There was always a carnival when these two appeared. Nana Vasconcelos (left) and Cyro Baptista were constantly touring. However, when they were in NYC their presence was known! Nana, master of the berimbau, introduced the instrument in concert and recordings to a completely new audience. Cyro, a major versatile Brazilian percussionist seen and heard worldwide.
When we started in 1979, the only world percussion drums in the stores were congas, bongos and other latin american gear. Any thing else was a rare oddity. A few Brazilian percussionsts started coming into the shop and after a while convinced me to buy pandieros and tamborims from them when they would return from Brazil. In the early 80’s a very nice gentleman came into Drummers World with a nice djembe drum from Burkina Faso and invited me up… Read more
Steve Singer, drummer/photographer, was in attendance at Elvin’s 2001 clinic at Drummers World with camera ready. He took this pic of Elvin and his wife Keiko after the clinic as they were mingling with attendees. The “Elvin look” is obvious. His eyes rolling in combination with that grin could charm a snake!
I’m proud to say I have known Lewis Nash since he arrived in NYC in the early 80s working with Betty Carter. His discography is endless, being on over 400 albums, and he continues to travel and perform internationally with major artists. He has had much success and remains the same humble being as always.
Greg Hutchinson and Clayton Cameron at Drummers World in the mid 1990s. Both of these guys are masters at what they do. This was an impromptu demonstration Clayton was giving and you can see Greg is all eyes. Whenever Clayton would come into the shop he always attracted frustrated brush players looking to pick up tips.
Back to the ’80s and a smiling Smitty when he was in NYC freelancing, before he got the Tonight show gig. I would see him playing in the New York clubs and marvel at how he could put it all together and always come out swinging and musical. He now resides in California and enjoys the warm climate.
This photo was taken of Vinnie in 1988 on a cold day in NYC. He was recording in town and stopped by Drummers World to say hello. Always a lot of fun, his work with Zappa, Sting and others is always inspiring and creative. He remains a constant favorite of ours.
Mr. Suave! Always dressed immaculately and a real delight to hang with, Chico Hamilton was a major pioneer. He always experimented with new ideas and was one of the first drummers to use single headed toms. This photo was taken in the mid ’80s at Drummers World.
Right after 9/11 New York fell apart for a while. No one knew where things were going or if there was more to come. We had a clinic scheduled with Elvin Jones and were unsure whether or not to put it on. We reached out to him and he decided to go for it. Never looking back, it was a remarkable day that everyone there will never forget. Elvin was very positive and full of inspiration. In this photo, behind… Read more
Prior to the 1980’s hand drumming was thought of as bongo and conga drum playing. Glen Velez changed that! He pioneered the art of frame drumming with incredible tambourine, riq, and bodhran technique. He is now considered one of the foremost frame drummers in the world and is influence is legendary. He always performs with music primary and technique as a necessity. We sponsored a clinic in the mid 80s featuring Ed Harrison playing Joropo Maracas and Glen, Frame… Read more
One of the nicest guys in the business, Louie Bellson gracing Drummers World with his presence was an honor. The pioneer of double bass drumming, he had remarkable hands as well as feet. His recording of “Skin Deep” with Duke Ellington will always remain a classic lesson in drumming. In addition, his books on reading and odd times are studied by all intrumentalists and remain very relevant.
Dave Mattacks, shown in this photo from the mid-80’s, was residing at the time in his native England and was first call on many studio sessions. His solid time keeping and exquisite taste kept him in demand with Fairpoint Convention, Jethro Tull, Paul McCartney, Elton John and many others.Now residing in the US he is a favorite with many singer-songwriters. Always very polite and serious, Dave has a great sense of humor (see T-shirt).
Often referred to as “The Tailor“, Mel Lewis was the epitome of the understated perfect big band drummer. His steady time and swing made him an in-demand musician. He was very opinionated yet personable and easy to talk to. His recordings are lessons in how to play with a band. Never obtrusive, but very much a presence!
