Bobby Previte

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Bobby Previte
Evstafiev-bobby previte.jpg
Bobby Previte during a rehearsal in Moscow in 1991. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
Background information
Birth name Robert Previte
Born (1951-07-16) July 16, 1951 (age 65)
Origin New York, New York
Genres Jazz, Experimental, Rock
Instruments Drums, Percussion
Labels Palmetto Records

Robert "Bobby" Previte (born July 16, 1951, in Niagara Falls, New York) is a drummer, composer and bandleader. Previte earned a B.A. in Economics at the University at Buffalo, where he also studied percussion. He moved to New York City in 1979, and became active in the city's thriving jazz and experimental music scenes. He began professional relationships with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Elliott Sharp and others that have continued, intermittently, to the present.


While Previte is a talented drummer he has also received critical acclaim for his "exceptional abilities as a composer and orchestrator."[1] A review of his 1988 album Claude's Late Morning reports that "Perhaps most striking is Previte's skill in composing music that fully integrates these disparate instruments — including drums and drum machine, electric guitar and keyboards, trombone, harp, accordion, banjo, pedal steel guitar, tuba, and harmonica — while emphasizing each instrument's unique, individual sound."[2] Another critic notes Previte's "driving and propulsive compositions, featuring both fiery jazz expressionism and layered counterpoint that suggested elements of contemporary minimalism.[3]

Previte's compositions are often tightly arranged, although they leave room for significant amounts of improvisation. Additionally, Previte often uses unusual instrumentation and also draws on many non-jazz musics for his compositions.

In 1991, he wrote the score for "Cirk Valentin" (Moscow Circus on Stage), a stage show consisting of circus acts created by Valentin Gneushev that performed at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.

Recent large-scale compositional works as of Spring 2007 include:

  • "The Constellations Ensemble," a chamber group touring the multi-media show, The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró.
  • "The Separation," a collaboration with writer/director Andrea Kleine "dealing with the role of religion in society. Based on the 15th-century composer Guilliaume Dufay’s Missa Sancti Jacobi and written for early music pioneers the Rose Ensemble with electric band."[4]

Previte is currently working on a series of percussion concertos featuring So Percussion ensemble and solo improvisers scheduled to premiere in 2011.

Bobby Previte live at Saalfelden 2009


Previte has received excellent reviews and full articles in major newspapers such as The New York Times,[5] The Washington Post and The Guardian[6] for playing a wide range of genres and venues[7] and for qualities as diverse as his intellectual aesthetic to his ability "to groove." Recent and current projects as of Spring 2007 include :

Much of Previte's work is also improvisational. One of Previte's own favorite recorded improvisational collaborations was with John Zorn, "Euclid's Nightmare" (Depth of Field 1997).[8] In the 1990s, he performed with the Seattle-based 100% improvisational musical collective Ponga with Wayne Horvitz, Skerik, and Dave Palmer. Previte has collaborated with Jamie Saft as "Swami Late Plate." Also the improvisational Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft, Skerik: Live in 2003 (DVD - Word Public) was released in 2006. April In New York, is a 5-DVD set released 2007 of improvisational duets.

Previte appeared in the movie Short Cuts directed by Robert Altman.[9]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

  • 1980: Pull to Open (Zoar)
  • 1985: Bump the Renaissance (Sound Aspects)
  • 1987: Pushing the Envelope (Gramavision)
  • 1987: Dull Bang, Gushing Sound, Human Shriek (Dossier)
  • 1988: Claude's Late Morning (Gramavision)
  • 1990: Empty Suits (Gramavision)
  • 1991: Weather Clear, Track Fast (Enja)
  • 1991: Music of the Moscow Circus (Gramavision)
  • 1993: Slay the Suitors (Avant) with Empty Suits
  • 1993: Hue and Cry (Enja) with Weather Clear, Track Fast
  • 1996: Too Close to the Pole (Enja) with Weather Clear, Track Fast
  • 1997: Euclid's Nightmare (Depth of Vision) with John Zorn
  • 1997: My Man in Sydney (Enja) with Latin for Travelers
  • 1998: In the Grass (Enja) with Marc Ducret
  • 1998: Downtown Lullaby (Depth of Vision) with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz and Elliott Sharp
  • 1998: Dangerous Rip (Enja) with Latin for Travelers
  • 2002: The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró (Tzadik)
  • 2002: Just Add Water (Palmetto) with Bump
  • 2002: The Prisoner’s Dilemma (Church of Grob) with Elliott Sharp
  • 2003: Counterclockwise (Palmetto) with Bump
  • 2003: Come in Red Dog this is Tango Leader (Ropeadope) with Charlie Hunter
  • 2004: Latitude (Thirsty Ear) as Groundtruther with Charlie Hunter and special guest Greg Osby
  • 2005: Longitude (Thirsty Ear) as Groundtruther with Charlie Hunter and special guest DJ Logic
  • 2006: The Coalition of the Willing (Ropeadope)
  • 2006: Live in Japan 2003 (Word Public - DVD) with Jamie Saft and Skerik
  • 2007: Altitude(Thirsty Ear) as Groundtruther with Charlie Hunter and special guest John Medeski
  • 2007: April In New York (DVD) with Skerik, Zeena Parkins, Benton C Bainbridge, Elliott Sharp, and Marco Benvento
  • 2007: Doom Jazz (Veal) as Swami Lateplate with Jamie Saft
  • 2007: The Separation (Rank Hypocrisy, DVD) with Andrea Kleine
  • 2008: Set the Alarm for Monday (Palmetto) with The New Bump
  • 2008: White Hate (Veal) as Beta Popes with Jamie Saft and Skerik
  • 2008: Live Hate (Veal) as Beta Popes with Jamie Saft and Skerik
  • 2008: Big Guns (Auand) with Gianluca Petrella and Antonello Salis
  • 2009: Pan Atlantic (Auand)
  • 2012: Plutino (Spacebone)
  • 2014: Terminals (Cantaloupe Music) with Sō Percussion, Zeena Parkins, Greg Osby, Nels Cline and John Medeski

