Tom Cohen

Drummer Tom Cohen has been a staple on the Philadelphia music scene for over 40 years having carved out a niche in a city known for its wealth of prodigious musicians. Though primarily a jazz musician, Tom's versatility has been his hallmark, leading him to contribute his talents in a myriad of musical genres.

Born in Newark, NJ Tom began playing drums at the age of seven and studied rudimentary basics and reading with Gene Thaler. Growing up in the NYC area eventually afforded the opportunity, when Tom was in his teens, to make sojourns to jazz clubs to hear the greats of those times and their influential sidemen. One of those times was hearing Stan Getz and his band and it presented the chance for Tom to introduce himself to Tony Williams, which soon thereafter led Tom to be accepted as a student..albeit after a short audition!

A short stint of college in Washington D.C. presented the opportunity to be mentored by jazz drummer Bernard “be-bop” Sweetney (Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, Andrew White). At this time Tom also played in the Howard University Big Band under the direction of Donald Byrd.

Upon moving to Philadelphia in the mid 1970's, Tom was invited into the established fusion group Catalyst, led by saxophonist Odean Pope. Described by drumming great Mickey Roker as “hard swinging”, Tom also began working with and being “educated” by veteran Philadelphia legends such as Shirley Scott, Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Charles Fambrough, and Sid Simmons to name a few.

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