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About Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy has led a diverse career as drummer / percussionist, bandleader, producer and educator in a myriad of settings from symphony orchestra to bebop, big band, afro cuban, theater and beyond.

Joe is the founder, leader, producer and drummer of Afro Bop Alliance, winner of the 2008 Latin Grammy for Latin Jazz Album of the Year, and nominated in the same category for the 51st Grammy Awards for the Heads-Up release “Afro Bop Alliance”, featuring Dave Samuels. Afro Bop has just released their seventh recording UPWARDS on ZOHO Music.

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Drummer Joe McCarthy and his New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band to release new recording “Upwards” 11/8/19


Joe McCarthy The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band UpwardsThe New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band:

Drums, band leader: Joe McCarthy
Saxes: Matt Hong, Kristy Norter, Ben Kono, Dave Riekenberg, Eden Bareket
Trombones: Sara Jacovino, John Yao, Sam Blakeslee, Jen Hinkle
Trumpets: Nick Marchione, Raul Agraz. Bryan Davis, Dave Smith
Guitar: Vinny Valentino   Piano: Manuel Valera   Bass: Boris Kozlov
Percussion: Samuel Torres

“On his second ZOHO release, drummer Joe McCarthy leads his impressive, NY based large ensemble through two vintage jazz numbers and six colorful pieces written by current and past band members. While there are many big bands on the scene, there none quite like this. That the band can move quickly from angular, intervallic runs to lush, pensive moments is a testament to the virtuosity of its performers and the artistic suppleness of its leader.” – Kabir Sehgal

“Congratulations to Joe and his band mates for creatively pushing Latin big band jazz forward in exciting new directions!”   –Rich DeRosa

Joe McCarthy The New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band


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Joe has been actively involved with education throughout his career. He has been teaching on the collegiate level since 1992, upon graduating from the University of North Texas with a Masters in Percussion Performance. Joe has held positions at Texas Wesleyan University and Delaware State University. He currently holds adjunct appointments at Georgetown University, George Mason University and Washington College. Active as a clinician, Joe has been a featured performer and clinician at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention PASIC, Jazz Educators Network International Convention JEN, numerous PAS Days of Percussion, MusicFest Canada, The National Jazz Workshop, George Mason University Summer Jazz and Percussion Seminars, The Jazz n Youth Exchange of Germany, and many others.

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Watch all of Joe’s Stylistic Coordination videos for Vic Firth!


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