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Joey Heredia : drums
Joey Heredia

Though some may say that Joey Heredia is a Latin percussionist who added his drumset to the mix, Joey disgrees, "I was always primarily a drumset player. I played my share of timbales, but I was a kit player raised on seventies funk, like Parliament Funkadelics and Sly and the Family Stone."

Heredia's work on a hybrid drum/percussion setup is amazing. While keeping solid drum grooves, in the tradition of his mentor Jeff Porcaro, he calls up images of complete percussion sections, teasing us with rhythmic snippets - little "reminders" of clave or traditional cowbell patterns.

As a teen in East LA, Joey performed with Tower of Power-style horn bands. He felt the kinship between the clockwork precision of funk and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Recalls Joey: "I wanted to groove like a train when I was playing Cuban stuff." In other words, despite the complexity, he wanted to keep a hypnotic rhythmic flow.

Alex Acuna was an early influence on Joey. "He was integrating conceptual ideas from timbales and congas onto the kit," says Joey. "Because of the era he came from, it was very jazz oriented." Joey began to bring similar concepts to funk. He shifted his selection of LP instruments to ensure projection at loud playing volumes. For example, his LP Tito Puente Model Brass Timbales compete easily with snare drum rimshots. "I use 13" and 14" timbales, as opposed to 14" and 15" that timbaleros usually play," explains Joey. "They have a crack to them and the 14" has lots of bottom end." In addition, those sizes take up less space around the drumset. Similarly, he favors the Salsa series bells: he finds that they ring longer and resist denting. In any event, he says, "It's always been LP. When I started playing there weren't all these different companies. It was understood that LP was to percussion the way Zildjian was to cymbals!"

Joey's list of recording credits includes Dianne Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Billy Childs, Tribal Tech, Strunz and Farah, Tania Maria, and songwriter Michael Ruff. A perfect sampler of Joey's work is the CD "Mendoza Heredia Neto: Live in L.A." Also watch for Joey and Yellowjackets' bassist Jimmy Haslip on Marilyn Scott's new album. All things equal, Joey's own bands, Groove Gallery and Jazz Funk a La Go Go, will record soon.