Thursday, February 5, 2009


Jack DeJohnette, born 9 August 1942  is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer. DeJohnette was born in Chicago, Illinois. Besides the drums, he studied the piano, which he plays on several recordings. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd's band, a group that pianist Keith Jarrett also was a part of at that time. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and from 1969 to 1972 played with Miles Davis and recorded albums for ECM as both leader and sideman. DeJohnette has led several groups since the early-1970s, including Compost, a jazz-rock group that did two albums for Columbia with Bob Moses and Harold Vick; Directions (with John Abercrombie, Alex Foster, Warren Bernhardt, and Mike Richmond); New Directions (with Abercrombie, Lester Bowie, and Eddie Gomez); and Special Edition (with David Murray, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Peter Warren, and others). Since the 1980s, he has been a member of what has become known as Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio alongside Jarrett and Gary Peacock. He is a dazzling improviser and a clear stylistic successor of Roy Haynes, and two of the greatest drummers of the 1960s, Tony Williams and Elvin Jones.Since 2003, Jack has been part of Trio Beyond with fellow musicians Larry Goldings (organ) and John Scofield (guitar). The trio was set up in tribute to The Tony Williams Lifetime trio led by Williams with Larry Young (organ) and John McLaughlin (guitar). He also currently appears as a member of the Bruce Hornsby Trio.

DeJohnette successfully incorporates elements of free jazz while maintaining the deep groove of an R&B drummer. His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers.

Selected discography

As leader

The DeJohnette Complex (1968)
Ruta and Daitya (with Keith Jarrett) (1972)
Sorcery (1974)
Pictures (1976)
New Directions (1978) with John Abercrombie, Lester Bowie and Eddie Gomez
Special Edition (1979) with Arthur Blythe and David Murray
Tin Can Alley (1980) with Chico Freeman, John Purcell and Peter Warren )
Album Album (1984) with Arthur Blythe and David Murray
In Our Style (1986) with David Murray
Audio-Visualscapes (1988)
Zebra (1989) with Lester Bowie
Parallel Realities (1990) with Pat Metheny,Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland
Dancing with Nature Spirits (1995)
Oneness (1997)
Invisible Nature (2000) with John Surman
Music in the Key of Om (2005), nominated for a 2006 Grammy as Best New Age Album
Music from the Hearts of the Masters (2005) with Foday Musa Suso
The Ripple Effect (2005) with Ben Surman and Foday Musa Suso
Hybrids (2005) with Ben Surman and Foday Musa Suso
The Elephant Sleeps but Still Remembers (2006) with Bill Frisell

As sideman

Charles Lloyd, Forest Flower
Joe Henderson, Power to the People
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
Miles Davis, Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West
Kenny Wheeler, Deer Wan and Gnu High
Keith Jarrett Trio, Standards, Vol. 1 and Standards, Vol. 2, Standards Live
Pat Metheny, Ornette Coleman, Song X
Michael Brecker, Michael Brecker
Michael Brecker, Tales from the Hudson
Michael Brecker, Pilgrimage
Lyle Mays, "Fictionary"
John Scofield, "Time on my hand"
Trio with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland
Gateway (1975)
Gateway 2 (1977)
Homecoming (1994)
In The Moment (1994)


Classical piano graduate. After his collaboration with Charles Lloyd Quartet in mid-sixties he's been engaged by Miles Davis to replace Tony Williams in Miles' band. He is one of three drummers playing on Miles' 'Bitches Brew'. Stays with Miles for 3 years and then leaves to make his own band. Since then his musical career is partitioned into work as a sideman (fitting into any kind of band) and as a leader of his own groups. First of them is called Compost when Jack is recording for Columbia and then for Prestige. When Jack moves to ECM and Directions group is established, the next one is New Directions with Lester Bowie and at last Special Edition founded in 1979. Special Edition band lasts to nowadays despite the changes of musicians and music styles. Also the music changes itself - from acoustic sound in early days (with David Murray, John Purcell, Chico Freeman and others) to electric stuff in 80' and nowadays (with Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, Lonnie Plaxico and others). 

