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Charlie Harrington

Charlie Harrington is a multitalented drummer whose artistic ability is seemingly limitless. As a bandleader and as a sideman he pushes the boundaries of swing and groove and has garnered critical acclaim for his ability to inspire and entertain. He's known for sophisticated rhythms, distinctive accompaniment, and powerful solos. "...his inimitable antagonistic percussive prodding, coupled with a dazzling display of virtuosic improvisational madness, was breathtaking," writes the San Mateo Daily News.

“A drummer can be one of three things: a technician, an entertainer, or a musician. I strive to always be all three,” says Charlie. “A technician can dazzle you with their prowess but it is often misplaced and not applied musically. An entertainer is someone that visually holds your attention with their passion and conviction while performing. A musician knows how to apply the first two qualities tastefully and play for the group and not themselves.”

Charlie is a seasoned veteran when it comes to performing. A child prodigy, he has played drums since the age of 5 and performed professionally since the age of 15. He studied with and became the protégé of jazz drumming legend Ray Bauduc Charlie went on to study with classical percussionist Tim Tull.

In addition to leading his own band he has shared the stage with such luminaries as Woody Herman, Freddie Green, Stan Mark, Kirk Whalum, Larry Coryell, Read more

" data-original-title="" title="">Kurt Elling, John Scofield, Benny Golson, Barbra Streisand, Dave Brubeck, Richie Cole, Tony Bennett, Ira Sullivan, Carly Simon, Ari Brown, Junko Onishi, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. His blues playing credits include sharing the stage with Joe "Guitar" Hughes and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

On his own, he leads a dynamic 10-piece ensemble ”Charlie Harrington and the Jazz Express™” combining the sound and force of a big band with the intimacy and interplay of a small group. The result is a group dedicated to performing unique music ranging from straight-ahead to classic to mainstream to swing, all with jaw-dropping musicianship. "The world doesn't need another good band, it needs something unforgettable, spectacular, and amazing that brings a new audience to this incredible art form," says Charlie. The ensemble has earned a reputation of showcasing accomplished, dedicated musicians. The group has thrilled and entertained appreciative audiences across the U.S. as well as internationally. They draw crowds whenever they perform with their unique style and signature sound.

In addition to his time studying with jazz drumming legend Ray Bauduc, he has taken master classes with Ed Soph, Louie Bellson, Jack DeJohnette, Donny Osborne, Johnny Rabb, Clayton Cameron, Butch Miles, Steve Smith, Joe Morello, Jeff Hamilton, Bill Stewart, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, Jeff Tain Watts, Peter Erskine, and Ed Shaughnessy. His drumming influences include Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Ed Shaughnessy, Joe Morello, and Peter Erskine.

Charlie Harrington continues to build a body of work that makes him one of the finest drummers of this or any generation.


Charlie Harrington exclusively plays Vater sticks, mallets, beaters, and brushes. He endorses Allegra Drums, Remo Drum Heads, Sabian Cymbals, Beato Bags, Power Wrist Builders, ProLogix Percussion, DrumDial Precision Drum Tuner, Audix Microphones, and Westone in-ear musicians' monitors and custom fit musician earplugs.

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"Great chops...a real swinging drummer." Louie Bellson

"He's the real deal..." Ray Bauduc

"Swing!..." Freddie Green

"Reminds me of a young Davey Tough..." Woody Herman

"Great sense of rhythm and phrasing..." Ed Shaughnessy

"A jazz master and a real treasure who should not be missed." Time Out New York

"...based out of Chicago he's worth seeing whenever he ventures to town. Be ready to experience brilliance and artistry on a level not often heard these days." Brooklyn Free Press

"If avante-garde or experimental jazz is what you seek he's not what you're looking for

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Charlie continues to impart his knowledge to drummers everywhere. He is a member of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), and the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD). Charlie is also a member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN).

In addition to his time studying with jazz drumming legend Ray Bauduc, he has taken master classes with Ed Soph, Louie Bellson, Jack DeJohnette, Donny Osborne, Johnny Rabb, Clayton Cameron, Butch Miles, Steve Smith, Joe Morello, Jeff Hamilton, Bill Stewart, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Peter Erskine, and Ed Shaughnessy. His lessons are guaranteed to accompany a healthy dose of wisdom as passed on to him by these giants of the drumming world. (Note, minimum age is 18).

Private lessons, clinics, and master classes are available by appointment only. Charlie teaches well-established and contemporary drumming techniques. His many years as an educator allows him to communicate and teach students effectively on a variety of subjects, while his professional experiences as a first call studio and touring musician provides insight to the music business. An abbreviated list of subjects covered:

• Technique
• Rudiments
• Stylistic Interpretation
• Style, Groove, and Feel
• Genres and History
• Kicks, Fills, and Set-Ups
• Improvisation
• Building/Resolving Tension
• Stage Presence
• Independence (Interdependence)
• Soloing
• Finger Control
• Wrist Control
• Bass Drum Control
• Expanding Your Vocabulary
• Personal, Artistic, and Professional Goals
• Business and Career Options

Charlie accepts a limited number of select motivated, serious intermediate and advanced private students in the Chicago area.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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