Bobby Previte

Bobby Previte

Previte during a rehearsal in Moscow, 1991, photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
Background information
Born (1951-07-16) July 16, 1951
Niagara Falls, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz, rock, experimental
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Labels Palmetto

Robert "Bobby" Previte (born July 16, 1951, in Niagara Falls, New York) is a drummer, composer, and bandleader. He earned a degree in Economics from the University at Buffalo, where he also studied percussion. He moved to New York City in 1979 and began professional relationships with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, and Elliott Sharp.


While Previte is a talented drummer he has also received critical acclaim for his "exceptional abilities as a composer and orchestrator."[1] A review of his 1988 album Claude's Late Morning reports that "Perhaps most striking is Previte's skill in composing music that fully integrates these disparate instruments — including drums and drum machine, electric guitar and keyboards, trombone, harp, accordion, banjo, pedal steel guitar, tuba, and harmonica — while emphasizing each instrument's unique, individual sound."[2] Another critic notes Previte's "driving and propulsive compositions, featuring both fiery jazz expressionism and layered counterpoint that suggested elements of contemporary minimalism.[3]

Previte's compositions are often tightly arranged, although they leave room for significant amounts of improvisation. Additionally, Previte often uses unusual instrumentation and also draws on many non-jazz musics for his compositions.

In 1991, he wrote the score for "Cirk Valentin" (Moscow Circus on Stage), a stage show consisting of circus acts created by Valentin Gneushev that performed at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.

Recent large-scale compositional works as of Spring 2007 include:

Previte is currently working on a series of percussion concertos featuring So Percussion ensemble and solo improvisers scheduled to premiere in 2011.

Bobby Previte live at Saalfelden 2009


Previte has received excellent reviews and full articles in major newspapers such as The New York Times,[5] The Washington Post and The Guardian[6] for playing a wide range of genres and venues[7] and for qualities as diverse as his intellectual aesthetic to his ability "to groove." Recent and current projects as of Spring 2007 include :

Much of Previte's work is also improvisational. One of Previte's own favorite recorded improvisational collaborations was with John Zorn, "Euclid's Nightmare" (Depth of Field 1997).[8] In the 1990s, he performed with the Seattle-based 100% improvisational musical collective Ponga with Wayne Horvitz, Skerik, and Dave Palmer. Previte has collaborated with Jamie Saft as "Swami Late Plate." Also the improvisational Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft, Skerik: Live in 2003 (DVD - Word Public) was released in 2006. April In New York, is a 5-DVD set released 2007 of improvisational duets.

Previte appeared in the movie Short Cuts directed by Robert Altman.[9]


As leader/co-leader


As sideman

With Terry Adams

With Ray Anderson

With The Bang

With Bob Belden

With Marco Benevento

With Tim Berne

With Jane Ira Bloom

With William S. Burroughs

With Corporate Art

With Paul Dresher and Ned Rothenberg

With Marty Ehrlich

With Carol Emanuel

With David Fulton

With David Garland

With Jerome Harris

With Robin Holcomb

With Lindsey Horner

With Bill Horvitz

With Wayne Horvitz

With Yoko Kanno

With Guy Klucevsek

With Makigami Koichi

With The New York Composers Orchestra

With Kirk Nurock

With Seigen Ono

With the Peggy Stern/Thomas Chapin Quintet

With Ponga

With Mike Pride

With Bobby Radcliff

With Jamie Saft

With Jeffrey Schanzer

With Elliott Sharp

With The Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet

With Various Artists

With Tom Varner

With Tom Waits

With Victoria Williams

With Andreas Willers

With John Zorn


  1. Bobby Previte, Brandishing Pen And Drumsticks, Steve Futterman, The Washington Post, Mar 24, 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2007
  2. Claude's Late Morning Review Dave Lynch, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  3. Empty Suits Review David Lynch, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  4. Biography Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved October 24, 2007
  5. A Drummer, Different And Yet In the Groove, Peter Water, The New York Times, October 1, 1998. Retrieved April 20, 2007
  6. Bobby Previte John Fordham, The Guardian, February 5, 2004. Retrieved October 24, 2007
  7. Biography Archived November 26, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 24, 2007
  8. Note by artist, Retrieved October 24, 2007
  9. Short Cuts (1993), Retrieved May 15, 2010
  10. Roussel, P. Discography of Bobby Previte, accessed August 12, 2016
  11. Bobby Previte discography, accessed August 12, 2016

External links

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