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Jack DeJohnette: A Drummer Who Stays 'In Movement' By Keeping Good Company

Jack DeJohnette (center) is pictured with Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, who join him on the new album <em>In Movement</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
Jack DeJohnette (center) is pictured with Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, who join him on the new album In Movement.

Recently, two new jazz recordings came my way. One, titled Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest, is an album of never-before-released studio recordings from Germany in 1968. Bill Evans plays piano and Eddie Gomez plays bass — but what made me to listen and re-listen to the album, mostly standards, was the drummer: Jack DeJohnette.

I listened to those nearly 50-year-old studio recordings after I heard about the second new album, In Movement, which features two famous sons of famous jazz fathers. Bassist Matthew Garrison's father was bassist Jimmy Garrison; saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is the son of the great saxophonist John Coltrane. On drums? A man who played with their fathers way back when, Jack DeJohnette.

"The secret is to just keep myself surrounded by innovative and creative musicians that stimulate me," DeJohnette says. "As Miles would say, 'Be prepared to play what you don't know.'"

Now 73, Jack DeJohnette has played with Coltrane, Evans, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett and many, many more. He recently joined us on All Things Considered to talk about pivoting from the piano to the drum kit early in his career, and what's different now that he's the veteran presence in the studio. Hear more at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.