292 – Andrew Atkinson: Playing with Oz Noy and Gregory Porter, Building a Foundation in Miami, Becoming an Individual in New York
Andrew Atkinson’s drumming draws on the seductive beats of his native Jamaica, the percolating rhythms of his childhood home Miami, and the world of jazz that has beckoned and captivated him in all his travels. Highlights of his resume include guitarist Oz Noy, vocalist Gregory Porter, and steel pan player Othello Molineux.
After graduating high school, Atkinson would find himself becoming one of the most in demand young drummers in Miami, playing with every type of band imaginable. With reggae-ska band The Monjees, Atkinson got his first taste of life on the road by performing on the 2002 Warped Tour and opening for James Brown at the 2002 Sunfest. Of course, he stuck close to jazz, his first musical love, and wound up doing gigs with luminaries such as Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Danilio Perez, and Donald Harrison.
Andrew moved to New York in 2011, where he has played with many of the biggest names in jazz, subbed on Broadway musicals including “Hamilton” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” and will be the full time drummer for a new musical currently in development.
In this episode, Andrew talks about
- How he came to the drums through a middle school scheduling error
- His early career in Miami playing Reggae, Punk, Ska, Salsa, Timba, and Jazz
- Being attracted to New York’s celebration of individual artistic voices, and wanting to develop his there
- Going out every night (literally) his first year in New York to learn the scene and make contacts
- How to be a drummer that singers like
- Adapting to Broadway’s detail-oriented culture
Andrew endorses Vic Firth sticks, Sabian cymbals, Sonor drums, and Westone in-ears.