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Herlin Riley


One of the newest members of the Wynton Marsalis band, drummer Herlin Riley took over in a difficult spot when he replaced the outstanding Jeff Watts in the late '80s. But he's become a more effective player on Marsalis' albums, not yet as steady or assertive as Watts, but influencing the music more on such releases as The Majesty of the Blues and Uptown Ruler. Riley can also be heard on the soundtrack Tune In Tomorrow, Levee Low Moan and Standard Time, Vol. 3 - The Resolution of Romance. His debut as a leader, Watch What You're Doing, followed in early 2000. By Ron Wynn. Herlin Riley was born into a musical family in New Orleans, Louisiana and began playing the drums at age three. Mr. Riley was a member of Ahmad Jamal's band from 1984 through 1987, and has performed and/or recorded with Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Dr. John, Harry Connick, Jr., George Benson, Steve Turre and The Clayton Brothers among others. His theater experience includes playing in One Mo' Time and Satchmo: America's Musical Legend. In the spring of 1988, he joined Wynton Marsalis's Septet, with which he toured and recorded for six years.
He appeared on the cover of the April 1995 issue of Modern Drummer and is featured in an instructional video, "New Orleans Drumming Ragtime and Beyond - Evolution of a Style." Mr. Riley has performed regularly with the LCJO since it began touring in 1992. He has released one recording as a leader, Watch What You're Doing, which features fellow LCJO members.

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