Rhythm injects life and spirit into every music expression: Afrobeat, bebop, funk, swing, rock, orchestral. To understand the core of rhythm is to stand astride all these styles with confidence and flair. This is what Joel Prime does – and what sets him apart as a percussionist of rare touch.
Rhythm is instinctive in great drummers. On a kit from the age of three and playing regular gigs at 11, Joel had drumming prowess that was immediately evident. But natural flair merely introduced him to the possibilities of percussion. A solid regime of practice developed his sparkling technique, and Joel’s acquired skill through hard work and persistence became his entrée card to a world of musical diversity. Indeed, his versatility across congas, drum kit and all manner of Afro Cuban and Brazilian percussion now sees him performing with Afrobeat outfit The Shaolin Afronauts, The Mike Stewart Big Band, Adelaide Art Orchestra, Santana tribute show Soultana, pop/rock act The Brenton Foster Band, Marmalade Circus, Full Swing, Blackjack and performing as part of the Billy Hyde’s Raiders Drumline. Joel is also at the helm of Tryp, playing original music that he has written and arranged.
With the blossoming of experience comes greater opportunity. This seed was sown in his teens when, as part of the Marryatville High School Stage Band, Joel travelled with the group for performances in London, New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Sydney. These gigs paved the way for Joel to share the stage with such performers as Bob Mintzer, James Morrison, Ross Irwin, Bobby Shew, John Hoffman, Rhonda Burchmore, Jon Gordon, Ray Vega, Paul Bollenback, George Garzone and attend workshops with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Fellow musicians and educational mentors are always quick to recognise Joel’s mix of talent, dedication and precision. In 2005, he was awarded most outstanding percussionist at Generations in Jazz by James Morrison. In 2008, he received a prestigious performance award from Downbeat magazine (USA) as a member of the 2008 Adelaide University Big Band 1. Later that year, Joel received the Helpmann Academy Award for Jazz Drums, for graduating at the top of his class at the Elder Conservatorium in 2006 and 2007, then received the 2010 Helpmann Academy Award for most outstanding Honours graduate.
Such kudos has led Joel to become a prominent figure at leading festivals and events. He has led percussion workshops and performed at WOMADelaide, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide International Guitar Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival and The Adelaide Cabaret Festival. And his burgeoning skill set continues to be recognized by the drumming elite. Joel is currently endorsed by Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth and Remo drumheads – and in 2011 he won the award for Australia’s Best Up and Coming Drummer (Open age category) at Australia’s Ultimate Drummers Weekend – judged by a panel including Stanton Moore, Jason Bittner, Gordon Rytmeister, Graham Morgan, Grant Collins and Scott Pelligrom.
Recognised by peers and professionals, artists and audiences, Joel Prime is a talent of his time.
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