Took up the drums at age 11 after a hate-hate relationship with the trombone. After moving from Chicago at age 13 to the sunny beach town of Cardiff, CA, immediately formed a punk rock band with some like-minded freshmen called The Irrelevants. Often performed wearing short shorts and occasionally switched instruments with the bassist, thus beginning a lasting love affair with the electric bass. Around this time I entered an obsessive jazz phase after hearing Miles and Coltrane. I spent the next few years studying privately with Duncan Moore, playing with the Palomar College Big Band (where I played a blazing fast “blue ‘n’ boogie” with bebop legend Charles McPherson), weaseling my way into the UCSD jazz camp where I was profoundly inspired by Gerry Hemingway and future mentor Wadada Leo Smith, sitting in at my dad’s gigs (tenor saxophonist Mark Lessman), and jamming with neighborhood pals the Mattson 2.
After growing completely disillusioned with high school, I heard about a boarding arts high school in northern Michigan called Interlochen where I spent my senior year. Leaving home at 17 for this beautiful, snowy hogwarts of music was a game changing experience. I was entirely surrounded by other dedicated and talented artists and graded on stuff I actually cared about! I completed a dual degree in Classical Percussion and Jazz after which I returned west to attend California Institute of the Arts where I earned my BFA in Jazz Drums. In addition to being a veritable playground to explore ideas, CalArts was a great place to be a drummer, refining my technique and shedding AfroCuban and Brazillian drums with Aaron Serfaty, bebop vocabulary with Joe Labarbera, Anlo-Ewe (Ghanaian) drumming with Alfred Ladzekpo, rhythm section playing with Larry Koonse and Darek Oles, long form improvisation with Vinny Golia, and all guided by the sage advice of AACM great, Wadada Leo Smith.
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- Toured in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and the US.
- Festivals include Angel City Jazz Festival, Make Music Pasadena, Tanned Tin Festival (ES), Ann Arbor EdgeFest (MI), Prototype (NYC), NOW Festival – REDCAT, Spiel Festival (AU), Santa Monica Glow Festival.
- Venues include The Stone (NYC), Joe’s Pub (NYC), Teatro Lara (SP), Bottom of the Hill (SF) and all over LA since 2005 including The Echoplex, The Echo, Ford Amphitheatre, Levitt Pavilion, Blue Whale, LACMA’s Friday Night Jazz series, The Hammer Museum, Bootleg Theater, Spaceland, Hotel Cafe, The Coach House, ResBox, REDCAT and dozens of Downtown LA art galleries.
- Live radio performances on KPFK (“The Global Village” w/ John Schneider), KSPC, KXLU, and “Islas de Robinson” (Madrid, ES).
- Parties, weddings, as well as private functions hosted by Glendale Arts, Goldman Sachs, SMA America, LLC.
Performed and/or recorded with Charles McPherson, Charlie Haden, Larry Koonse, Famoudou Don Moye, Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra, Vinny Golia, Kristian Hoffman, Spain (the band), Simone White, 18^2 (Steve Reich repertory ensemble) and Anne Lebaron’s Crescent City Opera.
Taught and led ensembles at Academy of Creative Education / Oakwood School, clinics at CalArts, Hamilton High, and Reed College. I teach private drum lessons by request.
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The Essentials (2013-present)
Incan Abraham (2014-present)
Mystery Bau (2012-present)
Pitch Like Masses (2009-present)
Timur and the Dime Museum (2011-present)
Vinny Golia Sextet (2007-present)
Tes Elations (2011-2013)
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