World renowned jazz drummer Tommy Campbell plays his first performance at a Philadelphia area venue in 30 years this Friday and Saturday night at the Underground in Lansdale. Campbell, the nephew of Hammond organ pioneer, Jimmy Smith, circled the globe touring with legendary jazz performers including trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, guitarist John McLaughlin, and Tommy’s boyhood friend and longtime Tonight Show guitarist, Kevin Eubanks.
Joining Campbell onstage is trumpet player Peter Neu and saxophonist Ed Etkins. Ed Etkins and Peter Neu, hail from the Brain Pastor Big Band and work as music educators in the Souderton and North Penn School District
Additional guests include Noah Jarrett at bass and Bill Gottshall at piano. Jarrett, a double bassist, composer and teacher, lives locally in Bucks County, and performs and writes music with numerous groups, including the Inbetweens, the Triage, and the sextet Knu Gmoon Project.
Bill Gottshall, a music educator, composer, and arranger, has written music and lyrics for six musical plays including the dramatic play, “A Fast Train to Heaven.” For 10 years, Gottshall worked as the staff composer for non-profit corporations including Arts for Anyone and Global Neighborhood. After three visits to Istanbul, Turkey, Gottshall served as a composer-in-residence for an artist exchange program.
In unique twist of events, the friendship once ignited over 30 years ago when Campbell and Gottshall shared a dorm room at the Berklee College of Music, reaffirmed itself upon hearing news of a devastatingly unfortunate scenario. On May 4, 2017, Campbell suffered injuries in a brutal mugging near his home in Lower Manhattan. The muggers pushed Campbell’s knee caps into his thigh bones, severing tendons, broke one of his feet and inflicted a near career ending injury to his wrist. If it wasn’t for the help of a strong community of jazz musicians organizing multiple donation efforts, including a sizable donation from legendary keyboardist Chick Corea and a special GoFundMe page, Campbell might not be playing right now.
Still on his path down the long road of recovery, Lansdale looks to welcome one of its local sons back to the area (Campbell was born in Norristown). $12 Tickets can be purchased at door or online. Tickets remain for both late shows. Doors open an hour before showtime.