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Take Five With Jeremy Noller

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Jeremy Noller: As a jazz drummer and world percussionist, Jeremy Noller represents both sides of a rare musical coin. Since his arrival in New York City in 2003, Jeremy has taken full advantage of the city's diverse music scene, performing with many of the finest jazz musicians, contemporary percussionists, and West African drummers. For his debut album, Music Notes, Jeremy has brought together artists from these different musical realms to perform his original compositions and arrangements, which combine contemporary jazz and traditional West African rhythms. The result is an expression of Jeremy's unique musical journey that reaches across boundaries to audiences of all walks of life.

Instrument(s):

Drum set, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: John Riley was the greatest drum teacher I ever had. I also learned a great deal from saxophonist Bunky Green and pianist Kevin Bales, while at the University of North Florida.

Influences: My top three: Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, and Brian Blade.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I remember hearing the local high school jazz band when I was in elementary school. I was in absolute awe of the drums from the moment I felt the rhythm.

Your sound and approach to music: My current group is really focused on exploring West African rhythms, and I am really trying to wrap my head around that sensibility. As far as a general approach, I try to think of my role as a drummer as an orchestrator, guiding the journey of each song in the moment.

Your teaching approach: Technique and transcription. Transcription works so many musical muscles at the same time. It offers up new technical challenges and heightens your musicianship. I try to get my students transcribing as soon as I can.

Your dream band:

Wayne Shorter's current quartet, though, I don't think I'd want to replace Brian Blade. I just want to stand on stage and be amidst the magic.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: Touring the great state of Wyoming with Dr. Eddie Henderson, Brian VanArsdale, and Dan Loomis. Eddie is the best is all regards, an amazing person and musician. He really pushed us to play at our best without saying a word, though flying around Wyoming in a small prop plane in a snow storm was terrifying.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I've had several great experiences as a sideman, but there is no better feeling than putting our an album of your own. It really captured who I am as a musician more than any other recording I have done.

The first Jazz album I bought was: John Coltrane A Love Supreme—it blew my mind, though I didn't really understand what was going on. I picked up Coltrane's Sound soon after, and spent some time with that before I started unlocking the mystery.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I am just trying to represent myself and my musical journey, and I try to write tunes that allow the other guys in the band to do the same.

What is in the near future? I am really focused on promoting my new record. So, many gigs and a Midwest tour are in the works.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Jeremy Noller

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