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Mel Lewis

Mel Lewis






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Note: Some MD articles are only available in pdf format. Those articles do not appear in this list. Subscribers to Digital and All-Access can view every Modern Drummer issue in their available formats. Browse all MD issues from our archive here.
February 1985:
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis

The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and the Village Vanguard just seem to go together. For one thing, they both represent longevity. The Vanguard is the oldest club in New York City; Mel’s band has one of the longest- running gigs in jazz—19 years of Monday nights at the Vanguard. For …


November 1983:
Mel Lewis "Tiptoe"
Drum Soloist

From Consummation, by the Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Orchestra.


April 1978:
Mel Lewis – Straight Ahead
mel lewis 1

The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra has been going strong for some thirteen years now, consistent poll winners, and the hit of almost every jazz festival they perform at. All the more reason for my shock when drummer co-leader Mel Lewis informed me that, “there haven’t been any profits yet; the …


May June 1979:
Rock Perspectives – Theme And Variations
Rock Perspectives Lead

People ask me how I keep my ideas flowing and how I keep from getting stale and bored. This is a problem many drummers seem to have in common; a lack of ideas or concepts to use in their everyday playing.


January 2001:
January 2001 – Volume 25 • Number 1

Tré Cool, Wuv, Nicko McBrain, Dave Krusen, Phil Ehart, Trey Gray, Steve Gadd, Joe Morello, Rod Morgenstein, Peter Erskine, Neil Peart, Mel Lewis, Roy Burns, Mark Parsons, Rick Van Horn, Tony Williams, Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Tito Puente, Alan Dawson, Gary Chester, Eric Carr, Larrie Londin, Art Blakey, Philly Joe …


July 2000:
July 2000 – Volume 24 • Number 7

Jeff Ballard, Nana Vasconcelos, Mel Lewis, Ustad Allarakha, Peter Erskine, Ricky Lawson, Don Alias, Danny Reyes, Jeff Fowlkes, Tommy Perkins, Chris Pennie, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jeremy Taggart, Mike Portnoy, Eddie Bayers, Roy Hanes



Posted: March 26, 2019

Chuck Tilley
Category: On the Beat
Chuck Tilley of Sixwire

I’m a great example of “be careful what you wish for.” After spending the last seven years drumming for the iconic country band Alabama playing more than three hundred and fifty shows, it was time to focus on my own band Sixwire.


Posted: September 5, 2018

Chris McNeill
Category: Drummers, On the Beat
On The Beat with Chris McNeill of Glass Tiger: Talks New Album, Multiple Projects, and Gear

Hey there MD! Just touching base with a quick update on some fun stuff that’s been going on. Holy cow, does time ever fly! I’ll soon be going into my twentieth year playing with Glass Tiger, the Canadian rock band known for “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone).”


Posted: August 30, 2016

Category: Drummers, Featured
Drummer/Programmer/Producer Steven Wolf

Steven Wolf is, without doubt, truly one of today’s modern day drummers. He has all the technique and chops, he can groove like a feel-good metronome, and his programmed drum parts make you think, are these real drums or not?


Posted: May 31, 2016

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Web Exclusive
Keith Carne on We Are Scientists’ Helter Seltzer

Brooklyn-based indie-rock band We Are Scientists’ fifth album, Helter Seltzer, released digitally this past April 22 and physically on June 3, is an advanced-level course in hook-ology.


Posted: March 23, 2016

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
On the Beat With Jon Rotman of Eliot Lewis: Enjoying the Ride

Hey folks! My name is Jon Rotman and I have been a reader of Modern Drummer since 1977, when at age ten, my mom bought me my first copy with Chicago’s Danny Seraphine on the cover. That issue marked the beginning of an amazing journey!


Posted: January 29, 2016

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Jeff Hamilton: Swinging Support

Here the on-the-move drummer talks with MD Online about his new record and shares his wisdom on swing mastery….


Posted: July 7, 2015

Category: Clinics and Events, News, News and Events
News: Rock and Roll Drumming Legends Honored at Summer NAMM

World’s Fastest Drummer (WFD) producer Jack Propps and Church’s Chicken have joined to honor three living legends of drumming. This year’s recipients of the WFD/Church’s Chicken Legends Series Awards are D.J. Fontana (Elvis Presley), W.S. Holland (Johnny Cash), and Richie Albright (Waylon Jennings)….


Posted: February 11, 2014

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Justin Martinez of The Tontons

Many of you have probably never heard of me before, and that’s okay. I’m a twenty-two-year-old musician based out of Houston, Texas, and I’m currently the drummer for a band called the Tontons….


Posted: January 20, 2014

Drummer Danny Young of We Will Rock You Tour
Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Danny Young of We Will Rock You Tour

Over the past few years, I’ve been playing on a lot of Broadway shows, including this current tour, but my career has actually been quite diverse.


