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Joe McCarthy
Joe McCarthy
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Afro Bop Alliance / George Mason University / Georgetown University
  • School / Univ. / Institution: Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts
  • Country: United States

2012-2013 Update:
Joe McCarthy has had quite an eventful fall, winter and spring. Joe was featured at the 2012 PASIC Convention with his Grammy Award winning band, Afro Bop Alliance, in addition to the release  of Vol. II of Joe’s Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along Series DVD by Alfred Music. Joe was featured on new releases by Steve Williams and Jazz Nation featuring Eddie Daniels, and Todd Simon’s debut recording, Simon Says. The spring included a busy clinic schedule with performances/clinics at the Indiana Day of Percussion, Western Connecticut State University with vibraphonist Dave Samuels and the WCSU Percussion Ensemble, The Las Vegas Jazz Invitational with saxophonist Tom Scott and trumpeter Chuck Findley, and the Texas Tech Jazz Festival with trombonist Conrad Herwig. Joe was the guest conductor for 2 Jazz Honor Band Festivals in Maryland and Virginia and the spring season concluded with a residency at the ‘Iolani School on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, with Joe conducting a masterclass and performing with the school’s three jazz ensembles. Special thanks to Zildjian for their support.


In demand as both performer and educator, Joe McCarthy's versatility has taken him from Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, to Afro Cuban, Bebop, and beyond. Joe is the leader/founder of the Grammy Award winning “Afro Bop Alliance,” an Afro Cuban Jazz Septet based in the Washington DC area. Afro Bop is featured on the new “Caribbean Jazz Project” CD released on Heads-Up International, winner of the 2008 Grammy for Latin Jazz Album of the year, as well as being nominated for the 51st Grammy Awards in the same category.

Active in recording, Joe has been featured on numerous projects, as well as producing all of the Afro Bop recordings and co-producing the Caribbean Jazz Project CD. The band’s 2 previous releases, “Encarnacion” and “Camino Nuevo” have received critical acclaim, worldwide, including Camino Nuevo winning the 2006 Wammie for Latin Album of the Year. Joe has performed and or recorded with: The Caribbean Jazz Project, Slide Hampton, Antonio Hart, Poncho Sanchez, Dave Samuels, Arturo O'Farrill, Michael Mossman, Ray Vega, Jimmy Bruno, Michael Formanek, Mitch Seidman, Bill Warfield, Mundell Lowe, Alain Mallet, Christian Howes, Roberto Quintero and Boris Kozlov.

Joe is the Drummer for the United States Naval Academy Band's Jazz Ensemble, The Next Wave, and Principal Percussionist of the USNA Band’s Wind Ensemble.

Joe is also a member of The Global Percussion Trio, a dynamic group featured at the 2006 PASIC Convention, and co-leader of the Norman/McCarthy Big Band with their 2007 release of “Words Cannot Express,” on OA2 Records. Active in education, Joe is an Adjunct Professor of Drumset and Afro-Cuban Percussion Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and in demand as a clinician throughout the US and abroad. Joe has written for Jazz Improv Magazine, Latin Percussion’s “All About Rhythm” and has contributed to the educational websites of Zildjian and Innovative Percussion, as well as many others. Joe’s Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along Book/CD is published by Alfred Music . Joe proudly endorses Zildjian Cymbals, Yamaha Drums, Innovative Percussion, Lp Percussion and Remo Drumheads.

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