New York-based drummer and percussionist Dan Weiss‘ sound is instantly recognizable whenever he plays. His style is comprised of equal parts modern jazz and East Indian rhythms. Weiss grew up with a guitar-playing father and was exposed to music early on. He began playing in his teens when he first heard recordings by Led Zeppelin — he counts John Bonham as his very first influence, and Led Zeppelin IV as the record that convinced him to become a drummer. Soon after, he became a Rush fan and a metalhead. His first 14 years of playing were dominated by rock & roll. It was his drum teacher, Jeff Krause, who introduced him to jazz via records by Max Roach & Clifford Brown, and Count Basie. Weiss changed course almost immediately.
Weiss attended the Manhattan School of Music and received a B.A. in Jazz Percussion & Classical Composition; he later studied tabla with Samir Chatterjee, drum set studies with John Riley, composition work with David Noon, and frame drums with Jamey Haddad. Weiss has four working bands: Dan Weiss Trio (w/Thomas Morgan and Jacob Sacks), the Dan Weiss/Miles Okazaki Duo, the Dan Weiss/Ari Hoenig Duo, and a co-billed collaborative project with Lorenzo Feliciati, Joel Harrison, Roy Powell, and Cuong Vu.
Tintal Drumset Solo
Weiss’ first album was Tintal Drum Set Solo on Chhandayan Records in 2005 (that same year he contributed to David Binney’s Bastion of Sanity on Criss Cross). Now Yes When by the Dan Weiss Trio was on Toneofapitch in 2006, as was his second date as a member of Binney’s band, Cities and Desire. Mirror, recorded with Okazaki, also appeared in 2006. Weiss’ Tabla Solo appeared on Chhandayan in 2007. He guested on rock band Bloody Panda’s Pheromone, and was part of the Jackson Harrison Trio for The Land Tides, issued on Hatology that year. He premiered his composition Trio for Piano, Violin and Percussion in Nova Scotia in 2008, and recorded his first date with Joel Harrison; entitled The Wheel, it was released on Innova. In 2009, Weiss recorded Apti as a member of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition. In 2010, his second large composition, Layas: For Piano, Drums and Orchestras, was conducted by Ohad Talmor and premiered in Portugal. His trio released Timshel on Sunnyside.
Weiss is also an instructor. He provides private instruction for tabla and drum kit, and is a faculty member at both the New School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. His first recorded collaboration with his new band with Feliciati, Joel Harrison, Powell, and Cuong Vu, is entitled Holy Abyss. It was released by Cuneiform Records.