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Keith Carlock


In 2003's Modern Drummer cover story on Keith, Ken Micallef writes, "Since his arrival in New York City from Clinton via North Texas State University, Keith Carlock has scurried up the drumming food chain with an inventive style that is equal parts Zigaboo Modeliste fire, Jon Christensen finesse, and Bernard Purdie funk. Keith Carlock's achievements prove that talent, skill, and determination is no respecter of locales."
Clinton, Mississippi is is where Keith Carlock was born and raised and where he started playing the drums at age 5. In High School, he joined the jazz band, show choir and drum corps. During that period he would also listen to a lot of rock, R&B and soul music - artists including Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, and Tower of Power.

He would spend countless hours playing along to records from John Scofield, Michel Camilo and The Meters, to name a few. Keith also joined several top-40 bands. "I practiced all the time, so much that my parents built me a soundproof room in the garage. I began taking lessons with George Lawrence and later Quinous Johnson in Jackson, Mississippi. And they both turned me on to jazz and fusion."
After receiving music scholarships to Berklee, University of Miami and North Texas State, Keith chose to attend North Texas State University in Denton, Texas because he wanted to study with Ed Soph (pictured left). Of his experience with Ed, Keith says, "He completely changed my approach to the drums; thinking of the drums in a musical way instead of only being a timekeeper for songs. He's able to find your weaknesses. He teaches you how to play jazz standards on the drums, soloing concepts, and ways to get different sounds out of the drums. My technique changed drastically. I came from a drum corps background. I was in a really good high school band, but I wasn't loose. Soph helped me to loosen up by teaching me the 'Moeller' technique. Depending on the style and feel of music being played, I learned to change my technique to make the music hopefully feel better and have a flow."

Keith played professionally in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for several years after leaving UNT, eventually moving to NYC. In New York, Keith met Wayne Krantz and became part of his band, playing regular gigs at The 55 Bar. (Which he's continued to do for the past 6+ years.) Later the band started playing at the European jazz festivals and touring clubs in the states. Keith has recorded two CD's with Wayne. They are entitled "Greenwich Mean" and "Your Basic Live" featuring Tim Lefevbre and Will Lee on bass.
In New York, he started getting gigs with a wide variety of bands and artists, including David Johansen and The Harry Smiths. Keith has done live dates with David and the group in Europe and in the US. There's also a new release on the Chesky record label entitled "Shaker." [David Johansen was the lead singer with the New York Dolls, and later became Buster Poindexter.]

Keith has been playing drums with the original Blues Brothers Band since early 1998. They've done many festivals and large concert halls all over the world in support of The Blues Brothers 2000 motion picture. This band includes Eddie Floyd, Tommy McDonnell, Steve Cropper, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Lou "Blue Lou" Marini, Alan Rubin, Birch Johnson, and Leon Pendarvis. Keith also plays with the Nuff Brothers Band in NYC from time to time which features the Blues Brothers horn section.

Keith has also toured with legendary singer/actor Harry Belafonte, and with the late Grover Washington, Jr. Also playing around town with different groups including Leni Stern, Richard Bona, and Francis Mbappe's FM Tribe. Keith has recorded with Leni Stern on her most recent releases.

It was at the NYC's famed jazz club, The 55 Bar, backing guitar great Wayne Krantz, where Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and Walter Becker came by to see the band play. (Wayne had toured with SD in 1996) Eventually Donald sat in with the band a few times and they offered Keith a shot at playing on the title track of their [then] new record, "Two Against Nature". [The album went on to win 4 Grammy's including 2001's "Album of the Year".]

Messrs. Fagen and Becker later asked Keith to play on their follow-up record, "Everything Must Go" where Keith played on every track, a first for any Steely Dan studio drummer. Then Keith got the call from Walter Becker to do the 2003 "Everything Must Go" Tour.

During the Steely Dan tour in support of "Everything Must Go", Sting learned about Keith via his representatives who were in the audience at the Roseland gig in New York City. Sting subsequently asked Keith to join his tour. Keith is currently on the road with Sting and will be through 2005.

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