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Todd Isler

Drummer and percussionist Todd Isler began his career on pots and pans in Mark and Marilyn’s kitchen at the age of 5 and soon graduated to the basement, where the formal study of drums began. He was fortunate to have grown up in Cleveland, where there was a rich and eclectic music scene. His early studies were with Don Friedman in Cleveland and Lenny Nelson at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He later returned to Cleveland to play on the local Jazz circuit and study with South Indian Mridangam master Ramnod V. Raghavan at C.S.U. The inevitable move to New York City happened in 1985 and he’s been threatening to leave ever since. Todd’s studies continued there with the Brazilian greats Portinho and Vanderlei Pereira as well as the great Jazz drummer Adam Nussbaum. In 1996 he spent three months in Madras, India studying with master drummer Karaikudi R. Mani. Upon his return he released his first recording as a leader, Two Step, Duets and Beyond.” 2007 saw the publication of his book, “You Can Ta Ka Di Mi This”, a rhythm workbook for musicians. He released “Soul Drums”, his second cd as a leader in July of 2007. It is currently being reviewed by many top music publications. Mr. Isler has also written several modern dance scores and has performed with the D.C., Austin, and Sacramento ballets. Over the years Todd has been involved in Jazz and World music. In ’97 his collaboration with Danon O’Sow of the Ivory Coast won the Disc Makers New York’s Heavy Hitters contest. That same year he was a winner of the Jazziz Magazine Percussion on Fire contest playing an instrument close to his heart: the Hadgini drum, a double-headed ceramic udu drum developed by Jamey Haddad and Frank Giorgini.

Todd has performed with many great musicians including Dave Liebman, Bakithi Kumalo, Mino Cinelo, Melvin Sparks, and Mark Murphy, to name a few. He has appeared on hundreds of recordings using his unique feel on Hadgini, Kanjira, frame drums and drum set. Todd was also part of a Goethe Institute-sponsored tour of the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya with the great mallet man Stefan Bauer. Mr. Isler has conducted master classes at NYU, San Francisco State, and The Collective in NYC. To check up on him, go to www.toddisler.com. Todd continues to teach and perform with his own “Todd Squad” and many other groups in New York City and the world.

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Performance / Tour

Jenny Hill and Todd Isler Perform at Nighttown, Cleveland, Ohio

Jenny Hill and Todd Isler Perform at Nighttown, Cleveland, Ohio

Source: All About Jazz



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced


Bangalore Breakdown

Vegas Records



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