Woodstock’s Percussion Connections

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Bob Becker’s blog mentions George Hamilton Greene‘s grave in Woodstock’s Artists’ Cemetery. (For a nice winter view of this peaceful place, click John Cage, Peter Schickele and many others have premiered new works. Drumtalker.
Woodstock has several other famous percussion inhabitants too: Brazilian-born Cyro Baptista who began his work in North America with a scholarship to the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio. He’s toured with Sting, Paul Simon and Yo-Yo Ma. Baptista creates many of the percussion instruments he plays, and in 2002 he formed Beat the Donkey, a percussion and dance ensemble. Another Woodstock resident is the dazzling jazz improviser Jack DeJohnette,  who was voted Best Drummer in the 2008 DownBeat Readers’ Poll.  Also the Senegalese drummer and percussionist Aïyb Dieng. Dieng lives in Woodstock and he too began his US career at the Creative Music Studio there, teaching African drumming, and has since worked with Yoko Ono, Herbie Hancock, and Mick Jagger. Another famous Woodstock drummer is Jimmy Cobb, acclaimed for his work on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, and a list of other credits as long as your arm. With all of this “in-house” talent, it’s no wonder Woodstock has a reputation for its drum circles!
Why the photo of Joe Cocker? When we hear “Woodstock” we can’t help but think of the enormous 1969 festival – (which actually took place about 40 miles away). One of the funniest videos I’ve seen is a “translation” of Joe Cocker’s remarkable rendition of “A Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock. Click here, and Enjoy! (Bruce Rowlands is on drums and Bobby Torres on congas).  And speaking of a little help from my friends, thanks, Bob, for mentioning the Artists’ Cemetery in your blog!

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