Influences: Jazz drummer Justin Faulkner

From the Los Angeles Times:

For the last three years, audiences have been walking into shows by Branford Marsalis and other headliners and walking out talking about Justin Faulkner.

The drummer joined Marsalis’ group on his 18th birthday while still a high school senior; Ben Ratliff of the New York Times described him soon after as playing with “the cutthroat sensibility of the very young with something to prove. At the same time, Mr. Faulkner is listening and attuned to sound.”

Faulkner, who’s nearly 20 now, grew up in Philadelphia and attended public schools; singing in the choir, he said, taught him about balance and blending with other voices. He started playing gospel, R&B and classical music at 7; at 13 he began weekly gigs with the funk/free-jazz bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He’s since completed high school, toured Europe and Asia with various groups, studied film scoring for two years at Berklee College of Music and begun studying classical composition with a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The drummer is in town Saturday as part of the trio led by jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel; expect to hear music from the album “Reflections,” a lush reading of standards. (The show, which also includes bassist Ugonna Okegwo, is part of the Jazz Bakery’s Movable Feast series.)

Faulkner, who will record the guitarist’s next record in a few weeks, praises Rosenwinkel’s harmonic knowledge: “I’ve been in bands where I just hated everything that’s going on. But with Kurt’s band, you find exploration. He gives you the map, but you know there might be a left turn or a right turn, or a detour. And there are certain changes where you just hope for the best.”

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