Born: January 16, 1963 Primary Instrument: Drums
The story of my life for those who must know:
I was born near the Wallowa mountains in a small town called Enterprise, Oregon January 16, 1963. I grew up closer to Portland though and was surrounded by trees, blueberries (which we grew), and the cascade foothills. I became interested in drums at an early age and remember waiting anxiously for Hogan’s Heroes to come on TV so I could hear the snare intro to the theme. I also remember playing and replaying the percussion opening to Dr Zhivago’s overture. I would dive down and stick my head under the console stereo after starting the turntable to get the full effect.
I played violin in elementary school as well but drums won out and I played them all through elementary and high school. I had several teachers along the way though my serious study didn’t begin until I moved to Boston in 1983 to attend Berklee College of Music. Though I took lessons in school I also began studying privately with a drummer named Bob Gullotti who taught me not only a tremendous amount about drums but also about jazz and improvisation. Later I also studied with Alan Dawson as well. Both of those teachers were incredibly committed players and really wonderful people. In Boston I was also introduced to traditional west African drumming through a professor at Tufts and worked at integrating that into my playing. In 1988 I took my first trip to Brasil to meet my mother’s family. Living in such a musical culture really affected me. It was a refreshing departure from my formal musical studies and very inspiring. In 1990 I began studying Tai Chi at the Gin Soon Tai Chi club. Gin Soon really understood the martial arts applications of Tai Chi and like my drumming instructors his teachings really shaped me in a positive way. I learned a lot about relaxation, body mechanics and transfer of energy which are all essential to drumming (or anything for that matter!).
In 1996 after several years of living and working in Boston I moved to New York partly because that was what Boston musicians eventually did but also because I always loved visiting NY and wanted the experience of living there. The time I spent there was really wonderful. While I was primarily interested in the “downtown” improvised music scene, I also played with some great straight ahead players, explored the art and architecture of the city and made some great friends.
In late 1997 I finally decided to head back home. Oregon is a special place and though I loved the east coast I always knew I’d go home. Portland has a vibrant supportive music scene and I jumped right in. At this time to help make ends meet, I got a part time job doing woodwork (I had very little experience) and within 3 years or so was building custom furniture. (Music ,woodwork, and Tai Chi are all very similar believe it or not!) Within a couple of months of moving back I also met my wife Rachel and we were married a year later. Our dog Cafu showed up in 2002 and then our son Adam in 2005. About that time I joined the band Vagabond Opera which, along with my work in the improvised music world, has been my main musical focus.
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students