About The Author
Drummer and percussionist Todd Isler began his career on pots and pans in Mark and Marilyn’s kitchen at the age of 5 and soon graduated to the basement, where the formal study of drums began. He was fortunate to have grown up in Cleveland, where there was a rich and eclectic music scene. His early studies were with Don Friedman in Cleveland and Lenny Nelson at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He later returned to Cleveland to play on the local Jazz circuit and study with South Indian Mridangam master Ramnod V. Raghavan at C.S.U.
The inevitable move to New York City happened in 1985 and he’s been threatening to leave ever since. Todd’s studies continued there with the Brazilian greats Portinho and Vanderlei Pereira as well as the great Jazz drummer Adam Nussbaum. In 1996 he spent three months in Madras, India studying with master drummer Karaikudi R. Mani. His first recording as a leader, “Two Step, Duets and Beyond” , is available now. He is currently working on “Soul Drums”, music for dance and meditation. Mr. Isler has also written several modern dance scores including performances with the D.C., Austin, and Sacramento ballets.
Over the years Todd has been involved in Jazz and World music. In ’97 his collaboration with Danon O’Sow of the Ivory Coast won the Disc Makers New York’s Heavy Hitters contest. That same year he was a winner of the Jazziz Magazine Percussion on Fire contest playing an instrument close to his heart: the Hadgini drum, a double-headed ceramic udu drum developed by Jamey Haddad and Frank Giorgini.
Todd has performed with many great musicians including Dave Liebman, Bakithi Kumalo, Mino Cinelo, Melvin Sparks, and Mark Murphy, to name a few. He has appeared on hundreds of recordings using his unique feel on Hadgini, Kanjira, frame drums and drum set. Todd was also part of a Goethe Institute-sponsored tour of the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya with the great mallet man Stefan Bauer.
Mr. Isler has conducted master classes at NYU, San Francisco State, and the Collective in NYC. To check up on him, go to www.toddisler.com. Todd continues to teach and perform with the Todd Squad and many other groups in New York where, if his car gets broken into one more time, he’s leaving.