Joe McCarthy has led a diverse career as a drummer/percussionist, bandleader, producer, and educator in a myriad of settings from symphony orchestra to bebop, big band, Afro-Cuban, theater and beyond.
Joe is the founder, leader, producer, and drummer of The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band (NYABABB), winner of the 2008 Latin Grammy for Latin Jazz Album of the Year, and nominated in the same category for the 51st Grammy Awards for the Heads-Up release “Afro Bop Alliance”, featuring Dave Samuels. NYABABB has just released its eighth recording, “The Pan American Nutcracker Suite”, on Joe’s new independent label Angelface Records.
Active in education, Joe has held adjunct appointments at the collegiate level since 1992 upon graduating from the University of North Texas with a Masters in Percussion Performance. Previous adjunct positions include Texas Wesleyan, Georgetown, and George Mason University.
As a clinician, Joe has been a featured performer and clinician at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Jazz Educators Network International Convention (JEN), and has presented masterclasses around the world covering a wide range of topics from drum set/percussion performance to music business management, and development of essential tools for a life in music.
As an author, Joe is published by Alfred music with “Joe McCarthy’s Afro Cuban Big Band Play-Along Series”, featuring a book/CD play-along and Vol’s I & II DVD’s. This series has received rave reviews worldwide and is part of the curriculum at The University of North Texas, University of Miami, Berklee School of Music, Humber College and among others. In 2020, Joe released his new all-inclusive, online drum set system titled “Basic Training”, built upon the five foundational components essential to achieving total control of the drum set including Balance, Alignment, Substitution, Interdependence, and Control.
Joe is a twenty-year veteran of The United States Naval Academy Band, where he served as Chief Petty Officer, principal percussionist with the wind ensemble, and Chief in Charge/drummer of the Next Wave Jazz Ensemble- one of the Navy’s two premier big bands. Under Joe’s direction, the Next Wave commissioned and recorded new works by Jim McNeely, Vince Norman, Dave Samuels, Shawn Purcell, and Dan Cavanagh.
Joe proudly endorses Zildjian, Yamaha, Remo, Latin Percussion and Vic Firth, featuring Joe’s signature drumstick in the Modern Jazz Collection Series MJC2.
Photo credit: Jon Barnes