRASS (Surefire 13048)
RHINO - DENIS DiBLASIO (Dreambox Media EAR-1032)
5 MINUTES TO MADNESS & JOY - JIM RIDL Trio (Synergy Music 80008-2)
PERPETUAL BAGGAGE CLAIM - DENIS DiBLASIO (Dreambox Media EAR-1038)
MONKADELPHIA - (Dreambox Media EAR-1045)
LOOKING BACK - SUZANNE CLOUD (Dreambox Media DMJ-1030)
MOOD SWINGS - BOB FANELLI (Consensus Music 01062)
The JIM RIDL TRIO LIVE - (Dreambox Media DMJ-1055)
DICHOTOMY – BRIAN BETZ (Dreambox Media DMJ-1088)
RETROSPECTIVE / DEBUT – TOM LAWTON (Dreambox Media DMJ-1070)
TRANQUILLO – The BRIAN TRAINOR QUARTET (Harkit Records, EU 8115)
YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART – JIM RIDL (Dreambox Media DMJ-1080)
BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN – TYRONE BROWN SEXTET (Dreambox Media DMJ-1087)
FREE BIRD – The BIRDHOUSE PROJECT (Dreambox Media DMJ-1100)
CHAPTER ONE – DAVID LACKNER (Dreambox Media DMJ-1102)
DENIS DiBLASIO / BRIAN BETZ PROJECT – (Dreambox Media DMJ-1110/2)
MOON OF THE FALLING LEAVES – TYRONE BROWN STRING ENSEMBLE (Dreambox Media DMJ-1115)
JAZZ GREETINGS – MARK KRAMER (Dreambox Media DMJ-1118)
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Adjunct Professor of Advanced Studies for Drumset at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. There, I also coach small Jazz ensembles, teach a Business of Music course, and accept private students. Call 267-250-8506 for more info.
"A Brief History of Time-keeping," which is a Jazz History explained through the evolution of the modern drumset.