In early '70s works as instant drummer for CTI Records. After making recordings for Freddie Hubbard, Joe Farrell, George Benson and other musicians working for CTI moves to ECM Records where he stays for ten years. Jack's engagement with ECM Records from 1974 to 1984 seems to be the most exciting of all. This cooperation is marked with ten solo albums and many sideman recodrings (including widely known Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette trio). His last ECM record called "Album Album" becomes 'Album of the Year' in Annual Down Beat Readers' Poll for 1985). Then he moves to Impulse/MCA. His albums reach the top - "Audio-Visualscapes" ('Album of the Year' in Annual Down Beat Critics' Poll for 1989 year). Comercial success is album with Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock "Parallel Realities" (Album of the Year in Japan). For more information on honoured albums see detailed list of below. 
Last three but one CDs are available from Blue Note records (last project for Blue Note titled "Extra Special Edition" features guest vocalist Bobby McFerrin.)


Due to Jack's extremely busy schedule he does not offer Drum lessons. He does however have training books and Videos/DVDs available. Please visit for more information. 

Statement from Jack: 

Since I dont get a chance to respond personally to all the comments I have received from everyone on myspace, I would like to say thank you now to all who have taken the time to send me their comments and thoughts, I am truly touched by some of the messages and support I have received from you. I am having such a great time, having my own label, involved in some amazing projects and feeling truly blessed to be playing with some of the great artists that I get to play with. The one message I would like to pass on is, that during these difficult times, I feel more than ever that it is important to keep spreading creativity and inspiration wherever it is possible, and contribute to positive change no matter who you are... we do make a difference. 


Jack DeJohnette is widely regarded as one of jazz music's greatest drummers, recently praised by The New York Times' Ben Ratliff as looking "ever more like one of the most important musicians in the last 40 years of jazz". In his early years on the Chicago scene, he led his own groups and was equally in demand as a pianist and as a drummer, collaborating with most major figures in jazz history, most notably John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and Betty Carter. An expert at a number of instruments, DeJohnette is also skilled at nearly every musical style, from R&B to rock, various world music, reggae, bebop and free improvisation. He is also no stranger to leading bands of his own, last year alone saw the debut of two new projects; The Jack DeJohnette Quartet (featuring Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Jerome Harris) and The Latin Project (featuring Don Byron, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jerome Harris, Edsel Gomez and Luisito Quintero). In addition to his own recordings, he can be heard on such diverse projects as "The Out of Towners" with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock to as Alice Coltrane "Translinear Light" to Meshell Ndegeocello's, "Dance of the Infidels". 

On April 26, 2005, DeJohnette launched his new imprint, Golden Beams Productions with the simultaneous release of two singular projects: a stunning duet with the revered Gambian Kora player Foday Musa Suso called "Music from the Hearts of the Masters"; and a sublime recording for relaxation and meditation entitled "Music in the Key of Om". 

Since then, Golden Beams has released a remix album "Hybrids", by The Ripple Effect, DeJohnette's latest collaborative project featuring Foday Musa Suso, Marlui Miranda, the most acclaimed and recognized performer and researcher of Brazilian Indian music, multi-instrumentalist and composer John Surman, producer/engineer and guitarist Big Al, and mix master Ben Surman, who produced the album with DeJohnette. Hybrids blends shades of African jazz, reggae and dance music to launch jazz into the 21st century.  

DeJohnette is up for a 2006 GRAMMY for Best New Age Album this will not come as a surprise to followers of his music, for he often looks outside the borders of jazz when selecting a collaborator, composing a piece or beginning a recording. In fact, readers of both DownBeat magazine and JazzTimes magazine voted DeJohnette Drummer of the Year and Best Drums, respectively, in the recent end-of-the-year Readers Poll. Jazz fans of DeJohnette will have something to look forward to on February 7, 2006 next up on Golden Beams is "The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers", a duo album with guitar great Bill Frisell, recorded live at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, WA.


Jack DeJohnette began his musical training in classical piano, which he studied seriously for 10 years. After picking up the drums in high school, Jack graduated from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and worked in various music genres in his hometown before moving to New York City in 1966. During his early Chicago years, DeJohnette played everything from R&B to free jazz.

After moving to New York in 1966, Jack played with John Patton, Jackie McLean, Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln. From 1966-9, he achieved his first national exposure with Charles Lloyd's quartet (which included Keith Jarrett and Ron McClure), one which toured the United States, Europe, the Far East, and was the first modern jazz band to play in Russia.

