Steve Gadd was born April 9, 1945 in Irondequoit, New York and when he was seven his drummer uncle encouraged him to take lessons. By eleven he had sat in with Dizzy Gillespie. After graduating from Irondequoit’s Eastridge High, he attended the Manhattan School of Music for two years before transferring to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, playing in wind ensembles and concert bands.
After matriculation in the late ’60s, Steve played regularly with Chuck and Gap Mangione, making his recording debut on Gap’s solo album, “Diana in the Autumn Wind” in 1968. Drafted into the Army he spent the next three years drumming in the Army Music Program as a part of the Jazz Ambassadors. Discharged, Gadd returned to Rochester, formed a band and traveled to New York City where eventually the trio split. Gadd stayed on finding work as a studio musician that led to his short tenure with Chick Corea and Return To Forever.
During the ’70s and ‘80s, he toured internationally, recorded with Paul Simon and also with Al Di Meola’s Electric Rendezvous Band. In 1976, Gadd and other session musicians in New York City, including Richard Tee, Eric Gale and Cornell Dupree formed the group Stuff. Their work included appearances on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
By the end of the 1970s, Steve Gadd was an accomplished drummer bringing orchestral and compositional thinking, great imagination and a great ability to swing to his playing. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music for outstanding contributions to contemporary music. He is one of the highest paid session drummers in popular music.
Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was ten, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. He first fell in love with music when he was in elementary school, and tried nearly all the instruments in his school band before settling on the trumpet. While barely in his teens attending Garfield High, Quincy befriended then-local singer-pianist Ray Charles and the two youths formed a combo, eventually landing small club and wedding gigs.
At 18, the young trumpeter won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts but dropped out abruptly when he received an offer to go on the road with bandleader Lionel Hampton. The stint with Hampton led to work as a freelance arranger and settling in New York, throughout the 1950s he wrote charts for Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley and Ray Charles.
In 1964 Quincy won his first Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement of “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, in 1968 he won his second Grammy for Best Instrumental Performance with “Walking In Space” and that same year along with his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “The Eyes Of Love” and he became the first African American to be nominated twice within the same year when for Best Original Score for the 1967 film In Cold Blood.
His firsts would continue in 1971 when named musical director/conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony, being first to win the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and He is tied at 7 with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the most Oscar-nominated African American.
His musical achievements are too numerous to list as they span the gambit from film scores such as The Pawnbroker, In The Heat of the Night, The Italian Job, MacKenna’s Gold, The Getaway and The Color Purple to his jazz works “Body Heat” and “Big Band Bossa Nova” from which Soul Bossa Nova was used in the Austin Powers movies to his crowning glories with Miles Davis last release “Live at the Monteux Jazz Festival”, his work with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the charity song “We Are The World”. He continues to produce, conduct, arrange and compose.
Roy Owen Haynes was born March 13, 1925 in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts and made his professional debut at the age of seventeen in his native Boston. He began his full time professional career in 1945. From 1947 to 1949 he worked with Lester Young, and from 1949 to 1952 was a member of Charlie Parker’s quintet. He recorded at the time with Bud Powell, Wardell Gray and Stan Getz.
In 1953 Roy toured with Sarah Vaughan for the next five years and then went on to work with more experimental musicians, like John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill and Chick Corea.
Haynes extracted the rhythmic qualities from melodies and created unique new drum and cymbal patterns in an idiosyncratic, now instantly recognizable style. Rather than using cymbals strictly for effect, Haynes brought them to the forefront of his unique rhythmic approach. He also established a distinctively crisp and rapid-fire sound on the snare; this was the inspiration for his nickname, “Snap Crackle”.
Over the course of his 60+ career of hard swinging since 1944, Roy is among the most recorded drummers in jazz playing in a wide range of styles ranging from swing and bebop to jazz-fusion and avant-garde. He has recorded or performed with Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Christian McBride, Jackie McLean, Pat Metheny, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Horace Tapscott and many, many others.
As a bandleader Haynes has also led his own groups, some performing under the name Hip Ensemble and his most recent recordings as a leader are “Fountain of Youth” and “Whereas”, both of which have garnered Gammy nominations. In 2010, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences bestowed upon him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Drummer, percussionist and bandleader Roy Haynes continues to record and perform worldwide.
Jason Marsalis was born on March 4, 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana and is the youngest son of pianist Ellis Marsalis. Inheriting the virtuosity and compositional skills associated with the Marsalis family, Jason developed a distinctive, polyrhythmic drumming style. His first professional gig was with his father at the age of twelve, he studied classical percussion at Loyola University in New Orleans, and has worked as a sideman with straight-ahead combos, funk fusion bands, with Casa Samba, a Brazilian percussion ensemble and even a Celtic group.
Jason introduced percussionist Bill Summers to trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and together they co-founded the wildly successful Los Hombres Calientes. Then, at the height of that band’s popularity he left to join up with acclaimed pianist Marcus Roberts.
Most recently, Jason has been playing vibraphone, releasing his first album as a leader on vibes in 2009 titled “Music Update”. Earning 4.5 out of 5 stars in Downbeat Magazine, it showcases Jason playing the vibes with his working quartet as well as several over-dubbed drum ensembles titled the “Disciplines”.
Jason also continues to work as a sideman with among others Marcus Roberts, Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis, John Ellis, Dr. Michael White and Shannon Powell. Along with his father and brothers, he is a recipient of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award and is featured in the non-fiction film on New Orleans jazz culture, “Tradition Is A Temple”.
Samuel David “Dave” Bailey was born on February 22, 1926 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He studied drumming in New York City at the Music Center Conservatory following his stint in the Air Force in World War II.
Dave played with Herbie Jones from 1951-53, and later with Johnny Hodges, Charles Mingus, Lou Donaldson, Curtis Fuller, Billy Taylor, Art Farmer, Ben Webster, and Horace Silver. Between 1954 and 1968 he played on several recording sessions led by Gerry Mulligan, and during the 60s he also played with Clark Terry, Kenny Dorham, Lee Konitz, Cal Tjader, Roger Kellaway and Bob Brookmeyer.
In 1957 and 1958 he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and appeared in the documentary “Jazz on a Summer’s Day”. He recorded and released “One Foot In The Gutter” in 1960 on the Spanish label Lonehill Jazz. He followed up that recording with another “Gutter” release of the recording “Two Feet In The Gutter”. Although he is not commonly credited for his role in helping popularize the bossa nova in the ’60s, Bailey learned the rhythm while touring South America in 1959 and helped many American drummers master the sound.
A solid swing and bop drummer, Dave retired from music in 1969 and became a flight instructor. From 1973 he worked in music education in New York and among other pursuits, he served as executive director of The Jazzmobile in New York City.
More Posts: drums