Recently relocated to Portland, OR, Kansas City's TODD STRAIT is not only one of the most in-demand jazz drummers and percussionists in the Midwest, but in recent years he has emerged as a jazz musician of national and international stature.
Raised in Topeka, Kansas, Todd gained the attention of drumming legend Louie Bellson while still in high school by placing in Bellson's Slingerland National Drum Contest. Next would come a string of collaborations with some of the jazz world's finest talent. After moving to New York City in 1980, he joined pianist Marian McPartland's trio in 1982 until 1989, and from '85 to '86 he appeared with guitarist Tal Farlow. Also in 1986, Todd was a member of the 50th anniversary tour of Woody Herman's "Thundering Herd," and soon thereafter began a career as a teacher, clinician and soloist, a career that continues to this day. (Todd was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Missouri/Kansas City from 1989-2002.)
Two of Todd Strait's most significant Kansas City associations have been with singers Karrin Allyson and Kevin Mahogany, both notable jazz stars of the Kansas City music scene in the 1990s. Todd has been a regular member of Allyson's group since 1993, and Mahogany's from 1995-2001. He has traveled the United States, Brazil and Asia with Allyson and has appeared on several of her albums for Concord Jazz. He toured Europe, Japan, Jamaica, the Canary Islands, Brazil and the U.S. with Mahogany.
In addition, Todd has also appeared and/or recorded with many other Kansas City jazz notables including violinist Claude "Fiddler" Williams; piano legend Jay McShann; pianists Paul Smith, Frank Mantooth and Wayne Hawkins; trumpeter Mike Metheny; saxophonists Kim Park and Bill Caldwell; organist Everette DeVan, singers Lisa Henry and Angela Hagenbach; and the popular group "Interstring" featuring Todd, bassist Bob Bowman, and guitarists Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman.
Todd Strait's role as an educator and clinician is very much rooted in the fact that he, too, has been a dedicated student. His teachers have included such respected drummers as Ed Soph, John Riley, Gary Chester, Joe Morello and Michael Carvin. Over the years, Todd has been a featured clinician at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual convention, the University of Kansas Jazz Camp, the Great Plains Jazz Camp in Emporia, Kansas, the University of Missouri/Kansas City Jazz Camp, the Stamford Young Artists Jazz Camp, Stamford, CT, Iowa State University and many other high schools and colleges throughout the Midwest and Hawaii.
'81-89, freelance in and around New York City and New England
'82-'89, Member of Marian McPartland's Trio
'85-'86, Member of Tal Farlow's Trio
'86, Member of Woody Herman's Thundering Herd 50th Anniversary Tour
'90-Present, Member of Karrin Allyson's Group (National, International tours, 6 CDs for Concord Records)
'95-2001, Member of Kevin Mahogany's Road Band (National, International tours/clinics)
Tours with Karrin or Kevin include travel to every state except Alaska.
International tours include France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Canary Islands, Greece, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, Jamaica.
2002, Kansas Day Of Percussion Clinician
DISCOGRAPHY: 50+ CDs, including:
KC -- Karrin Allyson, Kim Park, Frank Mantooth, Jay McShann, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Angela Haganbach, Interstring, Eldar Djangirov, Bill Caldwell, Boulevard Big Band, Mike Metheny, PBT Trio, and more.
St. Louis -- Tom and Ray Kennedy Trio, Christine Hitt, Asa Harris
New York -- Julie Kelly, Sonny Costanzo, Sean Smith, Jim Porcella/Jeff Holmes Big Band (Massachusetts), some comercials for radio/TV
Minneapolis/Chicago -- Terry Burns, Laura Cavianni, Magaret Carlson
Portland, OR -- Mary-Jo Casasanta
1987-Present, Colleges, High Schools, Middle schools throughout the midwest and Hawaii
1990-2002, Adjunct faculty member of UMKC, Kansas City, MO
1993-96, Stamford, Connecticut, "Young Artists Jazz Camp"
1994, Kansas University, Lawrence, KS
1999-present, KU Jazz Camp, Lawrence, KS
1995-Present, Great Plains Jazz Camp, Emporia KS
1996-Present, Educational Clinician for Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Co. and Yamaha Drums
Other camps include: Artist In Residence, Canary Islands (2000 w/ Kevin Mahogany), 1998 Artist in Residence for Iowa State U.
Adjudicate/Performance in midwest area Jazz Festivals.
TV & RADIO
TV/radio appearances in US, Brazil, Europe, Canada,and Japan.
For more information on this jazz great, visit JAM Magazine's feature story, "TODD STRAIT: Sticking To The Music".
Todd Strait endorses Avedis Zildjian cymbals, and Yamaha drums.