Ed Pias

Ed Pias earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Washington in 1996 in Percussion Performance completing his Dissertation: ‘North Indian Rhythms On The Drum Set’. He received his Masters Degree from the California Institute of the Arts in 1988, and his Bachelors Degree from the Berklee College of Music in 1986.

Ed performs regularly on drum set, frame drums and hand percussion in the Seattle area both as a soloist and with groups such as The Mike Bisio Quintet, The Bill Smith Trio, in duos with cellist Lori Goldston (Nirvana), violinist Eyvind Kang, and in groups led by Stuart Dempster, Joe McPhee, Vinnie Golia and Jabali Billy Hart. He also accompanies North Indian Classical Dhrupad singer Shantha Benegal and David Hykes, Founder and Master of Harmonic Chant, playing pakhawaj. In addition, Ed has artist endorsments with SABIAN Cymbals, REMO Inc., and is a GRAVELVOICE recording artist.

Ed is featured on CD recordings by LAND (Extreme), PROJECT W (Apraxia) and THE MIKE BISIO QUINTET (Cadence). In addition, Ed has articles published in 5/4 Magazine (Feb.- March ’96), and in Rhythm Magazine (Aug.-Dec. 1989), where he wrote a monthly article, ‘Inside World Music’, on the application of various World Music concepts to the drum set.

At Cal-Arts, Ed studied Jazz and World Music with Charlie Haden, John Bergamo, Taranath Rao and K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat. He also accompanied a list of visiting artists that includes Branford Marsalis, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, Henry Threadgill, Julius Hemphill, Leroy Jenkins and John Cage.

Ed Pias uses the drum set, frame drums and hand percussion as a means of musical self expression. He has devoted himself to combining a thorough historical knowledge with the soloistic, texturally interactive qualities that these instruments have to offer in unlimited musical situations. Ed also uses them as a means of blending rhythms of different cultures, and since 1987 has devoted much of his career to learning the traditional pakhawaj and tabla drumming of North India. He considers these elements of rhythm, pulse, and color an integral part of his percussive style.

“…a genuine artist, literate in Jazz and World Music forms…he has truly embraced the spirit of improvisation, loosening the reigns as a form of conscious expression…he can feel-think his way through any musical situation with a wisdom that is never pretentious…” (Rhythm Magazine, Los Angeles, ’89).

Pakhawaj- A barrel shaped, two headed drum from North India with a deep, rich sound used for accomponying Hindu Temple ceremonies and, a style of North Indian Classical Music called ‘Dhrupad’.

Tabla- Believed to be related to the pakhawaj, a two drum set used to accompany the more modern ‘Khyal’ style of North Indian Classical Music.

Kanjira- A South Indian small, pressure tambourine with a large range of pitches. Used to accompany Carnatic vocal and instrumental music.

Frame Drums- Any drum where the circumference of the head is larger than the depth of the shell, and common to every continent. With a variety of textures and rhythms, frame drums are used in religous as well as secular musics.

Riq- A powerful Middle Eastern tambourine with heavy jingles used as accompanyment all over the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Ankle Rattles- Pods from West Africa clipped and roped together, wrapped around the ankles and used for stomping patterns.