While in NY, Jack also gigged with John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Stan Getz. In August 1969, DeJohnette replaced Tony Williams as a member of the Miles Davis combo, playing on the Bitches Brew sessions.

In late 1970, Jack began recording with his own groups for Milestone, ECM, Impulse! and Blue Note labels, in addition to continuing his sideman efforts in a wide range of situations. 

One of his primary roles over the last decade has been as one-third of Jarrett's Standards Trio with Gary Peacock. His New Directions and Special Edition groups have included such sidemen as Lester Bowie, Arthur Blythe, David Murray, Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, John Abercrombie and Michael Cain.

Besides his work in the drumming world, Jack has also performed with Bobby McFerrin and Lyle Mays as part of a trio called Voicestra, devoted completely to the experimentation of vocal instrumentation.

An expert at a number of instruments, DeJohnette is also skilled at nearly every musical style, from R&B to rock, various world music, reggae, bebop and free improvisation.


Biography by Chris Kelsey

At his best, Jack DeJohnette is one of the most consistently inventive jazz percussionists extant. DeJohnette's style is wide-ranging, yet while capable of playing convincingly in any modern idiom, he always maintains a well-defined voice. DeJohnette has a remarkably fluid relationship to pulse. His time is excellent; even as he pushes, pulls, and generally obscures the beat beyond recognition, a powerful sense of swing is ever-present. His tonal palette is huge as well; no drummer pays closer attention to the sounds that come out of his kit than DeJohnette. He possesses a comprehensive musicality rare among jazz drummers.

That's perhaps explained by the fact that, before he played the drums, DeJohnette was a pianist. From the age of four, he studied classical piano. As a teenager he became interested in blues, popular music, and jazz; Ahmad Jamal was an early influence. In his late teens, DeJohnette began playing drums, which soon became his primary instrument. In the early '60s occurred the most significant event of his young professional life -- an opportunity to play with John Coltrane. In the mid-'60s, DeJohnette became involved with the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He moved to New York in 1966, where he played again with Coltrane, and also with Jackie McLean. His big break came as a member of the very popular Charles Lloyd Quartet from 1966-1968. The drummer's first record as a leader was 1968's The DeJohnette Complex. In 1969, DeJohnette replaced Tony Williams in Miles Davis' band; later that year, he played on the trumpeter's seminal jazz-rock recording Bitches Brew. DeJohnette left Davis in 1972 and began working more frequently as a leader. In the '70s and '80s, DeJohnette became something like a house drummer for ECM, recording both as leader and sideman with such label mainstays as Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, and Pat Metheny. 

DeJohnette's first band was Compost; his later, more successful bands were Directions and Special Edition. The eclectic, avant-fusion Directions was originally comprised of the bassist Mike Richmond, guitarist John Abercrombie, and saxophonist Alex Foster. In a subsequent incarnation -- called, appropriately, New Directions -- bassist Eddie Gomez replaced Richmond and trumpeter Lester Bowie replaced Foster. From the mid-'70s, Directions recorded several albums in its twin guises for ECM. Beginning in 1979, DeJohnette also led Special Edition, a more straightforwardly swinging unit that featured saxophonists David Murray and Arthur Blythe. For a time, both groups existed simultaneously; Special Edition would eventually become the drummer's performance medium of choice. The band began life as an acoustic free jazz ensemble, featuring the drummer's esoteric takes on the mainstream. It evolved into something quite different, as DeJohnette's conception changed into something considerably more commercial; with the addition of electric guitars and keyboards, DeJohnette began playing what is essentially a very loud, backbeat-oriented -- though sophisticated -- instrumental pop music. 

To be fair, DeJohnette's fusion efforts are miles ahead of most others'. His abilities as a groove-centered drummer are considerable, but one misses the subtle colorations of his acoustic work. That side of DeJohnette is shown to good effect in his work with Keith Jarrett's Standards trio, and in his occasional meetings with Abercrombie and Dave Holland in the Gateway trio. DeJohnette remains a vital artist and continues to release albums such as Peace Time on Kindred Rhythm in 2007.

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