Vic Firth Artist: Steve Houghton

Internationally renowned jazz drummer, percussionist, clinician, author, and educator, Steve Houghton initially received acclaim at age twenty as the drummer with Woody Herman's Young Thundering Herd. Since then he has shared stage and studio with luminaries Gary Burton, Clay Jenkins, Shelly Berg, Toots Thielemans, Christian McBride, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bob Florence, Freddie Hubbard, Lyle Mays, Dianne Reeves, Billy Childs, Rosemary Clooney, Pat LaBarbara, Arturo Sandoval, Joe Henderson, Bob Sheppard, Karrin Allyson and Maureen McGovern, to name a few.

As band leader Houghton's discography includes: The Manne We Love: Gershwin Revisited (TNC), All Things New ( Summit), the Steve Houghton Quintet Live @ the Senator (Jazz Compass), Windsong (SHPERC Records), Remembrances (Warner Bros.), and Steve Houghton Signature (Mesa-Bluemoon). In total, Houghton attributes more than one hundred recordings to his credit as a participating artist.

As a classical percussionist, Houghton has performed with the Boston, and Philadelphia Pops orchestras, as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He frequently appears as a soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world.

As an author, Houghton's publications boast more than thirty educational books, videos and DVDs including Kid's Drumset Course, Essential Styles- books 1 & 2 (Alfred ), The Ultimate Drumset Chart Reading Anthology, Play and Teach Percussion (GIA) and The Drumset Soloist. His latest project, Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors is a DVD-book series that addresses the entire rhythm section.

Houghton is currently associate professor of percussion and jazz at Indiana University-Bloomington, and is on faculty at the Henry Mancini Institute. In addition to his academic duties, he presents yearly clinics and masterclasses to students around the world.

Watch our exclusive video interview with Steve Houghton

Steve's Vic Firth implements of choice:

Barrel tip. Light and fast for jazz quartet or chamber music.
L=15 7/8", Dia.=.545"
This retractable wire brush features a smooth rubber handle and our special triangular metal pull rod for versatility on the cymbals. Light and fast. 5" spread.

For current clinic, performance and release information, visit Steve's website:

Check out a few of Steve's latest books and recordings:

Three irresistible drum experts-a clever, classical dog, one cool cat, and a friendly alligator-keep students' attention focused by pointing out what's important on each page and help make learning music fun! This full-color book is specifically designed with attention-grabbing illustrations for use with kids at the elementary level.

A comprehensive percussion method book for college music education majors and teachers in the field. This fantastic new resource includes 2 CDs demonstrating the proper way to practice rudiments, play-along tracks, accompaniment tracks, extended world percussion examples and much more.

The energy core of any jazz ensemble, the rhythm section radiates the groove, time and essence of the music. Each chapter includes an introduction of the style, a "clinics room" that includes performance tips of the genre and a play-along piece at the end that coincides with the CD and optional DVD. Included in this series are: Seven different jazz grooves including swing, bossa nova, rock, shuffle, samba, funk, and ballad; Clarity and deference through adjusting your volume or knowing when not to play; How to keep time as a rhythm section; How to comp effectively.

The purpose of this book is to provide the drummer with the fundamental skills to perform in a studio orchestra, big band, show band, or small combo. The book includes concepts, ideas and philosophies concerning how to play musically with any type of ensemble. Ideally, the book will serve as a reference point and will prepare the player for most reading situations.

The Drum Set Soloist was written to provide drummers with the practice material to approach any solo, in any style, with ease. Techniques such as trading, playing over vamps and playing over kicks (or figures) are examined, demonstrated and made available in a CD play-along format.

Beaux J Poo Boo is a newly formed Jazz Quartet featuring world class musicians: Shelly Berg, piano; Fred Hamilton, guitar; Lou Fischer, bass; and Steve Houghton, drums. This album, titled All Things Are New, incorporates a myriad of styles, in a contemporary jazz quartet improvisational environment.

FEATURING Steve Houghton on drums, Pat La Barbera sax, Clay Jenkins trumpet, Harold Danko piano and Neil Swainson bass.The Quintet, recorded live at the Senator in Toronto, sizzles through Monk's Dream, Einbahn Strasse and a whole evening's worth of music.

"I met Shelly Manne's wife, Florence Manne, about three years ago. she contacted me because they had just put out a tribute book about Shelly and she wanted to distribute the books to university jazz departments. I helped Florence get it to the right places and we became good friends. One day I mentioned that Shelly's Gershwin album was one of my favorites and she took me out to the garage where she had all the original music and asked if I could do somehting with it. So I put together a kind of North Texas "All Star Alumni Quintet", and we decided to re-record the album with this group and the North Texas Two O'Clock Lab Band. The alumni were very excited to do it and came up with the idea of funding a scholarship in Shelly's name when the album came out. So it was actually a nice win-win situation for eberybody: we get to play the music; we get to pay tribute to Shelly through the scholarship fund; and we get to expose this current generation of jazz listeners to this music, which we think is very special. John Williams is, of course, very well-known as a film composer, starting with "Jaws", all the way up to his current project, "Harry Potter", but not many people know him as "Johnny Williams" when he was writing jazz charts. So this is John Williams, circa 1965, but everyone who's performed this music feels like it was written yesterday." - Steve Houghton