Critics & Opinions Jack DeJohnette Homepage

Miles on Jack DeJohnette:
"The sound of my music was changing as fast as I was changing musicians, but I was still looking for the combination that could give me the sound I wanted. Jack DeJohnette gave me a certain deep groove that I just loved to play over, (...)
Jack DeJohnette left the group late in 1971, around the same time Keith Jarrett left. I wanted the drummer to play certain funk rhythms, a role just like everybody else in group had. (...) Now, Jack could play drums like a motherfucker in groove; he could really do that shit, but he also wanted to do other things, play a little freer, be a leader, do things his own way, so he left. (...)
In the band with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, Keith and Jack dictated where the sound went and what they played, the rhythms they laid down. They altered the music and then the music just pushed itself out into something else. Can't anybody else play music like that because thay they didn't have Keith and Jack."

Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe - "Autobiography"
Simon & Schuster

Some critics' opinions:

"A premier percussionist and drummer, as well as fine pianist, composer, electric keyboards and melodica soloist, Jack DeJohnette has been a familiar face on the jazz scene since the '60s. He's often considered the finest modern jazz drummer of the '70s after Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, and has worked and/or led jazz-rock, free, pop, rock, reggae, bebop and hard bop groups, distinguishing himself no matter the context. DeJohnette can provide a steady, sustained pulse indefinitely, or break up the beat and redirect it. He's a marvelous percussionist, can be an equally remarkable timekeeper, uses brushes expertly, and can either provide booming volume or soft underpinning. DeJohnette was an eclectic drummer and artist long before the term became a defining virtue. He's led numerous bands and done even more recording sessions. DeJohnette played drums in a high school concert band in Chicago, and took classical piano lessons for 10 years. He graduated from the American Conservatory of Music and spent his early days working in all types of bands in Chicago from R&B and soul to free jazz, while maintaining a busy practice schedule on drums and piano. He moved to New York in 1966, and worked with Big John Patton. DeJohnette later played with Jackie McLean, Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln. His first job that won him major recognition outside jazz circles came in Charles Lloyd's late '60s quartet. They were the first jazz band to visit the Soviet Union and also play several rock halls. Lloyd's band toured Europe six times, the Far East once, and enjoyed crossover attention via Lloyd's "Forest Flower" cut. DeJohnette kept busy in New York, working with John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, his Lloyd bandmate Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Stan Getz. DeJohnette also worked with Miles Davis, playing on the BITCHES BREW album and joining the band full-time in 1970. He remained with them until 1971. DeJohnette's first band was a jazz-rock group called Compost. He was almost ECM's house drummer in the '70s, appearing on sessions with Kenny Wheeler, Jarrett, John Abercrombie, Jan Garbarek and George Adams. He had a separate deal as a bandleader, and recorded with his groups New Directions in the '70s and Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition in the '80s. New Directions debut album won the Prix du Jazz Contemporain de l'Academie Charles Cros in 1979. DeJohnette continued recording for ECM in the '80s. He's also recorded for Milestone, Columbia, Landmark, MCA/Impulse and Prestige. He's played with Bennie Maupin, David Murray, Lester Bowie, Arthur Blythe, Slex Foster, Chico Freeman, Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny and Nana Vasconcelos among others. During the '90s, DeJohnette has been responsible for some original blends of Native American music and jazz. There are currently several DeJohnette titles available on CD, including a recent trio session with Metheny and Herbie Hancock."
Ron Wynn

"Drums, piano, melodica. A classical piano student for over a decade and an American Music Conservatory graduate, it is drums rather than keyboards that have become Jack DeJohnette's instrument of choice. His background in R&B, free, and everything else got him regular work in Chicago before he moved to New York in 1966. His playing with the Charles Lloyd Quartet in the late 60s provided a final break after prior stints with John Patton, Jackie McLean, Abbey Lincoln, and Betty Carter. DeJohnette is unmatched as a timekeeper and anchor, and has led jazz-rock, hard-bop, and all other styles of groups"
Ron Wynn