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John Betsch

About Me

I was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1945 and presently live in Paris. My mother was a church organist and pianist and my sister a dramatic soprano singer. I began playing drums at age nine and started playing professionally at 18 while a student at Fisk University. I continued my studies at the Berklee School of Music and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst under Max Roach and Archie Shepp; I also taught at U. Mass. and in state prison education programs. Moving to New York City in '75, I played drums with the Ted Daniel big band, Jeanne Lee, Abbey Lincoln, Dewey Redman, and others. I've toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Africa, notably with Max Roach (Newport, '74), Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre ('76), Abdullah Ibrahim and Dewey Redman ('79), and Steve Lacy (for many years, up until Mr. Lacy's recent passing). A partial discography of my recordings includes more than 3O with Billy Bang, the John Betsch Society, Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), Marilyn Crispell, Steve Lacy, Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre, Jim Pepper, Archie Shepp, Henry Threadgill, Mal Waldron, and others, on labels including Chiaroscuro, Enja, RCA Novus, Sackville, Soul Note, Strata East, and Verve.