Photo via www.onemustwonder.com
This month, we feature four performances with pianist Taylor Eigsti and up-and-coming drummer Jeremy Dutton as part of our Mentoring Series. We’ll be publishing a series of blog posts about these two artists and their ongoing musical friendship. Here’s the first:
“I had no idea the legacy of what had happened through HSPVA [Houston School of Performing and Visual Arts], but I auditioned and got in,” says Jeremy Dutton. “We learned about Robert Glasper and Jason Moran, and there were these plaques on the wall about people going to All-State, YoungArts Awards, the Jason Moran Award, and all this other stuff. We saw these names on the wall and then we learned as we were there, ‘Oh my goodness, this could be done.’ So the goal became to go to New York.”
Now 20 years old and enrolled at The New School, Jeremy has been diligently pursuing (and succeeding in) his dream to make music with some of the best musicians on the scene. In February of 2014, he embarked on his first tour with vocalist Sachal Vasandani, performing across Africa and Europe with pianist Taylor Eigsti and bassist Buster Hemphill.
Before this tour, Jeremy had already released his début album in 2013, I Am, with his band Wayfarer, and had been actively performing and recording with iiii, a collaborative jazz-R&B-singer-songwriter-hip-hop project with vocalist Laila Smith, pianist Paul Bloom, and bassist Connor Schultze, each an enterprising young musician still enrolled in university (Harvard, Columbia, and Manhattan School of Music, respectively).
A native of Houston, Texas, Jeremy started on the drums early:
“When I was two, my mom bought me a plastic drum set for my birthday. Apparently, I really liked that drum set because when I was four, my mom and my uncle bought me a real, wooden drum set to play. I used to watch the drummer in my church player and music was just something that I was attracted to. It seems random because nobody else in my family is a musician, but I stuck with it. My mom was always really encouraging—my family in general was really encouraging—and my mom let me practice in the house and stuff like that.”
There is an emergent modern lineage of jazz drumming that can be traced directly to Houston: drummers Eric Harland, Kendrick Scott, Chris Dave, and Jamire Williams are some of the influential figures associated with the city. In the summer after fifth grade, Jeremy unknowingly became part of that lineage: (more…)