Jim's official home on the web


Below is a short bio for printout


      Jim Brock has proven to be an innovator in the world of drums and percussion. Within his forty five year career he has appeared on literally hundreds of recordings with artists such as Joe Walsh, Joan Baez, Kathy Mattea, Joe Cocker, Janis Ian, River Phoenix, and James McMurtry. With five solo recordings and a DVD entitled The Nature Of Drumming, Jim Has traveled the world extensively with performances on The Tonight Show, A Prairie Home Companion, Good Morning America, MTV, and multiple appearances on The View, just to name a few. Among these include a concert at the White House for President Clinton in 2000. Most recently, Jim was asked to compose the music for the documentary "The Spirit of Sacajawea". For this work he is the recipient of the prestigious Telly award, and has currently been nominated for an Emmy award in the category of Composer..



Extended Bio     A Time Line

           Jim Brock was born in 1952 in a small farming community near Columbus Ohio. The town was named Washington Court House. He was born to humble parents, a father of Native decent (Ani-Kithuwa-Gi) from the mountains of western North Carolina, and to a mother of Irish decent. Not particularly a musical family except for an older sister who played clarinet in the school band and a father who would sing to himself throughout the day.


 It didn't take Jim long to realize that the "hand-me-down" clarinet wasn't his calling in life. At the age of ten Jim discovered his passion for drumming and has never looked back.

      " When my parents came to grips with the fact that drumming wasn't a passing phase for me, they bought me a real drum. I'll never forget it. It was a blue snare from a Sears catalog. I remember when Kennedy was assassinated, I was intrigued by the funeral march as they rolled his casket down the streets of Washington DC. I immediately went to my room and learned it. I know it to this day, 46 years later."

       Jim of course had the usual years of playing in bands throughout the high school years, playing dances and different social functions around the community.


" I started playing pretty well at an early age, so by the time I was eleven or twelve years old some of the older musicians would hire me. When I was hired to play a bar my parents would have to take me and stay all night because I was under age. They were very supportive, and a little proud I think."

     After graduating from high school Jim found his way to the bigger cities throughout the state. There he moved into the professional world of music. " The word "college" was never spoken in my house, and in a way I was glad because I knew what my career was going to be."

     Jim joined a band of musician from Cleveland known as Ten Penny Opera. playing the larger clubs and venues around the Midwest and east coast.

"I recall after the tragedy of Kent State,  campus riots would breakout all over, and a few times found myself trying to load my drums out while dodging tear gas. It was such a volatile time."


   Much later, in 1977, Jim hitched a trailer to the back of his 1964 Dodge pickup truck and headed south. He was offered a gig in Charlotte North Carolina, but as things go, the band broke up within a week of his arrival.

 " I wasn't too concerned about it. The city was vibrant with great musicians and places to play, and it was in the middle of the east coast. I just put my name up in a local music store and quickly started working".

    In 1981 Jim was asked to be the resident drummer for one of the recording studios in town. A new record label was starting up and HMC Studios was chosen to be the home base for their productions. There Jim was working with famous artists in all genres of music. Pop, Country, Jazz, Gospel. Jim found himself working three shifts a day, seven days a week, often sleeping on the couch in the control room in fear of not making the next morning session. It was because of this rigorous schedule that often put Jim in the role of engineer. It was in this time that Jim landed his first solo recording deal.


 LION SONG was Jim's first solo effort. A blend of Jazz and World music, radio stations across the country ate it up.  The great Jazz drummer, Mel Lewis, was so taken with this recording that after meeting Jim personally started lining up radio and magazine interviews. This lead to Jim's first Modern Drummer interview.

" I remember my first interview with Modern Drummer Magazine. I went to New York and gave the interview in Mel Lewis' living room. I remember talking, looking around at all the Grammy Awards and photographs. I wish every drummer a Mel Lewis in their life".

