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Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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Suffolk marqueephoto by Caryn Feder

On Friday, June 27, 2014 the historic Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, Long Island, New York hosted The Jazz Summit.  Headliners for the evening included vibraphonist Jason "Malletman" Taylor, timbalero Tito Puente, Jr., and drumset legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. Other musicians included sax player Jerry Weldon, pianist Alan Gerber, bassist David Jones, and Sean J. Kennedy on drumset and percussion.

Here are some highlights from my evening:

The night started with Bernard Purdie and myself taking turns playing drumset with the full band on a variety of jazz standards led by Jason “Malletman” Taylor, Lionel Hampton's protégé. Playing with the band was fun, but standing backstage and watching the master at work on the drum kit playing his patented brand of funk and shuffles was a drumset player’s dream come true.

The highlight of the first set for me was playing cowbell on "Oye Como Va" with Tito Puente, Jr. on vocals and timbale. Halfway through the song though, Tito gave me his timbale sticks and invited me to play timbale. Playing "Oye Como Va" with Tito Puente, Jr. was very, very cool, but being asked to play timbales on his father’s iconic tune was a real honor. Gracias Tito!

The second half of the concert began as a showcase for Bernard to play some of the hits that he had recorded and performed with Aretha Franklin and other notable performers.

The grand finale was a real rhythmic tour-de-force; everyone was on stage.

During the last three tunes I shared drumset duties with Bernard.  Through-out the extended jam we played some 16th note funk grooves, rock grooves and yes, a shuffle. I have listened to Bernard for decades and had seen him play live quite a few times, but to be on stage playing drumset with him is a whole other level. A few times during the jam we were both grooving and he looked over at me and smiled a few times; that has to be one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received while playing drums. Thanks for your graciousness Bernard, and for the continued inspiration that you give me and countless drumset players worldwide!

It was a really memorable night full of groove and camaraderie. Thanks inviting me to play Malletman!