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#127 Jamie Eckert- Steel Pan/Percussionist, Percussion Faculty at Umass Dartmouth and More!

#127 Jamie Eckert- Steel Pan/Percussionist, Percussion Faculty at Umass Dartmouth and More!

This episode starts with Marcos noting that his hometown of Bridgeport, CT is the fourth worst staycation destination in the USA. Damon is in Madison, WI and will get some deep fried cheese curds.

This week’s guest is Jamie Eckert.

Educational spotlight for this week……

Check out (friend of the show) Brad Dutz and his masterclasses up at the site: My Music Masterclass.

Gig Alerts for this week…….

The Governor’s Ball music festival is issuing refunds for the cancellation on Sunday due to the weather.

R.I.P. to Ramon Banda.

Happy Birthday to the late great, Vic Firth as well as Charlie Watts turning 78. Playing in the background is the song Sympathy for the Devil, recorded by the Rolling Stones. The percussionist on that track is, Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzornu (also known as Rocky Dijon). We also wanted you to check out a version by Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and Robby Ameen featuring Ruben Blades.

Shout-out to the late great Bill Fitch of New Haven. Here is a little background on him from Ed Fast.

The iconic recording is “Insight” by Cal Tjader from the Soña Libré album.

Music News this week…..

iTunes Is Dead: Apple Shifts Away from iTunes and Toward Its Separate Music App. An introduction to ‘hard drum’, the sound shaking up London’s club scene. How to Play Hi-Res Audio on Your iPhone or iPad. American Airlines Eliminates Oversized Baggage Fees for Musical Instruments. Spotify May Soon Launch Another New Feature — Social Listening.

Other news mentioned at the end……

Prosecutors Charge R. Kelly With 11 New Sex Crime Felonies. Moby Cancels Public Appearances as Natalie Portman Blowback Intensifies. Tinder Is Expanding Its ‘Festival Mode’ Hook-Up Concept with a Splendour in the Grass Deal.

Jamie started his musical endeavors in Pennsylvania, studying with John Rosen who also taught (friend of the show) Tom Aungst. He lived nearby where the Reading Buccaneers rehearsed and his dad would bring him to see them. This was when the late great George Parks was the Drum Major for the group.

Jamie started at Mansfield University before heading to Eastern New Mexico University, where he studied with Robert James, Alison Shaw and Robert Ledbetter. Rob James was the front ensemble instructor for the Cadets in the late 1980s and attracted Jamie to that drum corps in 1988. While at ENMU, Jamie did an internship with the New Mexico Symphony in his final year. During the internship, he was able to study with Christopher Shultis and Mexican marimbist named Steven Chavez.

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For grad school, Jamie made his way to West Virginia University to study with Phil Faini, the late Ellie Mannette and even the late Mantle Hood.

Jamie also mentions in addition to losing Ellie, Ken “Professor” Philmore, and Cliff Alexis. If you are wondering what the different types of pans are that make up the steel pan orchestra, you can CLICK HERE for more details. And these are some fun facts about a little of the history.

Jamie mentions that learning tabla may be past him at his age, but in a pinch he can replicate some of the sounds necessary by using an Udu drum, which is a clay drum from Nigeria.

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Jamie was in the front percussion ensemble of the Cadets in 1988 and then taught in 1992, 1993 (spring training) then 1994-2006.

Through reconnecting with Tom Aungst, he also taught at Dartmouth High School and his first year was 1998 with the indoor show Batman.

Jamie is now a percussion professor at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

If you’re looking to get a steel pan for personal use or a set for your school or ensemble, you can check out Panyard.


One of the ensembles at Umass Dartmouth is the Javanese Gamelan led by I. M. Harjito.

Damon asks some stuff to check out if you are a beginner learning steel pans, and Jamie suggests looking into the history of the instrument, like the group the Invaders featuring Ellie Manette.

Jamie mentions also to listen to calypso and soca music. If you don’t know the difference, you can read more about that HERE.

Jamie is an avid gardener, if you are interested in starting your own garden, this is the book Damon used to get started and continues to go back to it as a reference.

Jamie mentions being back in school as a student and is currently learning about Trinidad and Tobago. He brings up the world champion limbo dancer.

Jamie uses Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

You can contact Jamie at Umass Dartmouth: You can follow Jamie on Facebook.

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#128 Dafnis Prieto- Grammy Winning Drummer, Educator, Composer & More!

#128 Dafnis Prieto- Grammy Winning Drummer, Educator, Composer & More!

#126 Michael Compitello- Percussionist with the Collective, KU Percussion Faculty & More!

#126 Michael Compitello- Percussionist with the Collective, KU Percussion Faculty & More!