Jazz drummer and leader of The Verve Jazz Ensemble
Verve Jazz Ensemble leader Josh Feldstein has been a jazz drummer for more than 30 years. A native New Yorker who
grew up on the NYC jazz scene, Josh formed the VJE in 2006 as a local jazz group in the Danbury, CT area. The
straight-ahead jazz group – which paid homage to the legendary music of the famed Verve record label – soon
took off with a large local following. After many years, at the prompting of VJE fans, the band recorded its first album
in 2012, aptly titled “It’s About Time,” which hit #5 on the national JazzWeek radio charts in 2013. As an encore, in
2014, Josh guided the band through the recording of its second album, “East End Sojourn,” with famed guest
guitarist Peter Bernstein joining the studio date. The album achieved significant status with jazz radio, the VJE
reaching #8 on the national JazzWeek charts. The Verve Jazz Ensemble’s third album, “Perimeter,” was released to
significant acclaim in 2016. The VJE's 2017 album, “Swing-A-Nova,” spotlighted Josh on drums and the VJE rhythm
section, reached #6 on the national charts, and was named a Top 100 Album of 2017 by JazzWeek. Josh Feldstein was
born in Manhattan, has studied with drum legends John Riley and Joe Morello. and received his BA degree from
Queens College, City University of New York.
My Jazz Story
“One of the Verve Jazz Ensemble's goals is to find music that is fresh, with melodies we love, and blow the dust off it,” says Josh Feldstein, VJE drummer and leader. As a musician,
arranger, occasional composer, and bandleader, Feldstein, who has continued his drum studies in recent years with the great John Riley—and prior to that with the legendary Joe
Morello—believes in helping to support jazz’s diminishing U.S. audience. “Beyond the joy of playing the music, one of our goals is to make the music more widely accessible—brighter
and with melodic and rhythmic structures people can immediately connect to, whether the listener is new to jazz or an aficionado."
Born in Manhattan, Josh Feldstein was 9 when his family moved to Queens, and began studying drums privately two years later. Through junior high and his years at Bayside High
School, Josh continued his drumming while also playing alto sax. Josh attended Queens College where he got his undergraduate degree in English.
When Josh was 12, his drum teacher told him that his drumming style reminded him of Gene Krupa. “Really?!” said Josh, all excited. “Who’s Gene Krupa??” Josh immediately
immersed himself in the recordings of the legendary “Sing, Sing, Sing” soloist. That was it.
“I listened to all the Krupa I could, and from there everything I could get my ears on, from Count Basie and Ellington to Horace Silver and Blakey, from Buddy to Max Roach and
Brubeck, and everything in between. I got into hard bop, swing, and Latin," says Feldstein.
While living in Connecticut with his wife in 2005, he began sitting in at local clubs. A turning point came one day when Feldstein saw a recent West Conn jazz grad named Jon Blanck
perform. Josh was really impressed with Jon’s playing and his musicianship.
He introduced himself to the young saxophonist, and soon struck up a great friendship and musical connection. Together with Connecticut bassist Chris DeAngelis, he and Blanck
formed a trio that became the core of the Verve Jazz Ensemble—a name he chose, he said, to express his love of the music and the recording legacy put out by the storied jazz label.
“As musicians, we stand on the shoulders of the great jazz artists before us and those creating amazing music today,” says Feldstein. “We never lock ourselves into a single playing
style. The VJE is into incorporating a wide and expanding range of sounds into our band’s music, making each tune fresh. That’s what makes all of this so much fun for us as
musicians, and, we hope, for our audience.”