Drumming Professionally With Herlin Riley

Herlin Riley has made a very successful career in music as a drummer. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Herlin Riley has brought everything to the table, drumming with famed jazz bandleaders like Wynton Marsalis and Ahmad Jamal. Herlin was born and raised drumming in New Orleans, playing drums in the church and picking up other hand percussion instruments like the tambourine, the woodblock, and the cowbell. Herlin’s also been fortunate to be encouraged to used all these different percussion techniques in the groups he plays with, and has even shared some of his techniques with all of us. I collected a few videos that not only highlight how great of a drummer Herlin is, but also some of the techniques he uses in his varied drumming styles. I hope you dig all the videos as much as I did!

One of the most famous drumming styles to come out of New Orleans is the second line beat. While many drummers incorporate it into more advanced funk and groove techniques, Herlin Riley demonstrates the more traditional second line groove in this first video. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBvtWqpvo9Q.

Herlin was the drummer for Wynton Marsalis’ group Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra for many years. Enjoy this live cut from the group featuring Herlin Riley on the drums at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH1_-9HvtK4.

In the Southern Baptist church, the tambourine was used in ways like no other music around the world. Herlin picked up some of these tambourine techniques and shared them in this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib9lUmgCyFU.

Lastly, one of the other steady gigs Herlin’s been able to secure is with famed jazz pianist and bandleader, Ahmad Jamal. Check out this great live track at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dS2fRAmjFE. Keep in mind that Ahmad is about 80 years old in this performance; he’s still got it.

I hope you enjoyed checking out some of these videos from jazz drummer extraordinaire Herlin Riley. There’s more coming your way at Play Drums By Ear, so stay tuned.



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