The son of former Thelonious Monk trumpet player Ray Copeland, Keith Copeland has established his own legacy as a jazz drummer. A much-sought session player, Copeland has been featured on more than 80 albums by such stellar artists as Johnny Griffin, Johnny Hartman, George Russell, Milt Jackson, John Dankworth, Paul Bley, Stan Getz, Harry "Sweets" Eddison, Phil Woods, Stephane Grappelli, Sonny Fortune, and Charles Brown.
Copeland has not been restricted to the recording studio, however. He spent five years as a member of the Billy Taylor Trio and a year and a half with the Heath Brothers. He toured with Stevie Wonder for seven months and since 1986, he has periodically worked with Hank Jones. The leader of his own group since 1984, Copeland has recorded five impressive albums: On Target, The Irish Connection, Round Trip, Live in Limerick, and Postcard From Vancouver.
A teacher at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1975 until 1978, Copeland taught at Rutger's University, Queens College, Long Island University, and the New School University of New York in the mid-'80s and early '90s. Accepting a position as professor of jazz percussion at the Hochschule Für Musik in Koln, Germany, in 1992, Copeland went on to teach at the Hochschule Für Musik in Mannheim-Heidelberg and the Hochschule Für Musik in Mannheim. Drumming from the age of ten, Copeland has studied with Gene Morvay, Walter Perkins, Fred Buda, and Alan Dawson. Playing with a variety of wedding and bar mitzvah bands from the age of 15, he sat in with influential jazz musicians Barry Harris and Charles McPherson at popular Harlem nightspot Minton's Playhouse before his 17th birthday. Enlisting in the United States Air Force, he studied telecommunications and cryptography in Greenland and Germany. He later attended the Berklee College of Music under the G.I. Bill. While still a student, he was recruited to tour for seven months with Stevie Wonder. Copeland's first book, Creative Coordination for the Performing Drummer, was published by the Carl Fischer Publishing Company. ~ Craig Harris