Drummer Joe Dyson first graced The Jazz Gallery stage as part of the Mentorship Series back in 2015, resulting in an electric series of two drum-kit performances with mentor Johnathan Blake. In discussing the unique aspects of playing with another drummer, Dyson spoke with Jazz Speaks about his musical upbringing in New Orleans:
I grew up in New Orleans and I grew up playing traditional music, playing in brass bands, and marching bands. They require at least two drummers, so there’s always a counterpoint of rhythm and a counterpoint of ideas, everything happening simultaneously. So playing with Johnathan actually works really well. He’s such a musical player—we’re always listening to each other’s ideas and complementing what’s going on.
Most times when you’re sitting in the drum chair, you’re the main orchestrator, and so a lot people see that when you have two drummers, you’re competing for the space of orchestrator. But when you’re really listening, it’s easier to have a real conversation and communicate the same idea together.
Dyson’s New Orleans roots also play a big role in his debut album, Look Within, released earlier this year. Featuring a cast of talented New Orleans-based peers, the album foregrounds Dyson’s spiritual pursuits and histories, building compositions on recorded samples of sermons (including one by his father, the Rev. Dr. J.C. Dyson, Sr. You can stream the album below:
This Thursday, July 29, Dyson returns to the Gallery as a leader in his own right, playing music from the album with a stable of New York collaborators.
Joe Dyson’s Look Within plays The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, July 29, 2021. The group features Mr. Dyson on drums, Kenyatta Beasley on trumpet, Emilio Modeste on tenor saxophone, Mike King on piano, and Barry Stephenson on bass. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. $15 general admission (FREE for members), $25 reserved table seating ($10 for members), $20 for livestream access (FREE for members) for each set. Purchase tickets here.