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Steve Smith
Journey/ Vital Information / Steps Ahead

Steve Smith's drumming, while always decidedly modern, can best be described as a style that embodies the history of U.S. music. His original love of rudimental parade drumming is evident in his intricate solos. Likewise, his command of jazz, from New Orleans music, swing, bebop, avant-garde to fusion, is applied with his powerful rock drumming sensibilities and allows him to push the boundaries of all styles to new heights. His musical focus is committed to the exploration of improvised music incorporating styles as diverse as Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk, Cajun and South Indian Carnatic.

In 1974 Smith's professional career began in full, at 19 years old, with his tenure in the Lin Biviano Big Band, which he toured and recorded with for the next two years. At that same time he also performed with bebopper Buddy DeFranco and was a member of free-jazz group The Fringe featuring George Garzone. In 1976, Smith began his association with jazz/fusion by joining violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's group and recording the 1977 landmark fusion album Enigmatic Ocean, which also featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth. It was while touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to the attention of a rock audience.

With Journey, Smith toured around the world and recorded numerous successful albums including the immensely popular Escape (Columbia 1981) and Frontiers (Columbia 1983), both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits and worldwide sales of over 80 million albums. In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player. Over the past 30+ years, Smith has played on many hits with such diverse artists as Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Zucchero, Claudio Baglioni, Andrea Bocelli, Y&T, Dweezil Zappa, Ray Price, Corrado Rustici and Savage Garden.

Smith began leading his own fusion band Steve Smith and Vital Information while still a member of Journey, the group recorded their first album in 1983. Vital Information's release, Where We Come From, was voted Best Contemporary Jazz Recording Of 1998 by the Association For Independent Music. The band's 2007 Hudson Music release, Vitalization, has gathered critical acclaim around the world. The album features Steve's interest and abilities with rhythms from India including the South Indian rhythmic vocal art-form: Konnakol. Vital Information’s 2012 release, LIVE! One Great Night, is the first in a series of new recordings to be released to celebrate the group’s 30th Anniversary.


Smith has also maintained an extensive touring and recording career, appearing with many jazz luminaries such as Mike Mainieri's group Steps Ahead. This band, which included virtuosos such as Michael Brecker, Richard Bona and Mike Stern, was one of the most successful electric jazz groups and Smith contributed greatly to their tight, energetic sound for seven years (1986-1993 and again from 2005-present). Other high profile jazz touring and/or recording gigs that have filled the drummer's schedule include such artists as Ahmad Jamal, Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, Zakir Hussain, George Brooks' Summit and the Buddy Rich Big Band, with whom he has performed in many tribute concerts to the late drumming idol. He also rejoined Journey in 1996 to record the reunion album Trial By Fire (Columbia 1996). Smith's calendar often includes many drum clinics in which he is able to display his phenomenal techniques and concepts to drumming students around the world.

In 1998, Smith produced and played on 16 electric jazz albums for the Tone Center label with a revolving cast of talented players including Dave Liebman, Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm, Tom Coster, Larry Coryell, Jerry Goodman, Howard Levy, Steve Marcus, Scott Henderson and Victor Wooten. In 2003 Steve Smith and Buddy's Buddies -- the Buddy Rich alumni quintet -- released two CDs on the Tone Center label that were record live at the famous London jazz club Ronnie Scott's; Very Live at Ronnie Scott's Set One and Set Two. In 2009 Tone Center release a compilation music called: The Best of Steve Smith-The Tone Center Collection. In 2004 Steve toured with Soulbop, and all-star group featuring Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, David Kikoski, Victor Bailey and Hiram Bullock. In 2005 the group released a live CD entitled Soulbop Band Live.

Smith's explosive solos and intricate timekeeping served to gain him much acclaim from sources such as Modern Drummer magazine, whose readers recently voted him the #1 Fusion Drummer of 2012. He has been voted #1 “All-Around” Drummer five years in a row, in 2001 Modern Drummer magazine named Steve as one of the "Top 25 Drummer of All Time", in 2002 he was voted into the “Modern Drummer Hall of Fame” and in 2003 his Hudson Music DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique - History of the U.S. Beat was voted #1 Educational DVD of 2003. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 Drum! magazine readers poll voted Smith #1 Jazz Drummer, and in 2009 Drum! readers voted Steve Smith Drum Legacy - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants the #1 educational DVD.

