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