Karl Latham

Karl Latham

Musicians | Instrument: Drums | Location: New York City

Karl Latham is an inventive powerhouse whose influences are many but whose ideas are his own.
—Jeff Tamarkin Allmusic.com

Updated: November 5, 2022

Born: June 9, 1961

Karl Latham was born into a musical family in Trenton, New Jersey. Karl's mother for a short period, was a local radio singer (briefly managed by the great Ernie Kovacs). Karl's first drumming influence was his brother Rich (not Rick Latham) who was a drummer in his teens. Rich generously allowed his much younger brother to play on his first Slingerland kit.

Karl's family moved to to rural Northwest New Jersey, After seeing his first live concert "Chicago" in Asbury Park, NJ; Karl became serious about drumming in middle school, taking his first private lessons with a local drummer. That drummer immediately referred Karl to the expert teacher in Northwest New Jersey Vincent "Muzzy" Mizzoni in Denville, NJ. It was there Karl met a young Vic Juris was teaching guitar lessons.

Karl studied with "Muzzy" for 3 years, under Muzzy's tutelage he took 1st Place in the Countywide, Area, Region I and placed in the New Jersey All-State Band/Wind Ensembles and Orchestras, as both a classical snare drummer and tympanist.

Karl went on to study with Joe Cusatis his senior year in high school at the Modern Drum Shop in New York, his first experience with "big city" drummers.

Karl was very influenced by all the music his brother's band played locally: Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Johnny and Edgar Winter (his brother opened for them), but it was a NYC radio station WRVR that he could barely receive that became his main influence.  WRVR played an eclectic list of jazz, latin, latin jazz, fusion, and funk jazz.  An equal treatment and respect for all forms of music was developed from the amazing repertoire WRVR played with equanimity.  

Karl became a huge fan of Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra and CTI Records), Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Narada, Rick Marotta, Jeff Porcaro, Jack DeJohnette, Gerry Brown, Ndugu, Alphonse Mouzon, Jon Christensen, Ed Blackwell and Steve Jordan.

Once Karl discovered ECM Records, this opened a whole pantheon of new music, which is still influencing Karl's playing. 

Deciding to stay in the New York area, Karl attended Rutgers University to explore both jazz and classical music. Karl studied with the great Freddie Waits, but  was primarily a tympanist at this time.  Even though Karl was very passionate about classical music, he choose to leave Rutgers and attend Berklee College of Music. 

Karl thrived at Berklee College of Music (by his second semester he was the highest "rated" drummer in his class), playing in 7 different ensembles. Karl studied with Joe Hunt and privately Gary Chaffee. Karl made life long friendships with Jeff Watts, John March,  Barry Danielian, Jody Espina, Rick Beligni and dozens of other folks. Berklee is as it was a boiling pot of amazing talents exploring every possibility of music.

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"Karl Latham is an inventive powerhouse whose influences are many but whose ideas are his own." Jeff Tamarkin Allmusic.com "Latham is an unshakable catalyst." Owen Cordie JazzTimes "Karl Latham is the only one I never caught live, but now I know that I need to do it urgently. Listening to him on "Unit 1" gave me the same goosebumps I felt when I first heard Chris Dave with Bob Hurst a couple of years ago, and Steve Gadd with Joe Farrell four decades ago." Arnaldo DeSouteiro JazzStation Paul Sakion JazzImprov NY Magazine “Karl Latham is well known for his interest in and talent for many styles of music

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Adjunct Instructor Drew University 2016 - present Passaic County Community College 2001-present County College of Morris 2004-present Private Instructor 1984-present Workshops and clinics U.S and Europe Artist/Clinician Yamaha Drums/Paiste Cymbals/Innovative Percussion



All About Jazz user Karl Latham All About Jazz user Michael Ricci


From: Constellations
By Karl Latham

Higher Ground

From: Resonance
By Karl Latham