Graham Lear

GRAHAM LEAR has garnered critical acclaim for his drumming worldwide. His roots in R&B, Rock and Jazz were developed and honed through years of performing with musical giants such as Santana and Gino Vannelli, as well as a host of other equally talented musicians. Canadian rock icon Neil Peart has acknowledged Lear as an influence, as has Mark Kelso, former Head of Percussion Studies at Humber College, Toronto. Some highlights of a touring schedule that has taken him to almost every country in the world, Graham performed at the historic original Live Aid Concert (1985), Apple’s US Festival in California (1982), Bill Graham’s International Peace Walk in Moscow (1987) in addition to three appearances at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, London, England. He is the 2010 recipient of the FCLMA Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the FCLMA Hall of Fame in 2018. Originally from Plymouth, England, Graham began drumming at age eight, auditioning for the Police Boys Concert Band of London, Canada. An early student of Police Band alumnus Don Johnson and Robert Comber, he also cites Canadian jazz great Terry Clarke and Mandela drummer Penti Glan as musical influences. Additional tutoring with Ralph Humphrey, Bernard Purdie, Duduka DaFonseca, and Grove School of Music, culminated in the development of a unique style that is validated by the thousands of views of his drum solos on YouTube. In 1974 Graham moved to Los Angeles with Canadian singer Gino Vannelli during which time the Grammy nominated Powerful People and Storm At Sunup were recorded, produced by A&M records icon Herb Alpert. Significantly, drumming legend Buddy Rich covered two tracks from those sessions, Storm At Sunup and Love Me Now, for his Speak No Evil album. The critically acclaimed Vannelli recording, Gist Of the Gemini followed, recorded by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick at Air Studios UK. Carlos Santana, hearing Vannelli’s recordings on his European tour bus, tasked manager Bill Graham with finding Lear to audition for his band. The rock impresario personally located Graham in Toronto rehearsing with guitarist Domenic Troiano, and within the month, Lear was performing before a sold out Wembley stadium with Santana. Recordings from the ensuing European tour resulted in the double platinum album Moonflower for the group. 1987 found him with rock group REO Speedwagon for their U.S. and South American tours, and with the Canadian progressive group Saga for their European tours. Relocated to Portland OR in 1990 found Graham reunited with Gino Vannelli for his Yonder Tree CD on the Verve label, acclaimed by Gino as a personal favourite. The jazz project Clovis ensued with saxophonist Tom Bergeron of Western Oregon U. He also worked with Native American Music Award winner Gary Small, and multiple live dates with Joe Cocker percussionist Bobby Torres and saxophonist Patrick Lamb. He also performed with jazz/fusion ensemble Sacbe’ at the Berklee College Latin Cultural Festival Boston. Graham has been featured in two articles for Modern Drummer, Drums and Perc., Drums Etc. and Sticks magazine and performed clinics at Musicians Institute of Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Toronto, St. Louis and Tampa. His personal passion for music has always been R&B and jazz, having performed at the inaugural Niagara on the Lake Jazz Festival in 2014, with three more in recent years. He endorses DW drums, Zildjian cymbals, Headhunters sticks-creations, Remo heads, LP percussion.



GRAHAM LEAR Artists toured /recorded with include Gino Vannelli; Santana, Carlos Santana; REO Speedwagon; Saga; Paul Anka; Tom Grant; Gary Richrath; Sacbe’; Randy Porter; Gary Small; Suzi Stern; Clovis; Bidondo Bros.; Truck; Ian Tyson; George Olliver; Natural Gas; Riverson; Syberia; Paris Black; Johnny Martin; Joey Ortega; Les Percussion Des Montreal. Producers Dave Devore, Keith Olsen, Dave Tyson; David Foster; Henry Mancini; Dennis Lambert; Brian Potter, Steve Sexton, Canadian icon Domenic Troiano. Selected recordings include, Gist of the Gemini; Powerful People; Storm at Sunup; Yonder Tree with GinoVannelli. Moonflower; Inner Secrets; Marathon; Zebop; Shango; Viva with Santana. Silver Dreams Golden Reality; Swing of Delight; Havana Moon; Blues for Salvador with Carlos Santana. Second Decade: REO Speedwagon; Natural Gas: Natural Gas; Instinct: TomGrant; Only The Strong Survive: Gary Richrath; Secret Seduction: Paris Black; Syberia: Syberia; Forest 4 The Trees: Randy Porter; Humanly Possible: Johnny Martin; Clovis: Clovis. Major concerts include the historic first Live Aid; US Festival; Moscow Walk for Peace and Cal Jam 2 ( Santana ). Cincinnati, Washington, Atlanta, Nashville, Naples FL symphony orchestras ( Anka ). Also with Mexican jazz ensemble Sacbe for the Latin Cultural Festival at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Video includes Saturday Night Live; Soul Train; P.B.S. Sound Stage; Kennedy Center Concert of the Americas, Viva Santana (C.B.S. Video); REO Speedwagon ( Vina Del Mar Festival Chile & Live in Hawaii), Paul Anka- Night of a Lifetime P.B.S.and Live at Montreal Jazz Festival ’05 plus multiple YouTube links. The sampling and loop CD, Graham Lear’s Latin Rock Drumscapes featuring Orestes Vilato on perc., released by Northstar prod., garnered a 4.5 (out of five) rating in Electronic Musician. “Head, Hands and Feet” the drum solo from Santana’s Moonflower CD and the track “Where Am I Going?” from Gino Vannelli’s Storm At Sunup CD were transcribed for Modern Drummer issues. Other print articles include two cover features in the German publications Drums and Percussion (Jan/84) and Sticks (April/90). Graham was first interviewed for Modern Drummer magazine in July /82, and in the Feb.99 issue. Graham endorses DW drums, Zildjian cymbals, Headhunters Sticks & Creations, Remo heads, LP percussion and Fatcat snare wire