10.16.12 BW Jam Session with Dan Schnelle Trio
“Some drummers bang their drums, but Schnelle held to the background, making himself known but not overwhelming the rest of the group, playing with a sensitivity that supported the others while keeping impeccable time.” – Bill Leikam, All About Jazz
”Schnelle is an up-an-comer himself, a serious player no matter the setting – and a lot of fun to watch too.” - Brick Wahl, LA Weekly
Dan Schnelle is one of the most talented, in-demand drummers in the Los Angeles area. Known for an intuitive ability to do precisely what is necessary for each performance, Schnelle understands how to make other musicians comfortable, while bringing enough of the unexpected to his playing to keep it consistently exciting. Unsatisfied with the idea that the drum set is merely a time-keeping device, Schnelle is thoughtful about how this unique instrument, with its nearly limitless variety of sounds, can be tastefully and effectively deployed in a wide variety of musical situations. Years spent collaborating with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles (and beyond) have earned him a reputation as a hard-working, professional, and creative team player; one who is, above all, committed to musical excellence.
Schnelle began learning to play the drums in his hometown of Merrick, New York, at the age of ten. He progressed quickly, and by high school, was studying with two important and widely respected teachers, Al Miller and Dom Famularo. Together these men opened Schnelle’s ears to the music of Buddy Rich, Max Roach, and Steve Gadd. Later, he would attend USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he was exposed to a much broader perspective on jazz (and music as a whole), thanks in part to close interaction with such masters as Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Ndugu Chancler, Aaron Serfaty, John Clayton, Alan Pasqua, and many others. In his final years at USC, Schnelle was named a Louie Bellson Scholar, an honor bestowed on only one drummer each year. And after earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies, Schnelle was selected to attend the Henry Mancini Institute, where he performed and studied with Vince Mendoza, Billy Childs, Dave Leibman, Harold Jones, and Doc Severinsen.
Even as a student in Los Angeles, Schnelle was already working regularly around town. He has since toured throughout the US and abroad, in all kinds of performance situations, including major jazz festivals. Notable collaborators have included Josh Nelson, Dayna Stephens, Walter Smith III, Perry Smith, Nick Mancini, Mahesh Balasooriya, Tom Luer, Matt Zebley, Gary Fukushima, Andy Langham, Anthony Wilson, Ben Wendel, Larry Koonse, the Industrial Jazz Group, and many others.
Nowadays Schnelle maintains a busy playing schedule while simultaneously working as a dedicated music educator; he understands that effective pedagogy is a way of not only giving back to the art form but also continuing to expand his own playing. As such, he has been an instructor at the Henry Mancini Institute, the South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (where, in addition to drum instruction, he has led student big bands and combos). Schnelle also has an extensive roster of private students.
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- October 15, 2012 / 3:33 am
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