Bell Dance Songs is Devin Drobka's first group as a leader. The band explores Melody, Rhythm, and Harmony through Devin's winding and storytelling compositions.
"Bell Dance Songs brims with such melodic and rhythmic tensions, often evoking dance-like rhythms, as a bell's ring might, resonating in circular fashion more than articulating step patterns or back beats. This creative activity is very characteristic of Motian, who always defied conventions of the rhythm-maker's role." - Kevin Lynch, No Depression
Devin Drobka is a Drummer, Composer, and Educator from Milwaukee, WI. Devin has performed in the US, Canada, as well as Europe. While living in Boston and New York, Devin has played with Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Dave Santoro, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Fred Hersch, Cecil McBee, Ben Monder, Tony Malaby, Sean Conly, and Dan Blake. Devin is currently leading his own group Bell Dance Songs which features some of the Midwest's most fearless improvisors. The band is a dedication to melody, harmony, and rhythm and to all of the people that have been a part of Devin's life.
Devin holds a B.MA. from Berklee School of Music. He was ranked among the top of his class having been awarded significant scholarship for four years. Devin maintains a busy private teaching schedule as well as continuing to tour the country as an educator and musician. Teaching includes Workshops in Gelsenkirchen, Germany as well as Teaching at the Prestigious Litchfield Jazz Camp alongside the great jazz drummer Matt Wilson. Devin has performed with Jerry Bergonzi, Bruce Barth, Dave Santoro, Tony Malaby, Mario Pavone, Matt Wilson, Tadataka Unno, Dan Tepfer, Joe Martin, Michael Attias, Chris Tordini, Ben Wendell, Jorge Roeder, Sean Conly and many others.
Chris has also performed at Merrimans' Playhouse recently with his group Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts. Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, Chris discovered his passion for music in the 8th grade after hearing Charlie Parker, and has pursued music ever since. He went on to attend Berklee College of Music on scholarship from 2007-2010 where he received his bachelors degree in Music Performance. While Chris was at Berklee he was fortunate to learn from George Garzone, Dave Santoro, drum master Rakalam Bob Moses, Ed Tomassi, Jim Odgren, Shannon LeClaire, Greg Hopkins, Benny Golson, Mark Turner, and many other fantastic musicians/teachers. He also performed extensively during that time in Jazz, Latin, and Hip Hop idioms all across the nation. After college, Chris moved back to Oak Park where he currently resides, teaches privately, and performs.
John Christensen began his bass studies with Chris Wood and continued his formal education by attending Berklee College of Music summer sessions and finally attending University of North Texas music program. After deciding on a more personalized education program John moved to San Francisco to begin gigging and study with renowned educator Dick Hindman. In the Bay Area John played and recorded with numerous bands including his own band Dam East, Mark Levine, Victoria Williams, Slide Five, Scott Amendola, Hal Stein, and The New Morty Show among others.
Since Moving to Madison in 1999 John has played with and toured with groups including Alison Margaret, Jan Wheaton, Harmonious Wail, Patrick Breiner, Dave Stoler, Kyle Henderson, and Gerri DeMaggio.
In 2012 John has embarked on a new journey by forming his own group The Landscapers, as well as Joining Johaness Wallman regularly on his trio gigs and touring with 2 collaborative ventures, The Deconunisms with Devin Drobka and Luke Polipnick, and Unnecessary Bells with Devin Drobka and Paul Hastil.
John continues learning and growing through collaborations with Louka Patenaude, Jamie Breiwick, Scott Hesse, Chris Weller, Tony Barba, Steve Nelson-Raney, Russ Johnson and is also currently an Adjunct Professor of Bass Studies at UW-Platteville.
Jay has been performing mainly in the Milwaukee/Chicago, area for over 20 years. He has performed with a wide variety of artists including Gerald Cannon, Dan Nimmer, Melvin Rhyne, David Sanchez, Joe Sanders, Marvin Stamm, and Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts. Jay holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied music composition and guitar performance.