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October 5, 2005

Jazz Drummer Keith Copeland

Written by
cindy mcleod

Jazz drum master Keith Copeland is back on the scene in a big way, with his latest performance at the Alte Oper, or ‘Carnegie Hall of Frankfurt’, where he appeared with Gustl Mayer and the Barrelhouse Jazz Band on October 1st.

Mr. Copeland’s performance comes after an arduous climb back to health after suffering a massive stroke and falling into a coma for nearly seven weeks earlier this spring. After emerging from the coma, Keith forged ahead in an impressive recovery that has the medical community and others calling him a walking miracle. He says of his Alte Oper performance “It was the first time that I played for an hour and a half straight with no break in a concert situation. I felt very good that I had the strength to play this long and intensely in this type of situation. I felt very good about my performance with this band and it definitely restores my confidence that I am getting back to the strength that I used to have before I got sick. I want to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me through this very traumatic period in my life. I cannot express how much your support means to me.”

Born in New York, the son of jazz trumpeter Ray Copeland has gone on to become one of the world’s finest jazz drummers, and boasts a discography of well over a hundred recordings, including jazz greats Hank Jones, the Heath Brothers, Charles Brown, Johnny Griffin, Dr. Billy Taylor, Charlie Rouse, and a host of others. He travels the globe performing an astounding number of live dates per year, his recent European appearances include those with Benny Golson, Pee Wee Ellis, and Stafford James. One of the most dedicated and committed musicians to bless the jazz scene, Keith continues to produce music that will last through all of eternity. As an educator of high regard, Keith has resided in Germany for over a decade, where he is currently a professor of jazz drumset and percussion at the esteemed Hochschule Fur Musik in Koln. Mr. Copeland also wrote a leading instruction book Creative Coordination for the Performing Drummer, now in its fourth print and in much demand. Copeland is responsible for growing the jazz genre by leaps and bounds with his performance, recording, and teaching efforts, and has produced a new crop of talents that are taking the gospel of jazz to new limits.

Keith is also a loyal and loving friend, I couldn’t be more elated to hear of his latest conquest over the turbulence of his illness, or more proud to see his insatiable determination help him overcome to return bigger and better than ever.

In the loving embrace of his fans, Keith will continue to give of himself and bring the gift of fine jazz to us all. You make the world a better place, Keith, and are a great inspiration to us all. Bravo to you on your latest and greatest! May we all have the supreme gift of hearing you play many more Carnegie Hall performances!

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