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Drummers are often the butt of the jokes with the attached stigma that we're not really musicians. We've all heard the one about the drummer who locked his keys in the car; it took him an hour to get the bass player out! Ba'Dump Smash! Or how can you tell if the drum riser is level? The drool spills out of both sides of the drummer's mouth. Ba'Dump Bump! Good one indeed. But seriously folks, drummers are the engine driving the band, the groovemakers, and the glue that shapes and makes the music stick together and gets people up dancing--or toe-tapping at the very least. Being a drummer gives us a sonic vantage point, literally and figuratively, of our own--after all, we do sit centre stage most of the time. And once we've established a basic rhythm, we can pick out phrasing that complements other instruments, accents hooks, controls the dynamics, etc. It only makes sense that some drummers get out from behind the kit, take charge of the musical direction, share their creative vision, and put their thumbprint on the music as a whole. This year's percussion feature focuses on drummers who have done just that: transcended the notion that we're nothing more than timekeepers and evolved into world-class producers.
Our first contributor is Grammy Award-winning New York-based drummer/writer/producer/musical director Steve Jordan. Jordan's credits as a producer include Keith Richards, Robert Cray's Take Your Shoes Off [Grammy winner), Buddy Guy's Bring Em In (Grammy-nominated), John Mayer's Try and Continuum, Herbie Hancock's Possibilities, and John Scofield's That's What I Say--to name a few. His work as both a session and touring drummer is jaw-droppingly impressive with such artists as Bob Dylan, James Taylor, BB King, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones--and the list continues to grow. As a musical director, Jordan has worked on high profile projects such as Superbowl XXXX and the Martin Scorsese/Antoine Fuqua film Lightning In A Bottle. A multi-instrumentalist and heck of a nice guy, Jordan is one of the busiest and most influential musicians in the industry today, and my guess is that will be true for decades to come.
Next up, originally hailing from Chicago and now calling Los Angeles his home, is a man who's making inroads very quickly in today's music industry Keith Harris has toured the world executing pop-rockin' beats as the drummer with the Grammy Award-winning band The Black Eyed Peas since 2003. His talent as a writer and multi-instrumentalist with artists such as Macy Gray, Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, and others quickly expanded into the roll of producer for Fergie, executive producer on Jully Black's Revival, and co-producer on two tracks for Thriller 25, the reissue by none other than the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. …