Born: March 15, 1956 Primary Instrument: Piano
An accomplished and adventurous improviser, pianist David Drazin, a Cleveland, Ohio native, specializes in hot jazz styles such as Harlem stride and blues. David created his own opportunity to play freely in all styles as a soloist by performing nationally and internationally as a silent-film accompanist. He has performed with modern and traditional jazz combos and big bands.
In 2012, David’s activities include film scoring, performing/bandleading and accompanying live vaudeville and movies. His original piano score enhanced puppeteer Lyon Hill’s short film with sound titled “Junk Palace,” produced by Jim Henson’s daughter Heather, a hit at the recent Full Frame Documentary Festival. David performed with cornetist Bob Schulz’s band at the monthly concert of Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz in October 2010. In March 2011, he accompanied renowned jazz singer Barbara Rosene at the Tribute to Bix Festival in Racine, Wisconsin. David led his own band, The Ambassadors, at Illiana on May 22, 2011. Currently, he's playing bebop and blues/pop keyboards every Friday night with J.J. and the Jazz Masters at Chicago's Hyde Park Ramada Inn. David played with the Bernard Scavella Quintet at the monthly concert of the Hyde Park Jazz Society. Video and audio samples of his recordings are available on David’s website at www.kendavies.net/daviddrazin/.
David Drazin received his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Ohio State in 1978. Soul music veteran/electric bass player Andrew Vinson recruited David from a jam session to join a group that became the legendary Columbus jazz-rock band “Seeds of Fulfillment.” While composing and playing Fender Rhodes electric piano in the band, David fell into a job as a dance accompanist at Ballet Metropolitan. Relocating to Chicago in 1982, David pursued the jazz life while accompanying dance classes at Ellis-DuBoulay, run by former Sadlers-Wells dancers Richard Ellis and Christine DuBoulay. Through his dance associations, David was hired to accompany can-can dancers on the ABC-TV series “Jack and Mike,” starring Shelley Hack. He self-produced a recording of his original song “Little Animals in Heat,” which was given airplay by Dr. Demento. He composed and recorded the soundtrack for Cal Ward Jr.’s silent film “The Rally,” which won the Black Hall of Fame Filmmakers Award. In the 1990s, David performed with blues guitar legend Floyd McDaniel’s trio. Later, he joined Jesse Scinto and the Dignitaries, an early rock and roll style Chicago band. The Dignitaries supported R & B sax legend Big Jay McNeely on the mainstage of the 2007 Chicago Blues Festival. Before the mainstage concert, David performed a solo piano tribute to pianist Albert Ammons. In 2008, David again played with Big Jay McNeely’s band at a high-profile event: the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
In 1985, David became official silent-film pianist at the Chicago School of the Art Institute Film Center (now Gene Siskel Film Center). David was invited to be a guest accompanist at the Pordenone, Italy Silent Film Festival in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In 2003, festival director David Robinson asked David to accompany a special Charlie Chaplin program, which was attended by Chaplin’s son Michael. David and his wife Carol were invited by Michael to the Chaplin home in Vevey, Switzerland, at which David gave an impromptu jazz performance on Charlie Chaplin’s piano. He has composed and recorded for Kino International, Milestone, and other video distributors. David has provided live accompaniment for silent-film screenings coast to coast: from the New York City Public Library to the Broncho Billy Festival near San Francisco Bay. He was honored to accompany Buster Keaton’s classic Civil War comedy “The General” at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. in 2010.