Bryan Carter Jazz Quintet in Doha

New York City drummer talks about his influences and shows Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

Becoming a successful musician is no easy task but becoming one in your early 20s is even harder. New York City-based drummer Bryan Carter, who is visiting Doha this month, tells us how and why he did just that.

What’s your music style?
I primarily consider myself a jazz musician though I grew up playing gospel, classical, and pop music as well. Because of my musical upbringing I have a wide variety of influences from Mozart to Michael Jackson! My eclecticism definitely influences my ‘music style’.

Who do you look up to in jazz?
I have the utmost respect for the masters of jazz. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk… the list could go on forever. They sacrificed to create this incredible art form and share it with the world. I’ve been lucky to study or spend time with some incredible drummers like Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, Kenny Washington, Herlin Riley. They’ve helped to shape my sound and develop the ‘jazz vocabulary’ that enables me to play this music. Lastly, I’m inspired by my peers Joe Saylor, Russell Hall, Cecile McLorin Salvant. Jazz is safe because they give people the ability to believe in the music!

Why is it important for people to understand the genre?
Jazz is special because it teaches people how to listen, how to be patient and how to interact with others. It’s incredible to watch a soloist tell a story through their instrument while the other members of the band accompany with their instruments. It’s okay to let yourself go and be free in the music… that’s when the journey truly begins.

How did you get into it?
My father is a jazz musician. I grew up surrounded by music so it’s all I’ve ever known. I started playing drums and violin at age three and played in community bands all throughout my teenage years. After high school I moved to New York City to study at The Juilliard School. I graduated a couple of years ago and now I’m working with a large range of artists, teaching and of course playing with my own band.

What other music inspires you?
Duke Ellington used to say that there are only two types of music – good music and bad music. I love all genres because there’s something to learn and take away from all of them. I’ve been listening to a tonne of Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel lately. They’re both incredible vocalists and composers who inspire me to play and compose music on a higher level.

What can we expect from one of your shows?
My father used to say, ‘People come to hear music to clear their head of daily woes.’ I love to take the audience on a journey with my band. The audience should leave as different people than when they first entered the show. I’m looking forward to presenting the music of Art Blakey. He is one of my favourite drummers and bandleaders. I’m also going to present a programme of music entitled, Music of Romance and Lovers for The Valentine’s holiday. We always try to pack a few surprises and go home big!
The Bryan Carter Quintet is in Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha from February 8 to March 2. The St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0105).

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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