Arthur Taylor performed on over 300 albums between the 1950s and 1960s, one being the classic “Giant Steps” album. He was basically the “house drummer” at Blue Note Records. In the early 1960s he left New York and moved to Europe, where he lived for twenty years. On his return we became good friends and this photo shows him with his famous interview book, “Notes and Tones.”
Whenever Dire Straits was in town, Pick Withers would always come by and hang out. The band got bigger and bigger and Pick, being very disciplined, would practice hours in our studio. He has always been very reserved and humble. He would talk about, before they became popular, The Police being the opening act for Dire Straits. We developed a lasting friendship. This photo taken in the late 1980s is of his attempt at playing the berimbau in our shop.
What a pleasure and honor when Buster Bailey would come into Drummers World. Having been with the NY Philharmonic for over 40 years, he witnessed many changes. He played snare drum with impeccable taste and control. I think one of his favorite pastimes was going to the circus and watching the drummer. I complained to him about the difficulty of his Xylophone book and he advised: “practice very slowly”… which I did, and it was still difficult! This is… Read more
One of the original Progressive Rock innovators, Bill Bruford stopped by Drummers World in the mid 90’s a number of times when he was touring with King Crimson. He blew my mind when I first heard him with Yes! A very mild-mannered gentleman.
Still kicking ass with Living Colour and doing his own projects as well, Will Calhoun has been a friend and inspiration for many years. He first came into the store when he was still in high school and continued to do so whenever he was in town. He is always expanding his scope and constantly exploring world music. This photo was taken at Drummers World in the 1990s.
I got completely turned around after hearing the drum track on “Chameleon”. Harvey nailed it! Then the George Benson album,”Breezin’”… he has done so many other projects and still out there with FourplayJazz. A true gentleman and artist. This photo is from one of his visits to our drum shop in the ’80s.
Drummers always want more! It’s the personality type. Aggressive, on top of it, ready to move. They think differently than other musicians. Have you seen Terry Bozzio’s set up recently? How many drums and cymbals does he have? I quit counting after 20. And he plays them all… and brilliantly. OK, keyboard players have a few different set ups as do guitarists, but none come close to Terry’s rig. The opposite is the famous Jo Jones episode at Central Park.… Read more
This photo of Chris Lamb was taken in our drum shop after he won the NY Philharmonic audition in 1985. He was exteremly exhausted after many practice hours. He came in for a visit and played every tambourine in the store. Chris is the Principal Percussionist with the orchestra and is always creative, inventive and inspiring. Once when a young rock drummer came into the store and started bragging to everyone about the band he was working with and how… Read more
We are now doing repairs in a downtown Manhattan facility. Neil Ochoa, our long time repair person, is accepting repairs involving Drum Recovering and the Reheading of Djembe, Conga, Bongo, Dumbeck, Tambourine and Frame Drum.
Please contact us for further information.
Last week after lunch I walked over to 48th Street between 6th and 7th avenues in midtown Manhattan with a friend. After arriving we looked at each other in amazement. What was once a thriving, vital music scene looked like a depressed, deserted neighborhood. All the music stores gone, except for one. Music row or “the street” as it was affectionately labeled by the music community is no more. The rumor is the buildings will be leveled and high rises… Read more
When I look back, it is the mid 80’s and this lanky guy walks into Drummers World on West 45th Street. It is winter and he has a grey overcoat on, but what really stands out is his over-sized shades. They are especially dark and give the impression of misterioso, you have no idea what those eyes look like. No conversation other than I inquire if he needs any help or has any questions. No response other than a… Read more
Paul was unique. Not only as a player, but also personally. His loyalty was evident over the years. Coincidentally, the first time he came into Drummers World (early 80’s) to purchase a 24” cymbal bag, Elvin was there. They gave each other bear hugs and were genuinely glad to see one another. Thereafter, Paul would come in for brushes (plastic), heads etc. We eventually helped design a personal model drumstick for him when Cappella was in business. He bought his… Read more