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David Whitman needs a warehouse

“If you want to play, get a van”

David Whitman and some drums. Well, a lot, really. Hence the warehouse.
David Whitman and some drums. Well, a lot, really. Hence the warehouse.

When studying for his doctorate at the University of Southern Mississippi. SDSU percussion lecturer (and Ropeadope Recording artist) David Whitman took one piece of his instructor’s advice to heart. “He said, ‘If you want to play, get a van!’ And then everyone laughs, of course. But when you land in the real world, you find out it’s really true.”

After studying at both the University of Wisconsin and Kansas State University, he came to San Diego 11 years ago to finish his dissertation. “I’ve moved around a lot. Before I came here, I played on a cruise ship and lived in Arizona, and I just wanted to settle down. And my parents knew that I’d be writing this paper, so they kind of encouraged me to come out here. After I got my doctorate, I already had a job at San Diego State. I’ve also taught drum line there for a few years. I’ve got this broad base as a performer and teacher, and I’m kind of this utility percussion guy. Over the years, I’ve taught jazz vibraphone, jazz drum set, and classical percussion. I’m really trained as an orchestral percussionist, but at the same time, I was playing drums in bars from the age of 17 to 24 every night, maybe ten gigs a week.”

Whitman plays so many instruments that just having a dedicated drum room at home isn’t enough. So, for as long as he’s been here, he has rented a large room (20’ x 15’) in an industrial warehouse complex. His neighbors are a seafood wholesaler (Mainely Lobster & Seafood) and Flexible Warehouse Solutions.

“So I have multiple marimbas and vibraphones, five timpani, and multiple gongs. I have a huge bass drum and shelves full of various drums. I do rent some stuff out, but mostly the equipment is for me as a performer. These are fine instruments, and they are well-maintained because they’re my personal instruments, you know?”

Place

Dizzy's/Musicians Union Hall

1717 Morena Boulevard, San Diego

In addition to his teaching schedule, Whitman has been busy performing in the post-Covid world. He recently played two shows at the San Diego Symphony’s new Rady Shell on the waterfront. “For one show, I was ‘Percussion 5’. There were six guys. I played vibraphone, roto-toms, snare drum and a lot of cymbals. For the other show, I just played orchestral bells on a Bach piece.” He says the sound at the Shell is “pristine. Everybody has their own monitor, so you can play nice and lightly. You can get really coloristic, I think, and play like you would in a concert hall.”

Place

Jazz Lounge

6818 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

In addition to the Symphony gigs, Whitman has played two recent sessions with his jazz groups. The first featured his Soul Flow quintet (Derek Cannon on trumpet, Francisco Torres on trombone, Hans Chamberlain on organ, and Justin Grinnell on bass) at the newly reopened Dizzy’s. “That was super fun. We had a really good crowd and [Dizzy’s owner Chuck Perrin] acknowledged that there was a real magic in the air.” The next night, Whitman featured in a quartet with Ian Harland on vibes, Irving Flores on piano, and young John Murray on bass, playing original music at the Jazz Lounge, the new jazz club being run by long-time jazz vocalist Leonard Patton.

He has a new album out on Ropeadope Records called Soul Flow. “I try to have an aesthetic with my own albums that could appeal to people who might not have even listened to jazz before. My hope is that something catches their ear, and they get it right away.”

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David Whitman and some drums. Well, a lot, really. Hence the warehouse.
David Whitman and some drums. Well, a lot, really. Hence the warehouse.

When studying for his doctorate at the University of Southern Mississippi. SDSU percussion lecturer (and Ropeadope Recording artist) David Whitman took one piece of his instructor’s advice to heart. “He said, ‘If you want to play, get a van!’ And then everyone laughs, of course. But when you land in the real world, you find out it’s really true.”

After studying at both the University of Wisconsin and Kansas State University, he came to San Diego 11 years ago to finish his dissertation. “I’ve moved around a lot. Before I came here, I played on a cruise ship and lived in Arizona, and I just wanted to settle down. And my parents knew that I’d be writing this paper, so they kind of encouraged me to come out here. After I got my doctorate, I already had a job at San Diego State. I’ve also taught drum line there for a few years. I’ve got this broad base as a performer and teacher, and I’m kind of this utility percussion guy. Over the years, I’ve taught jazz vibraphone, jazz drum set, and classical percussion. I’m really trained as an orchestral percussionist, but at the same time, I was playing drums in bars from the age of 17 to 24 every night, maybe ten gigs a week.”

Whitman plays so many instruments that just having a dedicated drum room at home isn’t enough. So, for as long as he’s been here, he has rented a large room (20’ x 15’) in an industrial warehouse complex. His neighbors are a seafood wholesaler (Mainely Lobster & Seafood) and Flexible Warehouse Solutions.

“So I have multiple marimbas and vibraphones, five timpani, and multiple gongs. I have a huge bass drum and shelves full of various drums. I do rent some stuff out, but mostly the equipment is for me as a performer. These are fine instruments, and they are well-maintained because they’re my personal instruments, you know?”

Place

Dizzy's/Musicians Union Hall

1717 Morena Boulevard, San Diego

In addition to his teaching schedule, Whitman has been busy performing in the post-Covid world. He recently played two shows at the San Diego Symphony’s new Rady Shell on the waterfront. “For one show, I was ‘Percussion 5’. There were six guys. I played vibraphone, roto-toms, snare drum and a lot of cymbals. For the other show, I just played orchestral bells on a Bach piece.” He says the sound at the Shell is “pristine. Everybody has their own monitor, so you can play nice and lightly. You can get really coloristic, I think, and play like you would in a concert hall.”

Place

Jazz Lounge

6818 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

In addition to the Symphony gigs, Whitman has played two recent sessions with his jazz groups. The first featured his Soul Flow quintet (Derek Cannon on trumpet, Francisco Torres on trombone, Hans Chamberlain on organ, and Justin Grinnell on bass) at the newly reopened Dizzy’s. “That was super fun. We had a really good crowd and [Dizzy’s owner Chuck Perrin] acknowledged that there was a real magic in the air.” The next night, Whitman featured in a quartet with Ian Harland on vibes, Irving Flores on piano, and young John Murray on bass, playing original music at the Jazz Lounge, the new jazz club being run by long-time jazz vocalist Leonard Patton.

He has a new album out on Ropeadope Records called Soul Flow. “I try to have an aesthetic with my own albums that could appeal to people who might not have even listened to jazz before. My hope is that something catches their ear, and they get it right away.”

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