Les Demerle

Native New Yorker Les DeMerle, a jazz drummer and vocalist, is well-known in the area. DeMerle is actually one of few jazz drummers that can simultaneously sing and play the drums. Some jazz drummers have tried to separate the vocal and drum skills. Grady Tate is a skilled drummer, but he also sings well. However, when he recorded TNT: Grady Tate’s vocal-oriented session for Milestone/Fantasy 1991, Tate didn’t play any drums and instead asked Dennis Mackrel for all the drumming. DeMerle on the other hand hasn’t put aside his drums when he wanted to sing. DeMerle is a jazz musician who has been able to sing well. He has featured his wife Bonnie Eisele on at least ten albums. Over the years, DeMerle has supported a number of famous singers, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett, and Wayne Newton, on the pop side, and Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, and Eddie Jefferson, on the jazz side. DeMerle was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 4, 1946. DeMerle was raised by parents who were musicians but were big fans of traditional pop and big bands. DeMerle, whose influences include Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa as well as Chick Webb and Art Blakey, began learning the drums at age 10. By 15, he was playing with Gene Krupa. DeMerle started his own band Sound 67 as a young adult. In late 1970, he joined a 12-year partnership with Harry James, a famous big band trumpeter who died in 1983 from lymphatic cancer. DeMerle performed with James at countless gigs in the 1970s. He also led Transfusion, a fusion band that featured, among others: tenor saxophonists Michael Brecker (who died of lymphatic cancer in 1983), Eric Marienthal (an alto saxophonist), Randy Brecker, Randy Brecker, David Benoit, Raul De Souza, and an electric keyboardist/acoustic piano David Benoit. DeMerle proved that he can play everything from swing and traditional pop, fusion, and modal post-bop. However, DeMerle was a hard bopper above all else. He led large and small bands in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Both of these groups featured Eisele regularly. DeMerle recorded a lot of albums in the 2000s for Origin, based in Seattle. These included Cookin’ at The Corner Volumes 1 u0026 2, The Christmas album The Jazz Spirit of Christmas, and tributes to Blue Note Records, Volumes 1 u0026 2.

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