By Taroue Brooks
How did you begin playing the drums?
I grew up in the very musical and cultural city of New Orleans. My grandfather played drums and my father plays also. My father started to teach me how to play when I was three years old.
When did you realize that you had what it took be perform professionally?
I was always confident about my playing but really developed quickly because of opportunities to perform at nightclubs while I was in high school. I went to an amazing creative arts school where I performed and practiced daily which helped me to be prepared for my first tour at age 17.
What inspired you to become the Artistic Director with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra?
My affiliation with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra started 17 years ago when I joined as the orchestra’s drummer. That naturally lead to me being part of the artistic vision and understanding the mission of the organization which are very important for an artistic director to execute. The members of the orchestra and the community give me constant inspiration to be the best that I can be.
What makes your style of playing so unique?
Being born and raised in New Orleans makes my playing unique because of our music and culture, similar to the ways Cuban musicians are unique. I am a very versatile drummer that understands harmony and form but most importantly I’m a great listener.
What can we expect to hear from the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra?
We have a monthly concert series at our performance space the New Orleans Jazz Market. We also tour and will be at Jazz at Lincoln Center in December and touring Canada in February 2020. We are also working on a new recording project that will be released fall 2020.
Tell us about the Funkytown Film and Music Festival.
Funkytown Music and Film Festival is a multicultural, multidisciplinary arts festival featuring local, regional and international touring acts with a film component. The name Funkytown is a nickname for the city of Fort Worth. The festival is being planned for fall 2020.
What artist do you desire to perform with and why?
That’s an interesting question. I really have the desire to produce projects with artists more than perform with them.