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Marcus Gilmore & Friends: Honoring Grandfather Roy Haynes

Already one of New York’s most in-demand young drummers, Marcus Gilmore has performed around the world with some of today’s best known contemporary artists, including Chick Corea, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, Nicholas Payton, John Patitucci, Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Ravi Coltrane, Terence Blanchard, Vijay Iyer, Roy Hargrove, Raul Midon and many others. Gilmore has been repeatedly featured in world renown publications such as The New York Times, DownBeat Magazine, and Modern Drummer.

Gilmore was raised in Hollis, Queens, a New York City neighborhood renowned as a settling place of jazz musicians for decades. His musical pedigree runs deep on both sides of his family. His father, a saxophonist, and his mother, a singer, had a gospel group in the '70s. His uncle Craig Haynes, Roy Haynes' son and also a drummer, lived upstairs. Another uncle Graham Haynes, also son to Roy, is a cornetist, composer and one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective.

Music was inescapable, but Gilmore came to the drums on his own terms. In fact, he had to convince his grandfather that percussion was his passion. "I knew I wanted to be a drummer as a profession at 7 years old," he says. "I knew at that point, but I don't know if everybody else knew I was as serious as I was." It would be three more years until Gilmore received his first drum set. On his 10th birthday, his grandfather gave him the one he'd been using.

Both Haynes and Gilmore started their professional careers as teenagers. But while Gilmore attended LaGuardia High School (New York City's arts magnet), The Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program and The Manhattan School of Music, Haynes is primarily self-taught. "He would say, 'Back in my day it's what you call [being] a natural,'" Gilmore says. "I remember it was so simple, the way he would explain things. 'Just start here, and then take it wherever you want to take it ... that sounds about right,' and that was that.

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