Posted: January 20, 2014

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Danny Young of We Will Rock You Tour

Over the past few years, I’ve been playing on a lot of Broadway shows, including this current tour, but my career has actually been quite diverse.


Posted: August 28, 2013

Category: Drummers, Issues, News, News and Events
October 2013 Issue of Modern Drummer Featuring Mike Portnoy

October 2013 Issue of Modern Drummer featuring Mike Portnoy Contents


Posted: May 1, 2013

Category: Clinics and Events, News, News and Events
Mat Marucci Trio Concert in Syracuse, NY on May 12

Modern Drummer columnist Mat Marucci will be appearing with his trio at Jazz Central, at 441 E. Washington Street, in Syracuse, New York, on Sunday, May 12. The concert will begin at 7 pm and will be recorded live by Cadence Jazz Records….


Posted: January 8, 2013

Category: News, News and Events
Motown Gives Back: MD Contributor Drew Schultz Spearheads Project to Help Fund Detroit School Music Programs

Modern Drummer contributor Drew Schultz and Motown musical legends recently collaborated on an album to raise funds for the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, via sales from Schultz’s debut album, Back to Class. Before the Four Tops’ performance at the Motor City Casino Soundboard Theater on Thursday, December 13, the musicians …


Posted: November 19, 2012

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s John Riley

In addition to the cover story on big band star Buddy Rich, the December 2012 issue of Modern Drummer magazine features a fascinating conversation between the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s John Riley and VJO drum sub Paul Wells. The article contains lots of useful real-world advice from Riley; here Wells asks …


Posted: July 30, 2012

Category: Drummers, Lessons, MD Education Team
MD Education Team Weighs In On: Reading Music

We asked the members of the MD Education Team if they think that reading skills are crucial. Here’s what they had to say….


Posted: May 25, 2012

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Andrew Nauss of Thieving Irons

My name is Andrew Nauss, and I play drums for the Brooklyn-based band Thieving Irons. Our album Behold, This Dreamer is due on June 5. (continue reading)


Posted: May 8, 2012

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Paul Motian: 1931-2011

Photo by Robert Lewis. He showed us new ways to think about jazz drumming. There will never be another like him. by Michael Parillo On a dark night at the Village Vanguard, the audience snakes slowly down the long staircase and settles in at tiny tables, squeezed together nice and …


Posted: March 30, 2012

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Will Noon of Fun SXSW Tour Blog

The sun sets over El Paso, and over Juarez as well—which is apparently the murder capital of the world. So I regretfully agree to enter round two in my search for decent Mexican food in El Paso. 0 for 2 this year.


Posted: March 19, 2012

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Tim Walsh of the Stepkids

I’m Tim Walsh of the Stepkids, and I’m excited to be on here and hope to add to the wealth of knowledge that is MD’s awesome thirty-five-year history…


Posted: March 15, 2012

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Jeremy Taggart of Our Lady Peace

Hello, Jeremy Taggart from Our Lady Peace here. We’re releasing album number 8, Curve, in the U.S. on April 17. It’s been a great experience, and I can’t wait to play the songs on this year’s touring cycle. I couldn’t be more amped about it…


Posted: January 10, 2012

Category: Drummers, The Greats
Mel Lewis: A Quiet Fire

For big band great Mel Lewis, the drums were his easy chair and the band his hearth. He was the fire.


Posted: November 30, 2011

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Ben Riley: Power of the Lion, Patience of the Ages

Ben Riley commands respect from the moment he hits the bandstand. While he is best known (and beloved) for his years spent in Thelonious Monk’s quartet at the peak of that master’s powers, Riley has also recorded and performed with many other jazz greats.This article orginally ran in the February …


Posted: October 19, 2011

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Gene Markiewicz

Hello, MD! It is a great honor to tell you that I will be inducted into the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame. I am truly humbled. There are so many people to thank, especially my mother. That’s right, mom! When I saw Ringo on TV as a kid, I …


Posted: September 28, 2011

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Multimedia, News, News and Events, Videos
Richard Christy: “Admire the Heroes??? Studio Footage

Exclusive Video Footage of Richard Christy Recording “Admire the Heroes,??? from Charred Walls of the Damned’s Cold Winds on Timeless Days.


