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History of the ZDAA

Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards

zdaa 1998In 1998 the Avedis Zildjian Company celebrated its remarkable 375th anniversary. As part of this milestone celebration, Zildjian held an event honoring four legendary musicians: Louie Bellson, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach

The American Drummers Achievement Awards (ADAA) were held on September 13, 1998 at the Berklee Performance center in Boston, MA. Hosted by notable entertainer and drummer, Bill Cosby, the event was Zildjian's way of giving back to the drumming community and included performances by Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Steve Gadd and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.

Three generations of the Zildjian family were on hand to participate in the celebration, from Armand and his daughters, Craigie and Debbie, to Armand's three granddaughters Cady, Emily and Samantha. The night proved to be one of the most memorable nights at the Berklee Performance Center in its long and prestigious history. It was a celebration of not only four legendary drummers and of Zildjian, but of the musical passion that has been inspiring and empowering percussionists the world over for generations. One of the performers of the night, Peter Erskine, may have said it best: "The four of you have shown the rest of us mere mortals what's possible with a pair of drumsticks. The rest of us, whenever we sit down to play, can paraphrase the Roman gladiators: We who are about to drum, salute you!"

zdaa 2003In 2003, The Zildjian Company sponsored the second ADAA on Saturday, September 13, 2003 at a sold-out Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA. This year the ADAA honored drumming legend Steve Gadd, with a special tribute to Armand Zildjian. Like the first American Drummers Achievement Awards, this ADAA will endowed scholarships in both Steve Gadd's and Armand Zildjian's names at Berklee College of Music. More than two years in the making, the event was again hosted by comedy legend Bill Cosby, and featured an all-star Los Angeles based band including: Vinnie Colaiuta and Rick Marotta on Drums, Mike Landau - Guitar, Jimmy Johnson - Bass, Larry Goldings - Keyboards and special guest appearances by Will Lee - Vocals and Tom Scott - Saxophone.

The evening was chock full of incredible musical performances, video tributes to Armand Zildjian and Steve Gadd, and moving commentaries by Craigie and Debbie Zildjian, Mrs. Armand “Andy” Zildjian, Lee Berk (President of Berklee College), Louie Bellson, John Beck, Anthony Jackson, Rick Marotta, Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Gadd. Bill Cosby’s impeccable comedic timing kept the show evenly paced and created some very funny exchanges with the Zildjian Family, Rick, Vinnie and the rest of the band.

Paul Simon made a special appearance closing out the first half, performing his timeless classic and showcasing Gadd’s signature beat, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” with the honoree himself, Steve Gadd, joining him to a standing ovation from the audience. James Taylor, who made a speech stating how fortunate he feels to play with Steve, backed by the nucleus of his band including Steve Gadd on drums, closed the evening with “October Road,” followed by a stirring rendition of “Country Road.”

Steve Gadd commented: “I was especially proud to be honored along with Armand Zildjian, due to our close personal friendship.”

zdaa 2008To celebrate its 385th anniversary, Zildjian held 'The Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards' (ZDAA) which took place for the first time in the UK at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on Sunday 7 December 2008.

Honored at the awards ceremony was drumming legend, Ginger Baker. The event was very much a performance led night with Ginger Baker joined onstage by Cream sidekick, Jack Bruce, and African legend Tony Allen. Also in attendance were some of the world's greatest drummers including Simon Phillips, Steve White and Keith Carlock laying down a night of rock n' roll beats and unforgettable riffs.

South London born Ginger Baker entered the Zildjian hall of fame having shot to fame in the 60s after joining one of the most successful and influential British blues-rock groups ever - Cream. Ginger alongside band mates Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce went on to receive five gold albums and were one of the first ever bands to attain a platinum disc. His flamboyant performances and pioneering use of two bass drums in place of the conventional single 'kick drum' instantly set new standards for rock drummers throughout the world. In 1969 Ginger left Cream with band mate Eric Clapton to form Blind Faith with Rick Grech and Steve Winwood, and he later went on to release his own material including Ginger Baker's Air Force. Cream re-formed in 2005 and packed arenas around the world to huge critical acclaim.

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