Jazz, Blues

Nigel Bates, born in Oldham, England, recalls some of his earliest memories as being connected to and inspired by music. He remembers his outings after the second world war to Marks and Spencer in Manchester, with his mother, at the age of three as being his first exposure to rhythm. "They had an orchestra on the second floor that played at lunch time in the cafeteria, and I was so taken by the feel of the music that I would get out of my seat and dance in front of the band to the applause of the crowd."

Nigel again started drumming after immigrating to Canada as a young lad. "I had a feeling of rhythm that I just had to express." He was eleven and decided to make his own drums out of wooden ice cream containers and small wooden nail kegs. This led to a life long passion of playing drums and rhythm.

After moving to America in his early teens, he met a drum teacher and started studying and developing a friendship with Forrest Eldritch, session drummer for the Fifth Dimension and Sonny and Cher. "Forrest really pushed rudiments and fundamentals. He convinced me to use conventional grip over standard grip, and he said much later in my drumming career it would develop into the finger method, which is an advantage when playing jazz."

In later years Nigel met and was tutored by the late, great Dave Black, who played with the renowned Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and many other jazz greats. "Dave showed me a lot of grooves and 'tricks', converted me to double bass pedal, but more importantly, he taught me great practice discipline, which really improved my playing on the kit."

Nigel resides in the United States, in Napa, California, and continues to play.