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#113 Steve Houghton- Drummer, Educator & Writer!

#113 Steve Houghton- Drummer, Educator & Writer!

Today’s episode features Mr. Steve Houghton. Internationally renowned jazz drummer, percussionist, clinician, author, and educator, Steve Houghton initially received acclaim at age twenty as the drummer with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd. Since then he has shared stage and studio with luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Stryker, Clay Jenkins, Shelly Berg, Jared Gold, Lyle Mays, Bob Sheppard, Billy Childs, Bobby Hutcherson, Pat LaBarbara, Bobby Shew, Geoff Keezer, Bob Bowman, Walter Smith III , Wayne Bergeron, Bill Cunliffe, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Allee, Joe Henderson, Ray Brown, Eddie Henderson, among others.

As a bandleader Houghton’s discography includes:  AHA Trio – Brother to Brother,  Steve Houghton Trio – Beautiful Friendship,  Driftin’- AHA Trio plus oneThe AHA! Quintet – FreespaceThe Manne We Love: Gershwin Revisited, a recent release of John Williams’ charts for big band and quintet, Live @ The Senator – Steve Houghton QuintetWindsongRemembrances, and Steve Houghton Signature Series. In total Houghton attributes more than one hundred recordings to his credit as a participating artist. As a classical percussionist, Houghton has performed with the Boston, and Philadelphia Pops orchestras, the U.S. Army Band, as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He frequently appears as a soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world.

As an author, Houghton’s publications boast more than thirty educational books, videos and DVDs including: Drumset 101, Kid’s Drumset Course- books 1 & 2, Essential Styles- books 1 & 2, The Ultimate Drumset Chart Reading Anthology (Alfred), Play and Teach Percussion (GIA), and The Drumset Soloist (WB), and his latest project, Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors (Alfred) which is a DVDbook series that addresses the entire rhythm section. He has recently created two new educational series for the Vic Firth website, entitled: Rhythm Section 101, and The Jazz Trio – An Inside View, in addition to many online lessons on jazz drumset.

Houghton is Professor of Percussion and Jazz at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In addition to his academic duties, he presents yearly clinics and master classes to students around the world, most recently in Germany, England, China, New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan. Houghton is a Past- President of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) a founding member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN).

The Educational Spotlight for this week……

Auditions for the the 2019 Collegiate All-Star Percussion Ensemble at PASIC, led by James Campbell are open for eligible candidates.

Festival Alerts for this week…..

SXSW (South By Southwest) festival is coming up in March which features conferences and performances in Austin, TX for musicians, comedians, filmmakers and more! Also, Jambase is website which lists all of the major festivals happening around the world if you’d like to check in and see where your favorite artists are playing.

R.I.P. to Kofi Burbidge and sending love to our friends in the Tedeschi Trucks Band.


The Oscars were on Sunday and Ludwig Goransson Wins Best Original Score for 'Black Panther'. You can hear some of that music by CLICKING HERE. Rickey Minor was the musical director for the night. Big shoutout to Bradley Cooper for performing with Lady Gaga the hit song from the movie they starred in together.

The Iconic Recording this week is “King Kong” by John Pattitucci on his album titled ‘Imprint’. This track features: Chris Potter-Tenor Sax, Danilo Perez-Piano, John Pattitucci-Upright Bass, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez-Drums & Giovanni Hidalgo-Congas (and percussion).

Product review for this week……

The LP Banda Snare. 8.5”x14” Stainless steel shell with 24 lugs. Latin Percussion developed this snare drum to meet the sonic and rigorous quality demands of Banda musicians but the 8 1/2" x 14" snare is equally at home in Salsa, Timba, as well as Rock and Pop music. Constructed of the same stainless steel used in LP Timbales with extruded aluminum lugs the snare is cutting, full and robust and the perfect compliment to any timbale set up. If you are curious about Banda Music, You can watch this VIDEO. The percussion comes in about 0:30 in.

Music News for this week…..

YouTube Launches New Mini-Series for Emerging Artists, Starting with Billie Eilish. TIDAL Unveils a $1 Million Artist Grant Program, Starting In Detroit, MI. Sound Royalties Commits $3M in Loans to Artists Impacted by PledgeMusic's Financial Troubles. Update, since the release of our podcast, R. Kelly has been released on bail.

The song leading into the interview is called “The Song is You” by the AHA! Trio.

Steve grew up in Wisconsin, attending the University (Go Badgers!) for a year before transferring to the University of North Texas (from seeing the big band perform). He spent a lot of time hanging and playing with Lyle Mays. Steve left UNT and joined the Woody Herman’s big band.

While at UNT, Steve mentions there really wasn’t a drumset teacher for applied lessons like there is now (shout-out to Ed Soph), so he studied contemporary percussion first (more commonly found in an orchestral setting).

Steve has written tons of books and they cover a wide variety of topics. You can peruse the catalog and then purchase them by clicking THIS LINK HERE.

When Steve was in L.A. he was teaching at Musicians Institute (MI), formerly known as PIT (Percussion Institute & Technology).

The gig he had in Vegas when he started writing a bunch of his books was with Paul Anka. One of the first gigs Steve got when he moved to L.A. was with the Japanese pianist, Toshiko Akiyoshi. From there he went on to play with the Bill Holman Big Band and the Bob Florence Big Band and then onto lots of studio work. Thanks to Billy Childs, Steve ended up with Freddie Hubbard. Around the same time Steve played with Scott Henderson and Tribal Tech.

Steve brings up the “Small Victories” presentation he gave at PASIC and then he and Damon go through the “bullet points” (See pictured below)

Small Victories 1.jpg
Small Victories 2.jpg

If you would like to see the full PDF, email: It is too big to link to the show notes here.

Steve was referring to a bass player in the Mel Lewis big band. Depending on what year it was, you can figure it out by checking the roster in this LINK HERE.

Some of the other student videos can be found by clicking these following links: Crabby Curmudgeon, The Youngest Son of a Farmer, SophomoreNymph of the Black Forest, If and Only If, Like Branches in a River, & Three ways to get closer to Gadd.

The video Damon refers to about teaching for the future by Tommy Igoe can be seen below…..

Steve endorses, Yamaha drums and percussion, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Remo world percussion products and drumheads.

You can follow Steve on his Website, and YouTube.

The song leading out of the interview is “Claude’s Crib” by the AHA! Trio.

#114 Brad Dutz- Multi-Percussionist & Faculty at Cal State Long Beach!

#114 Brad Dutz- Multi-Percussionist & Faculty at Cal State Long Beach!

#112 Joe DeVito- CPA (Tax tips to maximize your money & avoid being audited)!!!

#112 Joe DeVito- CPA (Tax tips to maximize your money & avoid being audited)!!!