In 2005 Steve was invited to be first drumset artist to perform at Zakir Hussain’s annual concert in Mumbai, India called Homage to Abbaji, a concert dedicated to the memory of Zakir’s father and tabla guru, Allahrakha. In 2009 Steve played at Carnegie Hall in NYC with a special quartet version of Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion that also featured “Vikku” Vinayakram and Giovanni Hidalgo. In 2010 The Raga Bop Trio featuring Prasanna, George Brooks and Smith released an album on the Abstract Logix label and toured extensively. In 2011 & 2012 Steve has been touring with the virtuosic jazz pianist Hiromi as a member of her “Trio Project” which also featured Anthony Jackson on bass.

Todd Sucherman
Styx/Brian Wilson

2015 saw Todd Sucherman win the Modern Drummer Readers Poll for #1 Progressive Rock Drummer as well as #1 Clinician in DRUM! Magazine all the while touring the world with the multi platinum rock band Styx. His “Methods and Mechanics” instructional DVD series has won multiple awards, and he remains an in demand drummer for recording sessions, clinics and drum festivals all over the world.

Todd attended Berklee College of Music for one year. There he studied privately with Gary Chaffee, a world renowned educator with former students the likes of Steve Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta.

In 1988, Todd returned to Chicago and quickly established himself as a first call musician in the recording scene. As an in demand player for live and session work, this led to his association with the band Styx. Todd was called in to record when Styx’s John Panozzo was ill. After John Panozzo’s untimely death, Todd’s position in the band was solidified.

Thirteen years later Styx continues to play to millions of fans all over the world averaging 100 dates a year. Todd has recorded several albums with the band including “Big Bang Theory” which put the band in the top 50 on Billboard for the fourth straight decade. In-between his time with Styx he’s recorded over 1000 radio and TV spots and worked with artists diverse as Peter Cetera, Brian Culbertson, Spinal Tap, Michael Bolton, The Falling Wallendas, Eric Marienthal, and Brian Wilson (including his 2003 release with Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Elton John.) Todd has been an in demand clinician performing at drum festivals around the world.

After years of touring and recording, Sucherman began work on his much anticipated instructional DVD release “Methods and Mechanics." In this presentation that Modern Drummer magazine called “a stunning achievement” and “one of the most stunning looking and sounding DVDs ever”, Sucherman brings the knowledge of thousands of gigs, shows and recording sessions along with over three decades as a professional drummer to this useful and unique DVD package.

- Sucherman won the Modern Drummer Magazine Reader’s poll for #1 Educational DVD as well as #1 Rock Drummer for 2009, as well as #1 Clinician in DRUM!

- 2011 saw the release of the “Methods and Mechanics” companion/Transcription book as well as the much anticipated DVD sequel, “Methods and Mechanics II” which has just won “Best in Show” at the 2012 NAMM show in Anaheim, California. “Methods and Mechanics II” also won best educational DVD in DRUM! Magazine reader’s poll in 2012.

Todd continues to tour the with STYX and record with various artists. He is also an in demand clinician and educator world wide.
 
Will Calhoun
Living Colour

Will Calhoun graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received a Bachelors degree in Music Production and engineering. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Award for outstanding performance by a drummer.

Special Kudos for Will's drumming virtuosity include:

- Best New Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine's Readers Poll
- Number One Progressive Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine's Readers Poll three times
- Best Drummer by Rolling Stone Magazine's Critics Poll

Will Calhoun's unique blend of improvisational and hard rock drumming can be found on each of Living Colour's four Epic releases: the ground breaking multi-platinum debut, Vivid, the critically acclaimed sophomore LP, Time's Up, the Biscuits EP, and Stain, as well as their latest release on Sanctuary Records, CollideØscope. A prolific song writer, Will has co-written many Living Colour compositions and wrote the critically acclaimed song, "Pride," on the Time's Up album and "Nothingness" on the Stain album. As a member of Living Colour, Will received a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance by a group and another Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Living Colour also won an International Rock Award for Best Rock Band.

In addition to his work with Living Colour, Will has recorded and/or toured with diverse artists including B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jaco Pastorious, Harry Belafonte, Pharoah Sanders, Jack Dejohnette, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, The Allman Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Marcus Miller, Dr.John, Carly Simon, Herb Alpert, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood, Wayne Shorter (on the Grammy-winning CD "High Life"), Lauryn Hill, and recorded with rappers Run-DMC and Public Enemy. As a producer, player, and songwriter, Will has worked on Herb Alpert's Grammy-nominated CD, Colors.

