COUNTRY United States
GROUP Solo Artist
Tom Teasley began his career playing jazz, blues, funk, pop and European classical music. Early in his career, he toured with the United States Navy Band. He recorded and performed nationally with blues artist Catfish Hodge and jazz legend Professor Longhair. A focus on ethnic percussion led to studies with Glen Velez, Trichy Sankaran, Yacub Addy, Frank Malabe, as well as jazz study with jazz legend Joe Morello.
Tom was selected by the Kennedy Center as artist-in-residence, and recorded nine performances during that period. He also served as artist-in-residence at the Kreeger Museum of Art, collaborating in a number of multimedia presentations with visual artists. He also collaborated with the National Symphony Orchestra as both a composer and soloist in Robert Kapalow's "Citypiece", aired on NPR and the subject of a documentary for public television. He has developed several highly regarded workshops and clinics; in fact, Young Audiences of Virginia named him Artist of the Year for his in-school programs across that state.
Tom's lightning-speed agility and fluency in regional musical ideas (from tribal traditions to electronics) have given him the creative means to go just about anywhere. His signature approach is to isolate a few key musical components and recombine them in new ways. Tom spontaneously takes instruments or rhythm patterns from their original style -- like blues or jazz -- and plays alongside traditional sounds from Brazil, the Middle East, ancient Mesopotamia, Persia, Africa, or India. Another approach is to use a technique original to an indigenous instrument (such as a doumbek) and perform it on an instrument from another place and time (like a hand drum synthesizer). Suddenly, limitless possibilities for new music and cultural interaction emerge. Tom continues to explore instruments and playing technique, sharing them through his workshops and clinics. PASIC has featured Tom's presentations at the world's largest gathering of percussionists three times.
As percussionist/composer for Word-Beat, Tom collaborates with singer/actor Charles Williams in a critically acclaimed and inspiring presentation of original music and spoken word. They combine history's greatest writings on justice, peace, and life with music inspired by the writer's culture of origin; poetry and prose from Harlem, the Civil Rights Movement, ancient Africa, India, and the Middle East all converge with the energy of jazz, folk, and modern music. Word-Beat's two recordings have garnered national airplay on radio and very high praise among music critics. Word-Beat's first recording, "Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song" was hailed as one of the most important of its kind at the 2007 International Association for Jazz Education conference. IAJE singled out Word-Beat as a leading collaboration in the integration of poetry and music, calling Word-Beat's recordings "must-haves." The duo's second CD, "The Soul Dances" was nominated for the Washington Area Music Association's Best World Music Release award.
Currently Tom Teasley performs in the U.S. and Europe, teaches in a private studio, presents master classes and school programs, and holds a number of residencies. As artist-in-residence at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., Tom presents concerts and master classes. A prolific composer and ensemble leader, he continues developing new pieces and recordings, with a ninth just released. He enjoys airplay on TV, film, and National Public Radio.
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