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Gary Chaffee
Gary Chafee
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Steve Swallow / Berklee School of Music
  • School / Univ. / Institution: Berklee School of Music
  • Birthday: January 29
  • Country: United States

Credited with teaching some of the most successful and influential players on the contemporary drumming scene, Gary Chaffee has earned the respect of musicians worldwide for more than 30 years.


During his tenure as Chairman of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music (1972-1976) and more recently in his own private teaching studio, Chaffee has worked with some of the top players in the industry. A list of his students reads like a "who's who" of the contemporary drum scene, and includes such players as Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Smith, Jonathan Mover, JR Robinson, Kenwood Dennard, Joey Kramer, and David Beal. Hundreds of other successful drummers have come out of his "school" of drumming.


As an active performer, Gary has shared the stage with many noted artists, among them are Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, Abe Laboriel, Jaco Pastorius, Mike Stern, Steve Swallow, Mick Goodrick, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell, Palle Danielsson, and Tom Harrell.


Chaffee has authored many books demonstrating his unique concepts. Among these are his highly popular 4-volume Patterns series: Rhythm & Meter; Sticking; Time Functioning; and Technique; and his new Linear Time Playing.


Chaffee has also released two new videos on DCI: Phrasing & Motion and Sticking Time, Linear Time, Rhythm & Meter. All of Gary's materials are available through Warner Bros. Publications.


Gary's newest performance venue is the "Whirlybirds" duo with Steve Houghton. Performing throughout the US, Canada, and England, the "Whirlybirds" have received rave reviews wherever they've gone.


Gary currently endorses Yamaha Drums, Zildjian, and Remo drumheads.

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