Adam Nussbaum grew up in Norwalk Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for 5 years, also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College.
While there he began working with Albert Dailey, Monty Waters, Joe Lee Wilson, Sheila Jordan and he played with Sonny Rollins in 1977 in Milwaukee. In 1978 he joined Dave Liebman's quintet and did his first European tour with John Scofield. During the early eighties he continued working with John Scofield in a celebrated trio with Steve Swallow.
In 1983 he become a member of Gil Evans Orchestra and played with Stan Getz as well. He later joined Eliane Elias/Randy Brecker Quartet, Gary Burton, and Toots Thielemans. In 1987 he began touring with the Michael Brecker Quintet. In 1988 they recorded the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home" During 1992 he was part of the Carla Bley Big Band and that same year John Abercrombie hired him to complete his organ trio with Dan Wall.
Today he is active with Abercrombie, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band & Trio, James Moody Quartet, Steve Swallow Trio, Kenny Wheeler Quartet and Jerry Bergonzi Quartet. He's also busy maintaining an active freelance schedule. Adam has taught as an Adjunct professor at New York University, the New School and State University of New York at Purchase. He's also done clinics and master classes around the world.
Adam Nussbaum was born New York City in 1955, and is THE quint- essential freelance New York City jazz drummer.
He initially studied piano, then bass and saxophone while being involved playing the drums in local rock bands where he grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut.
His teachers have included Joe Cusatis and Charli Persip. He is an occasional co-bandleader in the collective ìWe 3î (with Dave Liebman and Steve Swallow), and has taught in the noted jazz programs at New York University, the New School, and State University of New York at Purchase, while also giving clinics throughout the world. Adam Nussbaum is a hard-working and busy sideman that can be seen with James Moody, John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi, and even the young New York guitarist Oz Noy among others.
Adam moved back to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. While there he began working with pianist Albert Dailey and singer Sheila Jordan. He also played with the great Sonny Rollins. In 1978 he joined Dave Liebmanís quintet, record- ing and played on his first European tour with John Scofield recording ìRough House.î He recorded ìDoiní It Againî and ìIf They Only Knewî with Liebmanís quintet the following year. It was with Scofield that Adam earned his early popularity on the New York jazz scene. His wonderful playing with Scofield and Liebman had the looseness of Elvin Jones and the sensitivity of Al Foster.
During the early ë80s he continued working with John Scofield in the celebrated trio with Steve Swallow recording ìBarTalkî, ìShinola,î and ìOut Like A Light.î In 1983, Adam became a member of the Gil Evans Orchestra making the ìLive At Sweet Basilî recordings, and played with Stan Getz. He would also join the Eliane Elias/Randy Brecker Quartet, and toured with Gary Burton and Tootsí Thielemans.
In 1987, he began touring with the popular Michael Brecker Quintet, which also featuring Joey Calderazzo, Jeff Andrews, and Mike Stern. In 1988, Breckerís band recorded the Grammy winning "Don't Try This At Home".
In 1992 Nussbaum was part of the Carla Bley Big Band, while guitarist John Abercrombie hired him to complete his organ trio with Dan Wall and making three recordings for ECM.
One of Nussbaumís strongest traits as a drummer is his remarkable versatility: his straight-ahead playing with James Moody swings hard; his loose, elastic time feel and explosive creativity come to the forefront with Liebman and the We 3 trio and with Carla Bley. When he is playing in a big band setting like George Gruntz or with the WDR Big Band, Nussbaum gives every soloist exactly what they need, sounding like an ultra-modern Mel Lewis tailoring the music with taste and touch.
Adam Nussbaum brings with him many years of playing experience and educating drummers at the university level, and at the ever-popular Jamey Abersold annual jazz camps.
The David Liebman Quintet - 1980
Terumasa Hino, Adam Nussbaum, John Scofield and Ron McClure
Photo by Shelly Rusten
...from Adam Nussbaum
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John Abercrombie Trio
Franco Ambrosetti Quintet
Steve Swallow Quintet
....and many more