The list of musicians drummer Jeff Sipe has worked with is extensive and impressive, including Randy and Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck, Waylon Jennings, Lucinda Williams, Taj Mahal, Steve Vai, Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Sam Bush and members of Phish and Widespread Panic.
Sipe and his wife, Rainbow, moved to Brevard from Atlanta in 2003 with their two children, Jasmin and Dakota, and he has been a well-known member of the local music scene ever since. “We have so many great friends here,” said the 59-year-old Sipe. “Michael Collins (the Bread of Life director) was among the first people we met because we loved his coffee shop, Essence of Thyme. Now, 16 years later, we’re partners at the B-Town Radio Show, a local community based live radio show that is broadcast from the DFR room on 102.1 FM.”
“This place is special in many ways,” he said. “Obviously, the beauty of the forests bring people in, but the people who are from here and end up here are creative, lovely and talented too.”
Sipe began to play drums in the sixth grade. In 1975, he attended the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and two years later he was accepted to the Berklee College of Music. It was at Berklee that he formed the band Winter with Vai and Baron Brown.
In 1983, he moved to Atlanta, where he continued to gig but also taught at the Atlanta Institute for Music. Over the years, he has performed in numerous musical projects, including the Zambiland Orchestra and Project Z, while today Sipe is touring with Mike Seal and Taylor Lee as the Jeff Sipe Trio, as well as playing and recording with several other bands and musicians.
As far as influences, Sipe said the “list is long,” from John Prine to John Coltrane, while his favorite drummers include Buddy Rich, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette. As far as listening to music, Sipe’s tastes are broad – from jazz funk and modern Appalachian to classical.
As well as playing, Sipe is also trying to pass on his knowledge with this book, “Rhythm Patterns for Drum Set,” which includes more than 100 pages of original lessons, exercises and resources.
“The original motivation for the book was to compile my many notes and exercises that I wrote for myself to practice,” he said. “In one complete volume, they included beats, patterns and permutations and philosophy that I thought were helpful to me in my personal growth as an aspiring drummer. It kept growing, so I realized it could be helpful to share it as a book.”
For more information about Sipe, go to www.jeffsipemusic.com.