Jim Mussen

The Longer Bio:

Born in Berkeley, Cailfornia, during the era of the free speech movement, I grew up following sports, street riots, and Rock and Roll. The first concert I went to was Jimi Hendrix, later doucumented in the movie, "Jimi Plays Berkeley." Feeling the pull of the award winning Berkeley High Jazz program and the yearly Berkeley Jazz Festival, I started to play drums seriously in college, studying with Bobby Bradford and Hal Reese at Pomona in LA, and later at UC Berkely, where I also studied African drumming. After school, I played in the Bay Area with the Devo-influenced Los Microwaves and variety of other groups before moving to NYC in the early 1980's.

In NYC, I studied with Horacee Arnold and Kenwood Dennard at the Drummer's Collective, and with Charlie Persip at Harlem's JazzMobile. Additional studies included master classes with a wide variety of percussionist and drummers, sessions at the Manhattan School of Music and at the Creative Music Studio, in Woodstock, NY. It was at the Creative Music Studio that I met Nick Didkovsky, and we went on to gather the musicians who later formed the seminal avant-jazz-rock band Dr. Nerve, which included Dave Douglas and Marc Wagnon, among others. At the Collective, I joined the nascent samba school Groupo Batucada, and formed close working friendships with Billy Martin and Axel Kroell. Soon, I was playing in many of the early "Downtown" bands and began to play in a wide variety bands, covering the spectrum from the avant-garde to straight ahead Rock and R&B, as well as performing regularly with Batucada.

In the late 80's, prodded along by Axel Kroell (who had started to produce albums) and Tal Bergman (with whom I shared a rehearsal space), I began to explore electronic drums, sampling, and programming, at one point becoming a staff programmer for Bobby Orlando's house music factory, where I met Arty Skye. Later, we began to do sessions at Quad Recording in Times Square, which led to our eventual collaboration in building Skyelab Sound Studios some years later. It was also at this time that I began to tour frequently in Europe and Japan, performing and recording with Elliott Sharp, Love of Life Orchestra, Shadowlines, Ofra Haza, Big Black Cat, and others.

In the 90's, I became a serious drum and percussion programmer, working with Ashford and Simpson, Delta Music, Crushing, Quad Recording, and many others. Continuing to tour occasionally with Ofra Haza, I also put in some serious time traveling and performing with Joan Osborne, Maxwell, and others. After establishing Skyelab Studios in the mid-90's, I began a relationship with James Mtume and New York Undercover, in which I immersed myself in drum programming, sound design, recording technologies, and production coordination. After the demise of NY Undercover, I toured extensively with Ben Neill in a hard hitting drum and bass duo before taking some time to focus on raising a family back home.

Currently, I am working with Ben Neill on a new project, XIX, as well as performing and recording with a variety of NYC based acts.

In addition to performances and recordings, I teach both drums and electronic percussion/digital music concepts, as well as do consulting work in Midi studio, software basics, and computer network design.