Since his breakthrough gig with Ray Charles in 1972, Turre has worked with an astonishing array of jazz giants: Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Woody Shaw, Pharoah Sanders, Horace Silver, Max Roach, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk-the man Turre refers to as "my teacher."
As drummer with the hard rock band Trapt, Aaron Montgomery has been on the road almost nonstop for two years, playing close to 400 shows. All that road conditioning is about to pay off: the band is returning to the studio to cut the follow-up to their self-titled Warner Bros. debut, a platinum-selling smash.
"Musical genre has never been important to me," says singer/songwriter A.J. Croce. "What matters is the songwriting and the quality of the music."
Croce's five albums back up his words by defying easy categorization. Sure, you can pinpoint some of the jazz, blues, and R&B influences of his early disc, or the British-pop jumping-off points of his more recent recordings. But the true unifying features are A.J.'s skilled songcraft, soulful vocals, and deft piano work.
Over the course of four hit albums, the Deftones have honed one of the most dramatic and distinctive sounds in heavy rock. Their songs pulsate with startling dynamic shifts: vocals veer from whispers to screams. Bone-crunching riffs alternate with delicate, ethereal passages.
Singer/songwriter Marc Cohn has some of the music world's most devoted and patient fans. Since his 1991 debut, which included the adult contemporary hit "Walking in Memphis" and won him a Best New Artist GRAMMY Award, he has only released two additional records: 1993's The Rainy Season, and 1998's Burning the Daze.
Dave Navarro's stints in Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers established him as one of the most innovative guitarists of his generation. And now, thanks to an MTV reality series based on his marriage to actress Carmen Electra and regular appearances on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, he's probably the most visible guitarist as well.
Canadian-born singer/songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson was midway through college when she made a life-defining U-turn, jettisoning her biology studies for a less certain future in music.
"I WAS DOING WELL ACADEMICALLY, TAKING THE LOGICAL ROUTE," SHE SAYS. "But I really wanted to do music! It was my favorite thing. I was playing out and jamming and people started telling me how much they related to my songs. It really inspired me to take it seriously and work at it."
Thanks to Robert Randolph, one of the best-kept secrets in American music is a secret no more.
The young bandleader is a practitioner of a soulful and idiosyncratic style of pedal-steel guitar playing with roots not in Nashville country, but black gospel music.
HAMMOND, WHO GREW UP LISTENING TO EVERYTHING from gospel to Lou Rawls to heavy metal, began singing with his church choir at 12. "I also took a lot of school music lessons," he says. "I was in the school chorus and the band. The first instrument I was attracted to was the drums, then guitar and bass. I'd walk through the music stores as a kid, just plinking on the guitars. I'd pick out little songs that I'd heard, like this." He sings the signature riff from "Smoke on the Water," then continues, "I just understood the instrument--I instinctively knew how to get a good tone out of it."
DRUMMER CHAD SZELIGA'S ROOTS LIE IN JAZZ AND FUNK, YET HE LOVES HIS NEW gig with the riff-heavy rock band, Breaking Benjamin. "Some jazz players see rock as some downbeat, devil-worshipping thing," he says. "But playing rock has brought more attitude and confidence to my drumming."