Master Drummer Herlin Riley Guest Performer at Give the Drummer Some Concert

Posted August 15, 2023, 3:13PM

Master drummer Herlin Riley will perform alongside North Carolina Central University (NCCU) percussion lecturer Thomas Taylor and university alumni at the department of music’s annual benefit concert at 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27, at the Sharp 9 Gallery, 4608 Industry Ln., Unit L, in Durham.

Give the Drummer Some, which celebrates jazz excellence and raises scholarship funds for jazz studies students, honors the late Grady Tate, an NCCU alumnus, soul-jazz drummer, singer, renowned self-taught session drummer and rim-shot syncopation expert.

A New Orleans native, Riley is known for his authoritative style of melodic percussion and his former membership in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis. In 2016, he released his debut album, “New Direction,” on Mack Records. Riley has recorded with jazz greats Marcus Roberts, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., George Benson, Benny Wallace, Mark Whitfield. His theater experience includes playing in “One Mo' Time” and “Satchmo: America's Musical Legend.”

The Give the Drummer Some benefit will offer a percussion and music workshop to the public beginning at 2 p.m., Aug. 27, also at the Sharp 9 Gallery. Presenters include Riley and Taylor along with Scott Bruce, Larry Q. Draughn Jr., Jeremy Clemons and Iajhi Hampden.

The concert is $40 and the workshop is $25. To purchase tickets, visit

NCCU was the first university in the state to offer a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree. The Jazz Studies program now includes a comprehensive vocal jazz component and offers a Master of Music degree in both jazz composition and jazz performance. 

NCCU artists-in-residence and GRAMMY Award winners Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo are involved in workshops and other instructional opportunities. Alumni from the jazz studies program include professors at the college and university levels, teachers of primary and secondary music education, as well as production and performance artists. 

For more information, please contact Thomas Taylor at [email protected]  or 919-530-6319. 

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