Drummers / Percussionists
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BIOGRAPHY

Gary Chester

Gary Chester, born Cesario Gurciullo on October 27, 1924 in Siracusa, Italy, was an Italian-American session drummer, best known for being one of the busiest studio/session drummers of the 20th century.

Gary Chester's drumming appears on thousands of recorded tracks, including hundreds of hit records from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Having logged over 15,000 studio sessions over a three decade period, Chester is on the short list of 20th Century Drummers' Hall of Fame.

The stature of studio prominence that Hal Blaine held in the west coast recording scene, Gary Chester equally held on the east coast.

Known for creativity and musical prowess, Gary Chester had the ability to go with the flow and adapt to all of the changes that were occuring in popular music throughout his lifetime. Chester was well-versed in all styles of music, including rhythm and blues, doo-wop, folk rock, rockabilly, and pop.


As an educator, Gary was a well respected teacher, with students such as Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl, all praising his expertise and teaching techniques. Gary focused on helping his students develop skills like creativity, improvisation, four-limb independence and ambidexterity, cross-dominance, playing solid time, alignment of limbs, and making an independent contribution to the song while playing for the song ... rather than showing-off and blowing chops.

Gary Chester's book, The New Breed: Systems for the Development of Your Own Creativity, is based on a core concept of 5-way (four limbs plus vocalization) independence and is one of the top drum method books of all time.

Gary Chester died on August 17, 1987.


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