Jazz Faculty: John Hadfield

As a percussionist, John Hadfield’s dedication to music has taken him from his native Missouri to concert halls and clubs across the world. His ability to cross genres has allowed him to appear with a broad range of ensembles and artists including: Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble, The Saturday Night Live Band on NBC, and Kinan Azmeh’s City Band. He has collaborated on more than 80 recordings as a guest artist, including the GRAMMY award winner Yo-Yo Ma and Friends and Songs of Joy and Peace (SONY BMG 2008).  

He has also released two records of his own compositions: The Eye of Gordon (2008) and Displaced (2010). In his work, he seeks to combine a variety of musical styles, including, but not limited to, jazz, classical western music, Carnatic music, and electronic music, to develop compositions that integrate improvisation and structure. His compositions typically involve a wide range of percussion sounds—from the traditional jazz drum set to the classical Indian kanjira, the African kalimba, and random objects such as bicycle wheels, pieces of metal, or ventilation tubes. He has also been exploring the sonic and kinetic possibilities resulting from the combination of multiple instruments and electronics (such as the software Ableton Live).    

John Hadfield’s work has received significant critical acclaim. Time Out New York has noted: “John Hadfield’s percussion is so impeccable.” In a review of John’s record Displaced, Downtown Music Gallery founder Bruce Lee Gallanter has stated that “[w]hat makes this special is that Mr. Hadfield knows how to use percussion in a more organic way that rarely deals with any sort of (logical or overused) beats, yet the music remains consistently fascinating throughout.”  

John Hadfield currently serves on the Jazz faculty of NYU, where he teaches drum set and the World Percussion Ensemble. While performing and recording with jazz groups, John Hadfield has played alongside many inspiring and creative musicians including Lenny Pickett, Kenny Werner, George Garzone, Billy Drewes, Greg Osby, Gil Goldstein, Bobby Watson, James Genus, Gilad Hekselman, Jean-Michel Pilc,  Petros Klampanis, Satoshi Takeshi, Brad Shepik, Mark Helias, Matt Garrison, David  Krakauer, Chris Jennings, François Rabbath and Erik Friedlander.