Dennis Chambers: Modern Drummer Hall of Fame Award Recipient

To play this episode, please visit it on The Music Makers Podcast!

The story of how I met Dennis Chambers started with a  music performance I will never forget. However, that’s not why I’m here. Today, we learn how Dennis Chambers became the legendary drummer he is today. From his earliest memories of copying records on a toy drum kit, to slinging tracks with the likes of John Scofield and Miles Davis, Dennis has a story to tell about everything. Like the music he plays, Dennis shares stories with a rhythm and flow that is music to my ears. You definitely do not want to miss out!

Though Dennis is a self-taught musician, he claims he learned from the best. He was so good, that his drumming appeared on a gospel record when he was just 7. At 13 or 14, James Brown was asking him to play in his band. The names just keep coming! Dennis has jammed with the likes of P Funk, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Stanley Clark, and Carlos Santana. Across the decades, across jazz, funk, soul, and rock and roll, Dennis has become a master chameleon of rhythm and style.

I had the opportunity to hear Dennis perform at Blues Alley with Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, and Randy Brecker – and to watch him play is unbelievable While seeming completely calm and in control of his craft, Dennis can light up a stadium, like he did, beginning as a teenager, during his Parliament Funkadelic days.. When you get a guy like Dennis talking, expect your mind to melt a little bit. His experiences and memories could fill a book, but for now, we’ll settle with a podcast episode. Listen to hear all of these stories of music and soul unfold.

Episode Highlights:

  • Dennis shares how he remains so very calm in the middle of mind-bending performances.
  • With a Motown singer mom, music was in Dennis’ DNA.
  • Dennis first picked up a stick when he was 3 years old, and got his first drum kit when he was 4.
  • We discuss how Dennis got his professional start at a very young age.
  • Finding your sound is a constantly evolving process.
  • Dennis shares all of his early influences and inspirations.
  • Playing with P Funk gave him incredible exposure.
  • Hear some of Dennis’ favorite bass players to work with – he has worked with some of the greats!
  • What’s new on the horizon for Dennis.

Connect with Dennis

Dennis’ Website

Here are some of my favorite performances by Dennis:

Dennis plays on David Letterman:

Dennis gets FUNKY at Drum Camp:

With Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, and Randy Brecker:
Dennis’ Drum Solo – This is AMAZING!:

Dennis is Sponsored by the following companies:

 Pearl     |   Zildjian    |    LP percussion    |   Ddrum electronics    |   Evans Drumheads 

Ashfer Biju: Crafter of Perishable Art

In today’s conversation, Andy talks with Ashfer Biju, the executive chef and food and beverage director at the iconic The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City, responsible for all things culinary. To Ashfer, however, he’s more than his official job title; he’s a self-proclaimed “crafter of perishable art.”

After growing up in a small fishing town in India, Ashfer discovered his passion for food as a child and was driven to share his love with others ever since. With his entire family working in the restaurant industry in some fashion, Ashfer quickly dove into the hospitality industry and helped launch a vegetarian restaurant in India when he was only 18. He studied hospitality and pursued a degree at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California. Soon after, Ashfer traveled to open restaurants around the world, from Berkeley to Mauritius and the Maldives. By 2009, when he had already opened numerous hotels and restaurants, the time for Ashfer to move to New York City had come.

Not surprisingly, Manhattan ended up being far more than the mere short-term piece of a working travel circuit as he’d expected; Ashfer found his calling in what he considers one of the three “maximum food cities” of New York, London, and Hong Kong. Extending beyond his current work at The Pierre, Ashfer and Andy delve into the “extreme form of art” that is food, the importance of food’s personalization in weddings, why food is an experience at heart, and even why turmeric is “the next kale.”

After their conversation, Andy had the opportunity to experience Ashfer’s food firsthand through a tasting at Perrine in The Pierre. Read about his experience below the links.


“Following the interview, Ashfer was kind enough to offer me a multi-course tasting in The Pierre’s onsite restaurant, Perrine. The setting, it provided, was a perfect location for such a culinary endeavor. I proceeded to be served seven different dishes and I had to fight hard not to consume every drop and morsel in order to save room for it all! Each dish was presented beautifully, as shown in the pics, and I had to take a moment with each one just to take in the visual aspect.”

Read Andy’s comments on each dish by clicking on each photo in the gallery.