Drummer Chris DeRosa

Greetings, MD bloggers! My name is Chris DeRosa, and at the invitation of Modern Drummer, I wanted to say hello.

I’ve been playing drums for a living since I was fifteen. I love drumming and have since I was about eleven years old. I remember being mesmerized by the ECM sounds coming out of my radio tuned into WPKN from Bridgeport, Connecticut. I knew at that young age that I would be a career musician.

The path music has taken me on has been a wonderful one. I could always depend upon music to carry me through the best and the worst of times. The places I’ve been and the people I’ve met have been made possible by this choice I made at such a young age. I started out playing in rock bands, but after studying more and more I developed a love for jazz and other improvisational music. Today I’m very blessed to play in a very wide range of musical situations.

For the past ten years I have been working a lot in the very fun and creative world of modern dance. I think over those ten years I’ve worked with or accompanied most of the big names in that world. I remember getting a frantic call from Ron Peri (owner of Peridance), begging me to drop everything to come and play for Donald Byrd because he had already thrown out (dismissed) two drummers that week! (Drummers like Max Roach and Mino Cinelu have worked with Donald Byrd).

Playing for dance and doing it well isn’t easy. It takes part mind-reading, part body-movement interpretation, part improvisation skills, and a very large rhythmic/ethnic vocabulary to kick a class or company of dancers! I think you get the idea of how unique and special working with dancers can be.

I’ve had the good fortune to write/compose and perform live for dance, as well as with many very talented singer-songwriters and producers. Working in dance has helped me to develop a unique sound (as mentioned in MD‘s April 2007 Kit Of The Month column) and style. Drumming for dancers is the only gig (besides busking) that I know of that we drummers can do alone. This independence is rare and important.

Currently I’m also working with Airosol (www.airosol.net/), who I’ve had the pleasure of performing and writing for, on and off, over the past eight years. Another group I’m involved with is The Deepdown (www.myspace.com/thedeepdownnyc). They’re a really great blend of rock/reggae and Latin styles. Playing with The Deepdown gives me a chance to use the tricks in my bag, so to speak. We’re currently in the studio working on tunes for an Italian publishing company for use in movies and commercials.

One other group that is special to me is The Ultimate Symphony Band. I played a lot of reggae and soca when I was studying in Miami, and I really felt a certain simpatico with Caribbean music in general. I was thinking about how much I missed it and started praying for a door to open up; shortly after that I received a call from the manager of this twelve-piece Gospel reggae band.

If you’re interested in hearing some of my playing or learning more about me, go to www.chrisderosa.com. I couldn’t leave you without thanking all the good folks at Vic Firth drumsticks, Evans drumheads, Sabian cymbals, Brady snare drums, Rhythm Tech, and Grover Pro Percussion for all their support.