Primary Instrument: Percussion
Described in the Washington Post as a percussionist in the widest and most exuberant sense of the word, Tom Teasley combines percussion instruments and playing styles from Africa, India and the Middle East. He has fused this eclectic concept with American jazz and Western Classical music creating what noted jazz writer Bill Milkowski calls a beautiful tapestry of rhythm. Tom frequently performs throughout the US and Europe. Modern Drummer magazine awarded his latest CD, Global Groovilization and video, Global Fusion Percussion with extremely positive reviews. Percussionist and drummer Tom Teasley successfully fuses various rhythmic ideas from around the world, emphasizing the universal concept of groove. This hip West-African / Indian / Middle Eastern-influenced stew will soon have you hooked. (Martin Patmos, Modern Drummer) This video challenges you to become not only a more technically adept drummer, but a more creative and even innovative one. Open-minded drummers of all genres and veteran world percussionists looking for a fresh approach should find this a great educational resource. (Will Romano, Modern Drummer)
Teasley came by his world music chops honestly, studying ethnic percussion with Glen Velez, Trichy Sankaran, Yacub Addy and Frank Malabe. In addition, Tom studied with drum set legend Joe Morello for many years. Tom holds a Master of Music degree from The Catholic University of America. He attended Peabody Conservatory and received the Bachelor of Music degree from the American University. A versatile and accomplished percussionist, Tom is constantly striving to extend the boundaries of existing musical styles and incorporate these diverse influences in his music. His multiple musical interests have instilled in him the need to create new sounds by combining timeless musical practices with contemporary influences.
Tom presents 100+ concerts yearly of The Drum: Ancient Traditions Today, a solo interactive educational performance and video release which traces the use of percussion in ethnic percussion instruments, western percussion and electronics. Sounds of indigenous instruments such as frame drums, shakers, kalimba and djembe, as well as traditional jazz instruments such as drumset and vibraphone, combined with state-of-the-art electronics create Tom's unique voice. Bridging the gap between musical concerts and performance art, Tom is much in demand as a soloist and collaborator. Tom served as percussion consultant, artistic collaborator and soloist for a newly commissioned millennium project performed by Washington's National Symphony. The work entitled DC Citypiece included elements of go-go and hip-hop and featured exotic percussion, including frame drums and shakers. Broadcast nationally on NPR radio,DC Citypiece was also the subject of a feature length documentary film. Tom was an artist-in-residence at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC where he collaborated with a visual artist to present a series of concerts in DC public schools. He has also collaborated with dancers from the US and India. As percussionist / composer for Word-Beat, Tom collaborates with singer / actor Charles Williams in a critically acclaimed and truly inspiring presentation of original music and spoken word. In 1998, Word-Beat released both a video and CD, Poetry, Prose, Percussion And Song. Word-Beat's second CD is scheduled for release in the fall of 2005. Word-Beat has been on the touring roster of the Virginia Commission for the Arts since 1998. He played percussion as a member of the United States Navy Band. Tom has also played drum set and percussion for blues / roots artist Catfish Hodge, touring nationally and making two recordings with this artistic legend; he's also shared the stage with national treasures Professor Longhair, Muddy Waters and Bonnie Raitt.
The focus of a feature article in Modern Drummer Magazine, the most widely circulated percussion magazine in the world, Tom is described as a creative bonanza... give Tom a bass drum, a snare drum and a djembe & he'll give you part Stravinsky, part Art Blakey. No instrument has limitation for him... the way he glides over his kit, hand drums and electronics, it looks simple and free. Just when you think you've got him figured out, he pulls another rabbit out of the hat. Of course, that's what makes good art.... (Bruce Wittet, Modern Drummer Magazine, Oct. 99) In1999, Tom was selected as a featured presenter for PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention), the largest and most prestigious percussion event in the world. Tom also appeared at PASIC in both 2003 and 2004, presenting his much acclaimed World Percussion for Western-Trained Musicians in 2004. That gives him the unique distinction of performing for three PASICs.
New projects include a solo project, Sol Orchestra, in which Tom creates many textures and timbres with and without the use of real-time looping. World percussion instruments are combined with traditional percussion and electronics, giving the impression of an ensemble. World, Wind, and Percussion Ensemble is a trio comprised of John Jensen playing trombone, didgeridoo and conch shell and arranger / trumpeter Chris Battistone. This ensemble uses instruments that include traditional wind and percussion along with their ancient counterparts, creatively changing the landscape of the jazz tradition in unusual and compelling ways.
A prolific recording artist, Tom's newest releases, Global Groovilization (CD) and Global Fusion Percussion (Video), have garnered much praise from media and radio outlets throughout the world. Tom's third solo release for the T & T Label, Global Standard Time, features innovative arrangements of jazz standards with world rhythmic influences. It received extensive airplay and intensive media coverage. Tom's second solo release for the T & T Label, Time Travel, is an eclectic mix of mainstream and contemporary jazz, world music, music technology and original compositions. Both Time Travel and Tom's debut recording Balancing Act have received critical acclaim from media and radio stations throughout the world. Tom has performed and composed music for TV, jingles and film soundtracks, and been featured in numerous live radio broadcasts, including several for NPR.
Tom Teasley tours regularly, often providing workshops on behalf of the instrument manufacturers that he endorses including Remo, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Cooperman Hand Drums, Mountain Rythym Djembes and Wright Hand Drums. He serves on the faculties of the University of the District of Columbia and the Levine School of Music where he chairs the percussion department. An avid educator, he is a frequent lecturer / clinician on the subjects of combining African, Middle Eastern and Western percussive techniques and rhythms, jazz improvisation, percussion instruments and techniques, and the interaction of acoustic and electronic performance. Recent performances / clincs include Eastman School of Music, Penn State University Campuses, music festivals in Italy and Germany, Percussive Arts Society, The Kennedy Center (where he was Artist-in-Residence), Young Audiences Inc., MUSE Machine of Dayton Ohio and Spartanburg, South Carolina, Southern Ohio Arts Museum, SUNY, Brooklyn Music School, Richmond Jazz Society, Appel Farms Performing Arts Center, The Augusta Heritage Center, Princeton and American Universities. Teasley has been chosen for inclusion in the Artist Roster for the Artists in Education program sponsored by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education.