Posted: August 8, 2011

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Aaron Steele of Aabaraki

Hey, all, it is a pleasure and honor to be writing a blog for Modern Drummer. I grew up in the church tradition, playing gospel. Around age eleven I got really into break-dancing and I kind of got away from the drums for a few years. But when I was …


Posted: February 17, 2011

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
NYC Session Drummer Dylan Wissing

For several years now I’ve been the session drummer for Grammy-winning and platinum-earning producer/mix engineer Ken Lewis (Kanye West, John Legend, Beastie Boys, many more). Through working with Ken I’ve played on many indie projects, one major label release so far (“Wild West??? by Novel on Rowdy/Capitol), and have come …


Posted: December 3, 2010

Category: Drummers, The Greats
Tiny Kahn: His Own Kind Of Chops

The bop era of the ’40s saw the arrival of several somewhat lesser-known drummers. One of the most important was Tiny Kahn. “Tiny and I were both advocates of the small group approach to big band playing,” said Mel Lewis. “He played basically the same with Stan Getz’s small group …


Posted: April 9, 2010

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Vinson Valega: New York City Jazzer

I grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., took piano lessons from age five to eleven, switched to drums in the sixth grade…


Posted: December 7, 2009

Category: Drummers, The Greats
Influencer: Alan Dawson

Alan Dawson was an outstanding jazz drummer and a legendary teacher. Alan was known for his ingenious use of rudiments, his melodic approach to drumming, and an extremely advanced level of hand and foot coordination.


Posted: October 20, 2009

Category: Feature Stories
Drumming On TV

In celebration of the great, sometimes groundbreaking drumming performances of TV’s golden age, we present to you highlights along the illustrious Drumming On TV timeline…


Posted: June 16, 2009

John Wicks of Fitz & The Tantrums : Modern Drummer
Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Fitz & The Tantrums' John Wicks

I wanted to take a minute and tell you about Fitz & The Tantrums. I’m currently recording the upcoming release by Fitz, Songs For A Break Up Vol. 2, and having a total blast.


Posted: June 16, 2009

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Fitz & The Tantrums’ John Wicks

I wanted to take a minute and tell you about Fitz & The Tantrums. I’m currently recording the upcoming release by Fitz, Songs For A Break Up Vol. 2, and having a total blast.


Posted: March 25, 2009

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Lewis Nash: Jazz’s Most Valuable Player

Nash is all about the tradition of jazz–if by “tradition??? you mean making the most sublime rhythmic statements possible.


Posted: November 1, 2008

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Web Exclusive Interview: Jon Wysocki of Staind

Jon Wysocki has been laying down his tasteful, well thought–out grooves with the chart-topping band Staind for thirteen years. The group, which hails from Springfield, Massachusetts, also includes lead singer/guitarist Aaron Lewis, lead guitarist Mike Mushok, and bassist/vocalist Johnny April. They’ve recorded six studio albums and four number-one singles, and …


Posted: January 30, 2008

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Dylan Wissing

2007 was an extremely busy year for me. I played eighty-four shows in the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New Orleans, with several recording projects and a zillion songwriting sessions and rehearsals….


Posted: December 13, 2007

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Brian Kelley

It can be a difficult task putting together a top-ten list, as most musicians have extraordinarily large record collections. But I feel that every musician has a top-ten list, and it can define who you are as a musician….


Posted: February 1, 2006

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
The Fab Faux’s Rich Pagano

New York City drummer Rich Pagano is way more than just a member of the hippest Beatle cover band you’ll ever hear. He’s also an accomplished singer and producer. As we journey through Rich’s MD Online interview, we’ll learn that not only does he do a stellar job of providing …


Posted: July 19, 2005

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
An Interview with Hal Blaine

Paving the way for some of the great studio musicians of our time, like Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, Jeff Porcaro, and John JR Robinson, were Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine. MD recently sat down with the jovial drummer to walk a bit down memory lane.


Posted: May 12, 2004

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Update
Robby Ameen

The first thing you notice when entering Robby Ameen’s Manhattan apartment is the rich aroma of Cuban cigars, stroking your nose hairs like a dark breeze from an illicit island. Ameen’s walls are covered with cigar-box covers from Habana’s finest: Cohiba, Montecristo, and Bolivar….


Posted: May 12, 2004

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Update
Tommy Perkins: Charting His Past, Present, And Future

For more than fifty years, Tommy Perkins has devoted himself to performing as a full-time working drummer. At age fifteen he made his first recording as a Texas Playboy. That was the 1950 hit single “Faded Love” by Bob Wills.


Posted: May 12, 2004

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
Ben Perowsky: Beyond Labels

The scene: a cold night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at North On Sixth, a multi-level hole in the wall jook joint where the bathroom graffiti is more political than obscene. Attracting a crowd of Manhattan intellectuals and Brooklyn deadheads, North On Sixth is tonight showcasing Ben Perowsky’s Moodswing Orchestra. A collection …


Posted: May 12, 2004

Category: Drummers, Education Team Members, Feature Stories, Update
Steve Fidyk

An impressive feature of Steve Fidyk’s drumming on the new CD A Perfect Match by The Taylor/Fidyk Big Band is the wide range of styles covered….


Posted: May 12, 2004

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Update
Sam Fogarino of Interpol

Drums are the heart of rock ‘n’ roll – even Huey Lewis will cop to that. So why were the first forty seconds of Interpol’s 2002 debut, Turn On The Bright Lights, missing drums?



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