Gary Hobbs

jazz drummer and educator

About Gary Hobbs

Drummer Gary Hobbs is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, WA. He has played professionally for over 4 decades and appears on over 60 recordings. Gary played with The Stan Kenton Orchestra from 1975 through 1977. Through the years Gary has played with Randy Brecker, Bud Shank, George Cables, Ken Peplowski, Pete Christlieb, Greta Matassa, Anita O'Day, Dan Siegel, Glen Moore, The New York Voices, Eddie Harris and many more. Randy Brecker, Bill Mays, Kurt Elling, Dave Frishberg, David Freisen, Bobby Shew, Bobby Watson, Bob Florence, Carl Saunders, The Woody Herman Orchestra,Terry Gibbs, Jaquie Naylor, Jim Widner Big Band, Stan Kenton Alumni Big Band and Tom Grant are just a few of the artists that Gary has recently performed with.

Carnagie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Tivoli Garden, Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap are among the venues Gary has played along with scores of festivals and clubs all over the world. Gary is very active in Jazz Education teaching at The University Of Oregon and traveling all over the US doing clinics, concerts and jazz camps with the help of Crescent Cymbal Company and Yamaha Drum Company.


Gary featured on Drummer Nation

Gary Hobbs is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, WA. He has played professionally for over 4 decades and appears on over 60 recordings. Gary played with The Stan Kenton Orchestra from 75 through 77. Gary has performed with Randy Brecker, Bud Shank, Anita O'Day, Terry Gibbs, The New York Voices, The Woody Herman Orchestra and many others. He's played Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center, as well as festivals and clubs all over the world. Gary is very active in Jazz Education, teaching at The University Of Oregon and doing clinics, concerts and jazz camps.

Gary featured on "The Working Drummer" Podcast

Gary Hobbs: Touring with Stan Kenton, Applying Jazz Training to All Music, Breaking Jazz Out of Its Own Box

Gary Hobbs resides just outside Portland, OR, literally steps from the house he grew up in. His father and grandfather were both semi-pro drummers, but the drum bug didn't bite Gary until his senior year in high school. He attended a Stan Kenton Jazz Camp where he studied with legendary jazz drummer and educator John Von Ohlen, who convinced him to pursue drumming professionally. After a stint in the army, Gary was invited to join the Kenton Band and toured with them almost non-stop for two and a half years. Since then, his hometown has been his home base from which he has commanded a successful career as a drummer and educator. In addition to playing all over the Pacific Northwest, Gary teaches at The University of Oregon. He has traveled the world as a sideman with jazz greats such as Randy Brecker, Anita O'Day, and Eddie Harris, and in his own right as an educator and clinician.

Click here to listen to the episode.

THE COLUMBIAN: Vancouver drummer finds jazz, musical freedom on rise in China


THE COLUMBIAN: Vancouver drummer finds jazz, musical freedom on rise in China

Things ain't what they used to be in East Asia, and especially in urban centers such as Beijing and Hong Kong, according to jazz drummer Gary Hobbs.

You might actually hear that sly Duke Ellington standard pouring from the doorway of a nightclub or conservatory these days -- in a civilization that used to consider jazz music subversive, even pornographic, and definitely anti-communist.

That big red chill is thawing fast, according to Vancouver native Hobbs, 67, who went on his fourth teaching-and-performing junket to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in late October. The centerpiece of the trip was the third annual China Drum Summit, hosted by the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy.

Hobbs was away for 10 days and was "totally shocked," he said, at the masses of Chinese music students displaying real talent and fire about this essentially American art form. Hobbs said he found "massive conservatories full of all these brazen virtuosos" who are practicing the instruments with the biggest, boldest voices -- brassy saxophones, earth-quaking drums -- like their lives depend on it.

It stems from the rising Chinese standard of living, Hobbs surmised, and from the opening-up of a society that was officially closed to outside cultural influences for decades.

"I'm not sure why all of a sudden jazz is cool there," he said, "but it is urgent."

Click here to read the entire article.


Gary Hobbs, Of My Times

"...a fine stylist."
- The London Times

From Stan Kenton to Dave Friesen to Tom Grant - drummer Gary Hobbs combines a diverse & celebrated musical history with his love of the Spanish cajon for inspired takes on "Fever," "Besame Mucho" and "The Look of Love." With a large supporting cast that includes vocalist Greta Matassa, pianists Tom Grant & Marc Seales, and trombonist Jeff Uusitalo, Hobbs & crew also explore 7 originals, all propelled by Hobbs' spirited drumming and distinctive arrangements.

