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David Whitman

Trained as a well-rounded concert percussionist in concert halls, as a jazz musician in clubs and on bandstands, and as an artist under the tutelage of great teachers like Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck) and Dave King (The Bad Plus), David Whitman brings a passion and deep respect for the music to the stage wherever and whenever he performs. Praised for his versatility, he possesses a high level of skill across a broad range of percussion styles and ensemble situations. Critics provide affirmation ; “His spirit echoes the playing of Art Blakey,” and “his goal of capturing the high standards of … prestigious jazz labels is dazzlingly achieved,” with playing that is hailed as “swinging,” “mesmerizing,” and “invigorating,” with “mesmerizing brushwork,” “youthful exuberance,” and “deft technical skill.”

As a young man David earned Masters and Doctoral degrees in music, putting his high level of energy and drive to good use. David has toured, performed, or recorded with The Who, Geoffrey Keezer, Peter Townshend, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, Francisco Torres, Meridian Symphony Orchestra, San Diego City Ballet, Jesus on the Mainline, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, John Raymond, Johnny Mathis, Weird Al Yankovic, Roger Nierenburg, a host of touring Broadway shows, and so much more.

David’s first album as leader ("Oh, Clara!") was recently released on the North Park label to critical acclaim, winning an Independent Music Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album in 2018, as well as a nomination for Best Producer. His second album as leader (“Soul Flow”) won four Global Music Awards (Production, Composition, Jazz, Album --- all Silver), and three additional Independent Music Award nominations (Best Jazz Song, Best Blues Song, and Best Producer). He is an active member of the American Federation of Musicians, and recently completed a performance tour and teaching residency in Japan. He is also a member of the International Academy of Performing Arts and Sciences, an adjudicator for the European-based International ENKOR competitions, and a proud REMO Artist. David Whitman lives in Southern California with his wife, Nobuko, daughter, Clara, and son, Hugo.


Album Review

David Whitman: Ode To Joe

Read "Ode To Joe" reviewed by Jack Bowers

While West Coast drummer David Whitman's Ode to Joe [Henderson] is a rather brief one at less than thirty-three minutes, it is otherwise admirable for what is enclosed within its concise parameters. Whitman leads a well-schooled septet whose makeup is freshened by rotating tenor saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Rob Lockart and guitarists Bruce Forman and Chris Montgomery. Whitman and trumpeter Andrew Neesley share composer credits, and Neesley handles the arrangements, awakening warm memories of the Golden Age ...

Album Review

David Whitman: Ode To Joe

Read "Ode To Joe" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Dipping into this fine recording is, to mix metaphors a bit, like opening a time capsule. That capsule is called One For All (A&M, 1990), perhaps the final studio recording of Art Blakey with The Jazz Messengers. It was not a perfect outing, but it was a memorable one. The lines got into the head and stayed there, just waiting for a chance to be reawakened. Well, now is the time with Ode to Joe. A convenient link between the ...

Radio & Podcasts

Horace Silver, Javier Nero & David Whitman

Read "Horace Silver, Javier Nero & David Whitman" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We begin the 819th Episode of Neon Jazz with accomplished drummer David Whitman and music off his 2023 album Ode to Joe. The project was in honor of his mentor Joe Morello and we hear with the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet. We also hear from a number of up and coming jazz musicians like Javier Nero, Tina Raymond and Dave Meder. We also hear new music from brilliant Kansas City saxophonist Matt Otto. Finally we get a cut off the ...

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Primary Instrument



Jun 22 Sat


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Ode To Joe

Shifting Paradigm Records


Oh, Clara!

North Park


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