Baxter’s Drummers Bang Bohemian Rhythms at Voodoo

A bohemian crowd of jazz cats and music fans crowded the lounge room at the Voodoo Tiki Bar in West Ashley on Sept. 18 for an unusual performance by a newly formed, five-piece percussion ensemble led by master drummer Quentin Baxter. Billed as “Voodoo Breadbasket,” the performance is part of Voodoo’s eclectic monthly jazz series. It was a dense slice of the Jazz Artists of Charleston’s drum roster.

As the casual conductor, Baxter situated himself in the middle of the stage area along the venue’s front window. He mostly played his bass drum and snare drum with mallets while occasionally shuffling through loose notes and sheet music. David Patterson sat at stage right with a kick, snare, cymbal, and high-hat. Next to him was Ron Wiltrout, handling a similar kit with an extra miniature snare. On stage left, hand percussionist Gino Castillo handled three congas and a cajón while Asa Holgate tapped a floor tom, cymbal, and snare with mallets, brushes, and sticks.

Baxter introduced each long-form piece, many of which started with unusual syncopated patterns or rhythms. While some of the rhythmic themes were prepared, the quintet improvised collectively from piece to piece. Baxter introduced each musician as being “on the drum.”

The ensemble ventured way out into strange rhythmic territory at times, but the crowd responded enthusiastically with every turn.




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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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