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Ted Sirota

Ted Sirota was born May 3, 1969 in Champaign, IL and grew up in South Suburban Chicago, in Flossmoor, IL. Ted began playing drums and percussion in 1980 at the age of 10. By age 15, after hearing the great Max Roach perform at The Jazz Showcase, Sirota decided (against all warnings!) to pursue a career in music. In high school Ted developed a love for both Reggae music and Jazz, and was inspired to play his instrument by drummers like Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Sly Dunbar, Carlton Barrett, and Style Scott.

After graduating from High School, Sirota left Chicago for Boston to attend Berklee College of Music in the fall of 1987. Shortly after arriving in Boston, Sirota began studying with the legendary Jazz drummer/teacher Alan Dawson at his home in Lexington, MA. Dawson’s methods and guidance had a profound and lasting impact on Sirota’s drumming style. Ted’s tenure at Berklee was a crucial period in his development as a young musician.

Along with studying with Dawson, Ted studied with Boston drumming legend Joe Hunt at Berklee. Hunt’s unique musical conception and teaching style, combined with Dawson’s emphasis on technique and musicality, helped to form a musical road map for Ted’s studies and development.

This was a fertile time for musicians at Berklee, and Ted absorbed as much as possible by playing with and learning from his peers and teachers. Ted met guitarist Jeff Parker in early 1988, and the two formed an enduring musical friendship that continues to this day. Sirota jammed frequently with other students/friends such as Lalah Hathaway, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, Dwayne Burno, Antonio Hart, Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Geoff Keezer, Chris Cheek, Jorge Rossy, Joshua Redman, and many others.

Sirota began his professional career during this period playing occasional jazz gigs, but mostly working in local Blues and Reggae bands. Eventually, Sirota became a founding member of the Last Kwartet - a jazz collective with Jeff Parker on guitar, Chris Lopes on bass, and Sara P. Smith on trombone. Sirota graduated from Berklee in May of 1991 and continued to gig throughout New England before relocating back to Chicago, along with bassist Chris Lopes, in the fall of 1992.

In Chicago, Sirota and Lopes reunited with Parker and Smith to reform the Last Kwartet. The band performed regularly at clubs like the Hot House, the Bop Shop, the Get Me High Lounge, and the Deja Vu, and received critical acclaim from the local press. However, the group never released a recording and disbanded in 1994.

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"Sirota is one of the most highly regarded youngish drummers in Chicago, a crisp and lively player with a keen sense of dynamics." —John Corbett, The Reader
Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


  • Ted is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts/Music Performance.

  • Ted is a well-respected drummer with 20 years of professional playing experience

  • Ted's experience with his own children has made him especially patient and understanding with other children... and adults!

  • Ted is well versed in many styles of music, having worked professionally in the following idioms: Rock, Jazz, Blues, Hip-Hop, R&B, Funk, House, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Brazilian, Salsa, Country, and more.  Ted also has vast experience with studio session and musical theater work, as well as drum programming and music production.

  • Ted knows what it takes to be a successful drummer and is effective in passing this knowledge to others in a fun and enlightening manner.


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Heavyweight Dub

Liberated Zone Records


Seize the Time

Naim Label


Seize The Time

Naim Label


Breeding Resistance

Delmark Records



Naim Label


Killa Dilla

From: Seize The Time
By Ted Sirota


From: Seize The Time
By Ted Sirota


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