As sideman[edit]

With Terry Adams

  • Terrible (New World, 1995)

With Ray Anderson

  • Where Home Is (Enja, 1999)
  • Sweet Chicago Suite (Intuition, 2012)

With The Bang

  • Omonimo (Nuevo, 1991)

With Bob Belden

  • Black Dahlia (Blue Note, 2001)

With Marco Benevento

With Tim Berne

With Jane Ira Bloom

  • The Nearness (Arabesque, 1995)
  • The Red Quartets (Arabesque, 1999)
  • Sometimes the Magic (Arabesque, 2001)
  • Chasing Paint (Arabesque, 2003)
  • Like Silver, Like Song (Arabesque, 2004)
  • Wingwalker (Arabesque, 2011)
  • Early Americans (Arabesque, 2016)

With William S. Burroughs

With Corporate Art

  • Corporate Art (JMT, 1991)

With Paul Dresher and Ned Rothenberg

  • Opposites Attract (New World/CounterCurrents, 1991)

With Marty Ehrlich

  • Pliant Plaint (Enja, 1988)
  • The Traveller's Tale (Enja, 1990)
  • Can You Hear a Motion? (Enja, 1994)
  • Malinke's Dance (OmniTone, 1999)
  • The Long View (Enja, 2002)

With Carol Emanuel

  • Tops of Trees (Evva, 1995)

With David Fulton

  • Marcos & Harry (Dossier, 1988)

With David Garland

  • Togetherness: Control Songs, Vol. 2 (Ergodic, 1999)

With Jerome Harris

  • Hidden in Plain View (New World)

With Robin Holcomb

With Lindsey Horner

  • Don't Count On Glory (Cadence Jazz, 2005)

With Bill Horvitz

  • Solo Electric Guitar Compositions for an 11-Solo Guitar & Ensemble Piece Ensemble (Ear-Rational, 1991)

With Wayne Horvitz

With Yoko Kanno

With Guy Klucevsek

  • Flying Vegetables of the Apocalypse (Experimental Intermedia Foundation, 1991)
  • Polka Dots & Laser Beams (Eva, 1991)
  • ?Who Stole the Polka? (Eva, 1991)

With Makigami Koichi

  • Koroshi No Blues (Toshiba EMI, 1992)

With The New York Composers Orchestra

  • The New York Composers Orchestra (New World, 1990)
  • First Program in Standard Time (New World/CounterCurrents, 1992)

With Kirk Nurock

  • Remembering Tree Friends (Koch, 1998)

With Seigen Ono

  • NekonoTopia NekonoMania (Saidera, 1990)
  • Bar Del Mattatoio (Saidera, 1994)
  • Montreux 93/94 (Saidera, 1990)

With the Peggy Stern/Thomas Chapin Quintet

  • The Fuchsia (Koch, 1997)

With Ponga

  • Ponga (Loosegroove, 1999)
  • The Ponga Remixes (Loosegroove, 1999)
  • Psychological (P-Vine, 2000)

With Mike Pride

  • Drummer's Corpse (AUM Fidelity, 2013)

With Bobby Radcliff

  • Early in the Morning (A-Okay, 1985)

With Jamie Saft

With Jeffrey Schanzer

  • Vistas (Music Vistas, 1987)

With Elliott Sharp

  • Virtual Stance (Dossier, 1985)
  • Fractal (Dossier, 1986)
  • Larynx (SST, 1987)
  • Sili/Contemp/Tation (Ear-Rational, 1990)
  • Arc 1: I/S/M 1980-1983 (Atavistic, 1996)
  • Arc 2: The Seventies 1972-79 (Atavistic, 1997)

With The Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet

With Various Artists

With Tom Varner

  • Covert Action (New Note, 1989)

With Tom Waits

With Victoria Williams

  • Happy Come Home (Geffen, 1987)

With Andreas Willers

  • Cityscapes (Sound Aspects, 1993)

With John Zorn


  1. ^ Bobby Previte, Brandishing Pen And Drumsticks, Steve Futterman, The Washington Post, Mar 24, 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2007
  2. ^ Claude's Late Morning Review Dave Lynch, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  3. ^ Empty Suits Review David Lynch, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  4. ^ Biography, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  5. ^ A Drummer, Different And Yet In the Groove, Peter Water, The New York Times, October 1, 1998. Retrieved April 20, 2007
  6. ^ Bobby Previte John Fordham, The Guardian, February 5, 2004. Retrieved October 24, 2007
  7. ^ Biography Retrieved October 24, 2007
  8. ^ Note by artist, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  9. ^ Short Cuts (1993), Retrieved May 15, 2010
  10. ^ Roussel, P. Discography of Bobby Previte, accessed August 12, 2016
  11. ^ Bobby Previte discography, accessed August 12, 2016

External links[edit]