“It’s about the people, the individual musicians. They love what they do as much as I do and it would be sacrilegious as a composer or a sideman to try to control it.”
This statement from Tim Kuhl informs all of his work. Perhaps such an idea resulted from his early days growing up among many musical siblings in Baltimore, MD. Perhaps it hit when he moved to New York City in 2003. Perhaps it has always been there. Regardless, it is a significant part of how he has become such a respected and critically acclaimed percussionist and composer.
Such philosophy is not without extensive technical training and skill: Classical and Jazz Percussion at Towson University. Years immersed in Symphonic, Orchestral, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Big Band and Small Group, Latin Jazz, Commercial, Jazz Guitar, Theater (Pit Percussion), Modern Classical Composer’s Concert. Classical Percussion studies with Dale Rauschenberg and Michelle Humphreys and Drum Set with Jon Seligman. This diverse and ardent work has resulted in a masterful approach to the drum kit. His unique style and respect have made Kuhl an integral part of the Brooklyn music landscape and a transformative part of outfits that span many musical genres beyond jazz, including avant-garde, rock, and songwriter. They have also taken him around the U.S. and to many other countries.
Kuhl’s extensive technical ability—and what is always a creative, dynamic approach to the kit—never prevent him from searching for the heart of the matter. As he says, “If the emotion is there, you can do plenty with one note.” This attention to detail and supreme ability to listen, to recognize a feeling in one quiet sound, help explain his interests and evolution as a composer. Ghost (2008) balanced musicians from the Baltimore scene with that of New York. King (2009) brought together two voracious guitarists with contrasting styles to great effect. Doomsayer (2011) explored the threat and genius of musical freedom. And his new work, St. Helena (2012), values deeply something subtle and even cinematic.