Also, my stepfather played Jazz trumpet. I often accompanied him to jam sessions and enjoyed hearing him practice at home. When I started playing, he would take me on his dance gigs and I would play bongos when the band played a calypso, mambo, etc. Later, he provided insight for my composing and arranging.
As to playing, I began at age 10 with a Junior High School orchestra. I played timpani (on tom-toms) and learned drum fundamentals. At Music & Art High School I played orchestral percussion (real timps) and, since they had no drummer on the faculty, I was a student instructor for 3 1/2 of my years there. I also played timpani in the City College of N.Y. orchestra for two years. Beginning in high school, I played timbales in dance bands for about six years and had one fondly-remembered duet with Tito Puente. In 1955 I started playing a drum set in a Catskill-mountain show band. My first Jazz gig was with Sonny Rollins in 1957 (memorialized by a couple of tracks on the Blue Note album, Night at the Village Vanguard).