Joel Spencer has been a professional musician and music educator for the past 25 years.
Joel has performed with a number of internationally known jazz artists in Chicago and throughout the world. These appearances have included such artists as Weather Report alumnus Wayne Shorter, David Liebman, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Barney Kessel, Clark Terry, Michael Feinstein, Cissy Houston, the Red Rodney Quintet, Joe Williams, Scott Hamilton, John Campbell, Dorothy Donegan, the Count Basie Band, Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, Junior Mance, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Lou Donaldson, and pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In 2004 Spencer became a full-time faculty member in the Northwestern University School of Music. At the rank of Lecturer, Spencer serves as Coordinator of the Jazz Combo Program and instructor of Jazz History, Graduate Studies in Jazz Pedagogy, Jazz Perspectives, and Studio Percussion.
"... and then there's jazz drummer Joel Spencer, whose audacious energy level, swing, chops and authority ought to make a lot of better known drummers nervous. Since the untimely death of Tony Williams, there isn't another drummer in jazz who performs with as much control or flexibility. Spencer never stops conversing. He always seems to be daring his musicians to keep pace with his creativity".