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John Riley

Drummer, educator and author, John Riley, gave a wonderful drum clinic at 5pm Thursday, November 10th, during the 2011 the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).

In his clinic, entitled The Art of Improvisation, John discussed and demonstrated how to "tell a story" when playing a solo on the drums. He started by essentially showing what not to do, then proceeded to show how to take a sound, idea, motif and/or rhythmic figure and use that as the basis for the structure of the drum solo.

To close out his drumset clinic, John played an improvised 2-minute drum solo based on the melody and form of the Sonny Rollins classic composition, "Tenor Madness," a jazz standard and title cut from Sonny Rollins' 1956 album release featuring Red Garland, Paul Chambers, "Philly" Joe Jones, and John Coltrane. If you don't own the album (and you should), HERE you can listen to the original recording of "Tenor Madness," making note of the melody and form of the tune, then watch/hear John Riley's drum solo, listening for the motifs he uses to develop and communicate his musical story.



Critically acclaimed performer, author and teacher, John Riley has worked with the world's leading jazz musicians for over 30 years. A three time Grammy award winner and 13 time nominee, John has played on hundreds of recordings and at major venues with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Woody Herman, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and many others. 

John is the author of The Art of Bop Drumming, currently published in five languages, Beyond Bop Drumming, The Jazz Drummer's Workshop and the DVD, The Master Drummer. 

John has a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas, 1975, and an M.M. in Jazz Studies from the Manhattan School of Music, 1985. He is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase, an Artist in Residence at the Amsterdam Conservatory in Holland, and has given masterclasses around the world.