Buy from Origin Records


Richard Cole - Shade (Origin)
Richard Cole - The Forgotten (Origin 82384)
Phil Kelly - Convergence Zone (Origin 82417)
Phil Kelly - Ballet Of The Bouncing Beagles (Origin)
Tim Jensen - A Mind For The Scenery (Origin 82424)
Randy Halberstadt - Parallel Tracks (Origin 82435)
Gary Hobbs - - Low Flight Through Valhalla
Stan Kenton - Kenton 76
Stan Kenton - Journey Into Capricorn
Stan Kenton - Live In Europe
Stan Kenton - Artistry In Symphonic Jazz
Stan Kenton - Live In Cologne
Dave Frishberg - Quality Time
King & Moore - Cliff Dance
Tom Grant - You Hardly Know Me
Tom Grant - Tom Grant
Tom Grant - Heart Of The City
Tom Grant - Nice Work If You Can Get It
Dan Siegel - Night Ride
Dan Siegel - The Hot Shot
Dan Siegel - Reflections
Chris Parker - Viaje
Chris Parker - The Thing Is
Clay Jenkins - Give and Gather
David Freisen - Storyteller
The Kicks Band - The Kicks Band

Simon and Bard - Musaic
Tim Jensen - Tim Jensen
Randy Porter - Forest 4/the Trees
Jim Widner Big Band - Yesterdays and Todays
Jim Widner Big Band - Body and Soul
Jim Widner Big Band - Rides Again
Jim Widner Big Band - Flying High
Mike Vax Big Band
featuring alumni of The Stan Kenton Orchestra - I Remember You
Mike Vax Big Band
featuring alumni of The Stan Kenton Orchestra - Live On The Road
Don Immel - Long way Home
Nancy Kelly - Well, Alright!
Mike Vax Big Band
featuring alumni of the Stan Kenton Orchestra - Sounds From The Road
4 - 4
Marc Seales - American Songs
Bill Beach - Bill Beach and Brazil Beat
Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra - Road Scholars
Doug Scarborough - Bridges


Soon ... hopefully very soon!


It has been 37 years since I became involved in jazz education while playing with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and within that period of time I have given hundreds of clinics and concerts in the US and many countrys over seas. I also have been involved in teaching and playing at numerous jazz camps across the country. In past summers I was out having a great time doing one week long jazz camps at:

  • Shanghai Conservatory of Music Shanghai China
  • Rangsit University Bangkok Thailand
  • University of Missouri at St Louis
  • Simpson University in Indianola, IO
  • Drury University in Springfield, MO
  • University of MO at Kansas City
  • Cal State University at Sacramento
  • Centrum at The Port Townsend Jazz Camp, Port Townsend, WA
  • University Of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Texas Christian University Ft Worth TX
  • Collin County Community College Plano TX

These Camps are a wonderful place for students of all ages to come play and learn about jazz.

I have had the pleasure of working at these camps with such greats as Kim Richmond, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Watson, Tarrell Stafford, Rob Fleeman, Tom Kennedy, Rick Haydon, Chip Stevens, Paul McKee, Scott Winfield, Dave Pietro, Mike Vax, John Harner, Davey Scott, Bobby Shew, Tarrell Stafford, Maria Schnieder, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Jerrold Wilson, Pete Christlieb, Jeff Hamilton, Kurt Elling, Carl Allen, John Clayton, Bill Mays, Jeff Clayton, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Halberstadt, Chuck Deardorf, Nancy King, Bill Ramsay, Ingred Jensen, Kristen Korb, Matt Wilson, joe Labarbara, Jeff Hamilton and many more great musicians.

This Fall Term marked my 15th year of teaching at the University Of Oregon. I teach drumset and work mainly with the Jazz Majors under the direction of Steve Owen who, in my opinion, is one of the finest University level jazz educators in the country. A truly great program.

I have been very lucky to be involved with Yamaha Drum Company since 1981 and I am very excited about recently becoming a Crescent Cymbal Artist. These two companies do an awsome job of helping artists share their knowledge and experience with the young and not so young students of music around the world. They also have allowed my voice to be heard through their wonderful instruments.

I do clinics and concerts all over the country with High School and University bands as well as some "in store" clinics at different music stores. Please feel free to contact me on my email list if you are interested in working together on any kind of educational projects.

Keep on learning.

Contact Gary Hobbs

phone: 360-521-9161

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