Tommy Aldridge

Yamaha Drums Celebrates Fiftieth Anniversary

This past September 30, Yamaha Drums celebrated its fiftieth anniversary at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. More than 400 guests attended the event, which featured an interactive exhibit of current and legacy Yamaha drumsets, including the company’s first kit, released in 1967. Attendees test-drove the gear on display as they mingled with professionals from the Yamaha artist roster, and drum designers offered a technical and historical perspective on the company’s evolution.

The hands-on presentation was followed by onstage performances by event headliners Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy), Dave Weckl (Chick Corea, solo), and Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne). The Yamaha team also honored drummers Bill Gibson (Huey Lewis and the News) and Rick Marotta (studio legend) with special appreciation awards.

Yamaha Drums marketing manager Steven Fisher closed out the event with a few remarks. “Fifty years of making high-quality, handcrafted drums is a major milestone in Yamaha’s history, and it’s a pleasure to be celebrating it with our customers, artists, and Yamaha colleagues,” he said. “What we’re really excited about, however, is the next fifty years. Yamaha has the resources, know-how, and innovative spirit to take drums and drumming to the next level for the next generation of players. Stay tuned.”

Tyshawn Sorey Receives 2017 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship

Drummer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey was recently named a recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship. In a statement, the MacArthur Foundation said Sorey received the award for “assimilating and transforming ideas from a broad spectrum of musical idioms and defying distinctions between genres, composition, and improvisation in a singular expression of contemporary music.” The foundation also praised Sorey’s “refined sense of restraint and balance that allows him to maintain his own unique voice while bringing a vast array of musical settings to life.”

Sorey is among twenty-four 2017 MacArthur Fellows who span a range of disciplines, including visual art, human rights and social justice, theater, writing, and history. The MacArthur Fellowship awards a no-strings-attached $625,000—distributed over five years—to these select individuals. Past MacArthur Fellows include the musicians Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, George Lewis, Jason Moran, and Dafnis Prieto.

In 2017 Sorey began a new faculty appointment as assistant professor of music at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; released his sixth record as a leader, Verisimilitude; and toured widely. On February 20 Sorey will premiere Cycles of My Being, which is part of Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project, at Opera Philadelphia. The song cycle features original text provided by poet and MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes, along with tenor Lawrence Brownlee. The New York premiere will be held April 24 at Carnegie Hall.

Sabian Appoints Mark Love to Director of Research and Product Development

Sabian recently announced that master product specialist Mark Love has been promoted to the newly created position of director of research and product development. In his new role, Love will take on overall responsibility for the development and creation of new instruments and of enhanced manufacturing techniques, and he’ll oversee and maintain product quality standards.

A thirty-five-year veteran of the Sabian team, Love has been instrumental in developing some of the company’s innovative series, including the Omni, Evolution, and Paragon lines and Radia Cup Chimes.

Sabian Vault veteran Dave Williams will take over Love’s day-to-day role as Vault operations lead. Williams will be responsible for leadership of Vault staff, Vault inventory management, production scheduling, quality testing, and sales order fulfillment.

Who’s Playing What

Jon Epcar (John Legend, Carney, solo) has joined the Craviotto family of artists.

Mark Heaney (Extemporize, solo) has joined the Turkish cymbals roster.

Ian Haugland (Europe) has joined the 101 Drums artist roster.