Born: August 18, 1983 Primary Instrument: Drums
Argentine-American percussionist/composer Brian Shankar Adler had his first musical experience at the age of five, studying North Indian music. Adler grew up in an Ashram in upstate New York and was taught to recite classical Indian drum syllables and play the corresponding finger patterns on his knees before ever picking up a drum. Adler was gifted a pakhawaj and later a trap drum set, on which he began to develop connections between Eastern and Western music.
While in High School, Adler attended summer programs at Stanford University, Purchase Jazz Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. He went to Manhattan School of Music Preparatory School and received a scholarship to New England Conservatory, where he received his Bachelor’s degree with honors. He studied with Arjun Bhatt, Billy Hart, Billy Higgins, John Hollenbeck, Misha Masud, Danilo Pérez, Bob Moses, and Dave Rataczjak, among others who helped him discover his own voice incorporating jazz, Indian, South American and western classical traditions. Adler's understanding of these four various rhythmic traditions contribute to his uniquely earthy and melodic approach to the drums.
Since then, Brian has toured around the world and performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the Sephardic Music Festival (New York), Thelonious (Buenos Aires), the Ear Shot Jazz festival (Seattle), and Passinger Fabrik (Munich). Eseban Rey of Newsweek Argentina called him One of the most prominent drummers in the US. And Dave Wayne of Jazz Review.com wrote: Adler is an amazing instrumentalist who has seemingly mastered all aspects of percussion... his bubbling, percolating rhythms carry the music forward in the most graceful possible ways.
In 2002 Adler started Circavision Productions, a record label and production company that has released 12 jazz albums. His music has accompanied various film and dance projects and has been featured on B.E.T., South By Southwest (SXSW) and the International 60/60 Dance Festival.
The following year, he and Korean vocalist Sunny Kim founded Prana Trio, a group drawing from the ancient texts of Rumi, Hafiz, Lao Tzu, Kabir, Issa and others. Prana Trio has released three critically acclaimed albums —The Singing Image of Fire (2010), Pranam (2006) and After Dark (2004) — and has toured throughout the US and Europe. Brad Walseth of Jazz Chicago wrote: Beautiful and haunting... with finger on the pulse of humanity, Prana Trio speaks of the universality of poetry and music across many cultures.
During a 2009 trip to Argentina to discover his familial roots, Adler began the Helium Music Project, a global, web-based series with musicians from around the world. The project highlights Adler’s uplifting musical philosophy as well as his love for world rhythms, textures, and soulful melodies. Adler was introduced to Argentina’s folkloric melting pot of rhythms and incorporated these influences into the early phases of the Project’s music.
The Helium Music Project has grown into an international phenomenon and has featured the talent of: Kate McGarry, Benedikt Jahnel, Ben Monder, Dave Eggar, Marilyn Crispell, Heather Masse, Sunny Kim, and Peter Eldridge.
In addition to performing and composing, Adler is committed to doing outreach as a percussionist and lecturer. He is a member of Bash The Trash, an educational program that teaches children about music through the construction of instruments from recycled materials. He also coordinates a percussion program for special needs kids in Yonkers, NY with the Hoff Barthelson Music School. Through this program he is doing test research for a book he is writing on world drumming. Adler is currently the musical director and percussionist of Hinton Battle's Off-Broadway production of Sistas. He also performed and recorded with: Pablo Aslan, Gene Bertoncini, Ran Blake, Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Carlberg, Dave Fiuczynski, Mark Helias, Myra Melford, Stomu Takeishi, Ray Vega, Eli Yamin.
Adler’s command of the drums is stunning.” Mark E. Gallo- Jazz Review.com.
Percussion colorist and intrepid musican Raul d'Gama Rose- All About Jazz.
Adler's percussion is sure-footed and, when called upon, majestic. David Dupont- Cadence Magazine.
Brian swings hard and plays at an extremely high conceptual level. Cecil McBee- Jazz Bassist, Member of bands led by Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, David Liebman.
Brian Adler’s odd drum sequences and patterns challenge the common belief of how a musician should sound in a jazz ensemble. Luis Oliveira- Ventrilocution Magazine.
Brian Adler- drum set, tablas
Kate McGarry- voice (1)
Peter Ehwald- tenor saxophone (1)
Benedikt Jahnel- piano (1)
Dave Eggar- cello (1)
Nicky Schrire- voice (2)
Nick Kadajski- alto saxophone (2)
Sean Moran- acoustic nylon string guitar (2)
Mark Lau- acoustic bass (2)
The Singing Image of Fire
Brian Adler- drum set, tablas, cajon, melodica
Sunny Kim- voice (1-11)
Carmen Staaf- piano, accordion (1,3,5,6,8,10)
Frank Carlberg- piano (4,7,9,11)
Matt Aronoff- acoustic bass (5,10)
Robert Lanzetti- guitar (2,12)
Nathan Goheen- electric bass (2,12)
Brian Adler: Drums
Josh Deutsch: Trumpet
Kendall Eddy: Bass
Carmen Staaf: Piano
Brian Adler: Drums
Sunny Kim: Voice
Stomu Takeishi: Bass
Frank Carlberg: Piano (Trs. 1,3,7)
Jeremy Udden: Soprano Sax (Trs. 2,4)
Mike Winograd: Clarinet (Tr. 4)
Chris Donohue (Tr. 4)
Brian Adler: Drums & Toy Piano
Sunny Kim: Voice & Drums
Evan Halloin: Bass
Frank Carlberg: Piano (Tr. 3)
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Private Teacher, 2000-present
Faculty Drum Teacher, 2010-present: 92st Y
Faculty Drum Teacher, 2007-present: Larchmont Music Academy
Outreach Drum Teacher, 2005-present: Hoff Barthelson Academy
Clinician and Teacher, 2005: Day Jams Summer Camp
Teacher Assistant to Hankus Netsky, 2004: “Int. to Jazz Theory” New England Conservatory
Teacher Assistant to Ran Blake, 2003: “Long-term Melodic Memory” New Engladn Conservatory
Melodic and harmonic approach to Drumming
Slingerland, Radio King Snare drum
Istanbul, Zildjian and bosphorus cymbals.