During Will's down time he has managed to record two solo projects Housework and Drum Wave. These discs provide an alternate canvas for his acoustic drumset artistry as well as his push for electronic tonal expressions.


Will, Doug Wimbish, and Vinx joined forces to form the groundbreaking Ambient World Music band JUNGLE FUNK. Their live CD Jungle Funk is available on Zebra Records in the States. The group combines mastery of technology with musicianship. This rare and cutting edge disc was given the Album of the Year mention in Australia.

Will's first jazz CD as a bandleader is entitled The Will Calhoun Quintet: Live at the Blue Note. The disc is an adventurous journey through Will's approach to acoustic Jazz, World and Ambient music. The line-up features Bobby Watson-sax, Terrell Stafford-trumpet, John Benitez-bass and Orrin Evans-piano. Will's song writing, arrangements and drumming on this CD are ground breaking. Although this was Will's first attempt at fronting a jazz group, Down Beat Magazine, Jazz Times, and BillBoard Magazine have given the CD top ratings. Drum Magazine's readers poll voted Will's CD 1st runner up for Drummer/Band leader.

Will has worked with rapper Mos Def, both as a producer and performer. Will brought together an all-star lineup for this project, featuring artists like: Bernie Worrell on keys, Doug Wimbish on bass, Doc Know, the guitarist from Bad Brains, and other special guests. The Band is titled Black Jack Johnson, and several tracks from this band were featured on Mos Def's CD The New Danger. Keep your eyes and ears open for a full length Black Jack Johnson CD. It will be in the usual cutting-edge Calhoun fashion.

One of Will's latest creations is his follow-up release on the Halfnote label: Native Lands. Native Lands can be described as Jazz meets World, meets trance-inducing Urban music. This is a double package - CD/DVD in which Calhoun marries his far reaching interests in a genre-bending collection that taps key expressionists from various backgrounds. Among those contributing are Pharoah Sanders, Mos Def, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Miller and Wallace Roney, as well as Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil and Cheick Tidiane Seck from Mali. The album includes a DVD with over ninety minutes of music videos and documentary materials that chronicle the last ten years of Will's life and travels. Will is presently touring in support of this project with his group, variously called "AZA" or "Native Lands", which features various artists from the album and other outstanding musicians.
 
Simon Phillips
(Hiromi/Protocol)

Simon Phillips one of the world's most renowned and respected drummers, whose style not only reflects both a technical gift but and a distinct musical sensibility. Whether it is rock, fusion or jazz, Simon applies the same precision and intensity to his drumming, which is never lacking in emotion and feel.

Simon's professional musical career began at the early age of twelve, performing and recording with his father's Dixieland band until he turned 16. With an offer to play in the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," his path was marked and his career in full bloom. Simon soon became one of London's most celebrated session drummers.

In his early twenties, Simon was well on his way to having a very special career. Within a few years,  he had toured and recorded with many bands and artists, including: Mick Jagger, The Who, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears, Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Michael Schenker, Nik Kershaw, Phd., Al DiMeola, 801, Pete Townshend, Russ Ballard, Robert Palmer, Stanley Clarke, The Pretenders, Jon Anderson, Whitesnake and Dave Gilmour... to name a few.

In 1992, Simon decided to move to the USA, coinciding with being asked to join Toto for their world tour. After recording the Toto album "Tambu" in 1995, another year of touring followed in 1996, covering Europe, Japan, SE Asia and South America.

In 1997, Simon took a break from Toto in order to reach a personal milestone: He took his own band on tour, and for the first time he was the bandleader, and it was his music. This great year included tours of Europe, Japan and The United States, and a performance at The North Sea Jazz Festival.

1998 saw the recording of another Toto studio album entitled "Mindfields," followed by two years of touring around the world of which the live CD "Livefields" captures. The most recent Toto's "Through the Looking Glass" took the band in 2002/03 on extensive concert trips to Europe and Asia.