   During this period in Jim's career, a new style of music called "New Age" had just begun to surface. Jim was touring and making recordings with many of the artists on the Windham Hill label. With his knowledge of ethnic percussion ,as well as drum set, Jim is considered a pioneer in that movement.


" There was a drummer in my home town who I always looked up to. He is the one that exposed me to the world of percussion. I was so very fortunate to have had him in my life at such an early age. His approach to playing was and is so unbelievably beautiful. Everything I am musically, I owe to Bob Thompson".

    Jim makes his second solo record entitled PASAJES.  It has guest appearances from many great Musicians including, yes, Mel Lewis.

" The PASAJES project was really one to remember. I had all of these great players crowded into one little room experimenting and giving all they had to it. It's a real timeless piece of work".

   In 1986 Jim was called on by famed Pop producer Don Dixon to make his second solo recording ROMEO AT JULLIARD. This was a huge corner stone in Jim's career, looking back at a twenty three year relationship of studio and touring. Since then Jim has been a major force in the majority of projects that Dixon has produced.


"You know it's funny, just about everything that has gone on in my career since I teamed up with Don Dixon has a direct connection with him in some way. It's like my career is a rolling snowball of events, and Dixon is the one that initially pushed it down the hill".

    In 1988 Jim got a call from the president of Reference Recordings. A label from San Francisco. He said "Jim, Mickey Hart has just left the label and I want you to fill the slot."  TROPIC AFFAIR is Jim's most acclaimed record to date. It went to number four on the jazz charts.  Jim made a second record for them with guitarist Van Manakas entitled LETTERS FROM THE EQUATOR, and went on to produce other artists for that label.

     In the spring of '89, Jim got a call from the legendary Folk artist Janis Ian.  Jim toured extensively with Janis for seven years and in the course of their twenty year relationship made eight records together.


 1991 found way to Jim's next solo recording WHAT IS...WHAT WAS. 

"At the time I was touring this wonderful band I called The Montuno Jazz Orchestra.  I wanted to document this act on tape so we booked a club and brought in some recording gear. There was no label at the time for this project which meant that I had no restrictions as to what I wanted to do. We recorded two nights to a sold out house, and I chose the best performances over those nights. That record brought me back to reality of why I play music in the first place". Later that year that recording found it's way in the running in the '91 Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording.

    Still a very sought after studio musician, it was years of session after session, record after record from some of the worlds leading artists.  Joe Cocker, Joe Walsh, James McMurtry, River Phoenix, Joan Baez, Janis Ian, Kim Carnes, the list goes on.

      In 1999 while vacationing at the beach Jim gets a call from Kathy Mattea asking if he would consider being a part of her band.


   'The offer was pretty tasty, and I could still be active in the studio world, so I accepted. My relationship with Kathy lasted for ten years. She is an amazing artist. It was a wonderful time".

    During the later part of that ten year stay, Mark Dottore from Universal offered Jim the project of a life time. To have a documentary made about Jim and his approach to music and percussion. It took two years to make and in the end was entitled THE NATURE OF DRUMMING.  A film crew followed Jim around the country shooting in obscure settings as well as in the studio.  The release of this two disk set, DVD and CD, was welcomed with rave reviews from around the world and has received orders in such far away places as India and Nigeria.

"I wanted to make a video that everyone could appreciate, not just drummers. I have always been apart of all styles of music and this collection was good for me in the respect that it forced me to finally realize who I am and what belongs to me musically. I learned a great deal about myself".


   In 2006 a film was being made about the life of Sacajawea, the young Native American girl that guided Lewis and Clark to discover the northwest territory. Jim and famed Native American flute player Mary Youngblood were commissioned to score and record the soundtrack.  Jim was awarded the prestigious Telly Award and later an Emmy nomination. It went on to win three Emmys that year.


    Currently Jim has just finished recording the music for a new musical entitled THE GREAT UNKNOWN, and is doing clinics and workshops based around THE NATURE OF DRUMMING. A new solo project is in the works.