Drummer, Percussionist, Composer and Producer Clemens Grassmann has played and recorded with many musicians worldwide and his playing draws on a diverse array of styles, including Jazz, Rock, Pop, RnB, Soul, Funk, Afro-Cuban, Latinjazz, Brazil, Middle-Eastern and World Music. He is involved in various musical projects based around New York City including his own group, which just released Labyrinths & Tales, his first album as a bandleader. Clemens also appears on recording withs Yousif Yaseen (“Visions”) and acclaimed rock band Swanky Tiger (“Mechanical Nightmares”). Clemens offers live music for all kinds of events such as weddings, galas, hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs and fe
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Languages: English, French, German, Spanish
Clemens Grassmann was born on March 2nd in Berlin, Germany. Born to a musical family; his father is a well known guitar player and famous for his radio-, televison- and live music appearances in the old West Berlin and beyond; Clemens was introduced to music at an early age. His father started teaching him how to play the guitar, the keyboard and recorder as Clemens was growing up, but noticed soon that his son started tapping on the keys instead of playing them, had no interest in practicing guitar and used his recorder as an improvised drum stick on various surfaces. Thus, on a warm summer day in June 2000, when Clemens was just about two years before finishing elemtary school, his father asked him a single, yet very essential question: "Son, I have taught you guitar, keys, recorder, but let's be honest here. Which instrument do you want to play?" - "Drum Set."
Therefore, Clemens started playing Drumset at the age of ten. His father knew quite a lot of drummers in town that he used to and is still playing and performing with, so he got Clemens a good deal and soon realized he hit the bull's eye. Clemens' elementary school had a show coming up with the school choir and was trying to find a band as accompaniment. Clemens, just after his second drum lesson was summoned to be the school drummer and after that very first show of his life, Clemens noticed that this could go on forever.
Clemens elevated his playing to a different level as he joined the high school Big Band at the Albert-Einstein Oberschule in Berlin-Britz as well as a special music study preparational program in the city; with the program being intimately connected with the Jazz Institute Berlin and the ambition to become a professional musician. Being selected as the drummer for the Berlin Youth Jazz Orchestra (Berliner Jugend Jazz Orchester, BJJO) from 2009 through 2011 tremendously shaped Clemens' art and craft and allowed him to collaborate with outstanding German musicians. Here, he worked together with award-winning drummer and composer Diego Piñera, who aroused a strong passion for latinamerican music in Clemens and helped him discover these roots.
In the Summer of 2011 and having studied with Prof. Mario Würzebesser for more than three years, Clemens moved to Dresden, Germany, to study Jazz-Rock-Pop Drumset at the Hochschule für Musik Carl-Maria-Von-Weber Dresden, with Prof. Sebastian Merk and Prof. Michael Griener. Here is when Clemens truly realized that he could not live without music and that he desired to turn his hobby and passion into professionalism as he was also enriching his craft with more essentials of music such as electronic instruments and music engineering.
After two years in Dresden, Clemens received a scholarship during the Berklee Umbria Summer Clinics Program to attend Berklee College of Music and moved to Boston, MA, in Fall 2013 to pursue his studies. This decision to make such a big move changed his life. After 22 years of living, studying and learning in Germany, Clemens was hungry for more and found out that in order to dig deeper into Blues, Jazz, Rock, Soul, RnB, Latin and Popular music, he had to study the culture and traditions in the country of its creation.
But before sallying out for this next chapter of his life and musical career, Clemens decided to study Cuban Percussion in Havana, Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo and therefore went to visit the country for one month. This journey deeped his interest in afro-american and carribean cultures to an extend that he would have never assumed before as he incorporated Rumba, Son, Salsa, Mambo and Timba styles into his playing and thus gave it a very percussive and interactive facet, rooting from West-African cultures which developed further in the West Indies and the Carribean.
When moving to Boston, Clemens already embraced various different aspects and essentials of various music styles. He was eager to expand his knowledge and work hard for as much as he could possibly learn. Clemens had the incredible opportunity to study and play with professors and mentors such as Ron Savage, Neal Smith, Kenwood Dennard, Billy Kilson, Terri Lyne Carrington and Ralph Peterson Jr. It was through his strong passion, discipline and hard work that in March 2015, he received the Armand Zildjian Percussion Award at Berklee College of Music for his outstanding musicianship.
Yet, Berklee College of Music offers way more than just some of the greatest musicians and teachers of our time. Clemens was part of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, a two-year-Jazz Performance program led by Danilo Pérèz which features master classes, workshops, lectures, ensembles and performances with some of the most popular and influencial jazz artists today such as Danilo Pérèz himself, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Terri Lyne Carrington, David Gilmore, Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, Ben Street, John Clayton, Adam Cruz or Antonio Sanchez while revealing the true power of music and its application to social change, and a better society. By taking several middle-eastern, west-african, south- and latinamerican and south indian classes, labs and workshops, Clemens had the chance to not only learn about the very fundamental heritage of music of many music cultures, but he also met and collaborated with very important and influencial musicians that would affect his own career tremendously. He performed and recorded with Kuwaiti singer and songwriter Yousif Yaseen and released the album "Visions" in December 2016. Furthermore, Clemens worked together with some of the finest jazz musicians of his time at Berklee and put together his own debut album entitled Labyrinths and Tales, which he recorded in his last semester at Berklee at Soundscape Studios in Boston, MA. It was here when he managed to work closely with recording engineer, videographer, editor and producer Alberto Goicoechea and mixing engineer, sound designer and electronic music producer David Cardona Bohórquez. These collaborations in the process of releasing his very own first album as a band leader and composer opened up his approach to conventional jazz records and helped break boundaries in terms of including effects, sound design and electronics into his compositions. David introduced him to some of the best effect devices on the market by Pueblo FX, and especially the Raíz, a special OD and boost prototype, had an impeccable impact on the outcome of his debut, which received plenty of reviews from all over the world as being "a splendid array of tunes that feature his high-energy percussion" and pulling "together several different forms/genres – Latin, jazz, world and electronic – and fuses them into jazz originals that are most striking in their newness" ((link hidden)).
Clemens graduated from Berklee College of Music in May 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Music and decided to move to New York City that following Summer, where he resides in Brooklyn and is an established part of the local music scene while pushing his craft, art and horizons to the far limits, being critical to the hotbed of music that is Manhattan and sharing his knowledge to the next generation of upcoming talented musicians, while restlessly working on and developing his own playing and composing.
To find out more about Clemens Grassmann and his releases, ask questions, get in touch or schedule a lesson, please visit (link hidden)
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