Home » Musicians » John Riley

John Riley

John Bernard Riley is an American jazz drummer and educator. He has performed with Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano, Franck Amsallem, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, John Patitucci, and Bob Berg.

Riley began playing drums at age eight, after receiving a snare drum as a gift. In the biographies provided to the media, Riley acknowledges the early support of his parents, John and Mary Ann. While attending fourth grade in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Riley began studying percussion privately with Thomas Sicola, Jr. (b. Mar. 1944), who, at that time, was a recent graduate of the New York College of Music (bachelor of music) and a music teacher in the nearby Cranford Township Public Schools.

While studying with Sicola, Riley gained control of the snare drum through work on the rudiments (”beats of the day”), reading, and coordination — both in the classical and jazz idioms. Sicola trained John on a variety of traditional percussion instruments, including xylophone, timpani, and drum kit. At age twelve, Riley began playing in rock bands and heard his first jazz recordings: (i) the soundtrack to The Gene Krupa Story and (ii) Max Roach's Conversation. Two years later, he played his first professional gig, which he obtained through an audition played over the telephone. Riley began studying with Joe Morello in 1971 after meeting him at a drum symposium.

Read more

Tags

Album Review
Interview
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Light In The World

In And Out Records
2020

buy

Quake

Sunnyside Records
2009

buy

Sound Check - Jack...

Jazzed Media
2009

buy

Fast Track - Jack...

Jazzed Media
2006

buy

Thought Trains

Sons of Sound
2004

buy

Shop Amazon

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.