Expanding his career from drumming to writing solo projects, Simon recorded his first album "Protocol" in 1988, followed by "Force Majeure" in 1992. "Symbiosis," which he recorded in 1995, was as spirited but more inspired than ever, and showed a change of direction in the compositions. Simon likes to link his growth in songwriting and new artistic depth to his move to the States. The 1997 record "Another Lifetime" shows yet another layer of his tremendously resourceful playing and an even more motivated composing. "Out of the Blue", a live album, followed in 1998 and in 1999 another complete change of style took place in his latest record "Vantage Point", which is a pure, straight ahead jazz album.

Yet another expansion to Simon's musical career is producing and engineering, which he first started back in England with British composer Mike Oldfield, working on three albums with him. Aside from his solo projects, Simon also co-produced Toto's "Tambu" in 1995, followed by "Mindfields" in 1998. Simon was asked to engineer the latest Toto album, and spent a couple of months during the winter of 2001/02 recording "Through the Looking Glass" in his own studio. Simon is currently back in his studio mixing a recently recorded show for the next Toto DVD.

In 2000 Simon took a break from Toto and recorded with Derek Sherinian, formally of Dream Theater, as well as produced and engineered "Inertia". The following year included the recording of progressive band Planet X, "Moonbabies" and mixing a live CD "Live From Oz".

More recently, Simon has been recording and touring with his band, Protocol and also with jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara. Hiromi - The Trio Project exploits many sides of Simon: the touch and feel of his jazz playing, the intricacy of his fusion playing, he power of his rock playing, and the kind of accompaniment that truly sets him apart.
 
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Steven Orkin
Owner / Camp Director

Steven Orkin is the owner and director of Drum Fantasy Camp. He also runs Orkin Marketing Consultants, a music marketing firm in Los Angeles, California.

Orkin spent ten years in corporate marketing and the ad agency world before starting his firm. He started Drum Fantasy Camp in 2007 to address fan interest in learning with two of his clients - Steve Smith and Dave Weckl.

Orkin now manages marketing communications for Weckl, Smith, Mike Stern, and others, while working with Hudson Music on music education projects.

Kevin Jensen
Manager / Vic's Drum Shop

Kevin Jensen is the hard-working manager at Vic's Drum Shop - our host location for Drum Fantasy Camp. He's also a great drummer and multi-instrumentalist!

While managing operations at the store, Kevin organizes and coordinates all the gear needed to run the camp. He has done an amazing job elevating the store and its online presence.

His contributions are invaluable to Drum Fantasy Camp and our attendees!
 
 
One of many things that separates Drum Fantasy Camp from any other drum education experience: getting to learn from and play with four top musicians who also happen to be fantastic people!

Jimmy Haslip
Bass

Jimmy Haslip is one of the world's most respected and in-demand bass players.

A founding member of legedary jazz group The Yellowjackets, Jimmy is also well-known for his work with guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Oz Noy, to name a few. And he knows his drummers: playing with Dave Weckl, Virgil Donati, and many more.

We're excited to add Jimmy to the Drum Fantasy Camp family!

Stu Mindeman
Keyboards

Stuart Mindeman is a versatile pianist/keyboardist skilled in various styles of music including Jazz, Pop, R&B, Classical, Salsa/Latin music, Gospel, and more.

He has shared the stage with such names as Fareed Haque, Gloria Estefan, Rodney Whitaker, Claudio Roditi, John Clayton, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, and many others. He is also active in Chicago’s Theater community, musically directing for The Second City, among others.

In addition to performing, Stuart maintains a private studio, and is on faculty at the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Chrissi Poland
Vocals, Keyboards

Chrissi Poland has been the heart and soul of Drum Fantasy Camp since it started in 2007!

A graduate of Berklee with a four-octave range, Chrissi is the energetic leader of our Jam Nights and opening concerts. A composer and recording artist in her own right, Chrissi has toured/recorded with artists including Moby, Bette Midler, Scissor Sisters and Sam Moore.

Chrissi is a true pro who challenges Drum Fantasy Camp attendees to play with confidence, passion, and solid musical sensibilities.

Vinny Valentino
Music Director
Guitar, Vocals

Vinny Valentino is a world-class guitarist and educator. He is best-known for his work with the legendary George Benson and Steve Smith's fusion band Vital Information.

Vinny is a "musician's musician." He plays "in the pocket" and chooses his notes carefully. He's a writer, arranger, and performer of the highest order. He is also a great teacher - helping drummers understand how to be more musical.

Vinny's company, "Play Along Jazz," produces play along tracks for musicians of every background and playing level.
 
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