Joseph Diamo home    
My music l Lessons l Links l Bio l Testimonials l Resume l TV l Radio l Contact
      Joseph Diamo    


The Autobiography of Joe Diamo

I arrived on this planet again, sometime ago near the music capitol of the world. New York, New York. I chose Roman Catholic Italian parents, presumably to learn some hard lessons. (Actually it was a very nurturing environment in which I was allowed to do just about anything I wanted.)

When I was around five I wanted to be a priest. I saw it as my mission and a broader duty to convert my heathen protestant friends and to rescue them from the fires of damnation.

Then I wanted to be a dancer. I would dance as much as I could for whoever would watch. My parents thought I was so good they got me an agent. Enter Jimmy Delaney... an out of date, madcap ready to live his life through the right young, talented and willing victim. I guess I fit the bill. He worked me so hard I cried whenever my mother would leave me with him for another grueling 12-hour day. I was only seven years old and while I enjoyed the accolades I decided he needed to get a life and I needed mine back.

The drums were calling to me anyway. I come from a family of drummers. I studied with my uncle for five years. I practiced all the time, I was my uncle's best student,   My favorite thing was to cloister myself in my room, turn the lights down low, put on a pair of shades and play to Cannonball...

I went to Western Connecticut State College for classical training and Berkelee for jazz studies. On my breaks I'd go study with Ed Blackwell. I loved him!   Music and spirituality have gone hand-in-hand with me   From a decipleship with a Hindu master, to Zen, the Sufis, Shamanism, and eventually to the profound Vajrayana,   all were invaluable experiences in my development. Among my teachers was Buddy Rich who initiated me into the kingdom of jazz when I was 11. Then I devoured Krupa, Max, Elvin, Blakey, Tony, Jack, and Blackwell.. When I was 16 I toured Europe with the All City Jazz Band. At 17 I found a friend in Ray McKinley. He was a great inspiration. He was always encouraging. Andrew Cyrille also helped me and of course, Ed Blackwell. Marion Meadows befriended me and we used to hang out and play.

I left Berkeley because they couldn't tell me what music "was." By that I mean the instruction went to a certain level but didn't penetrate the essence. I wanted to unite consciousness and music, spiritual development and musical involvement,.-I drew the wrong conclusion at Berkeley, that I couldn't play my music and make a living. I left to figure my next move. I met a beautiful, crazy woman who I wanted to "save." Two months later I was back in school studying psychology. Four years after that I earned a master's degree in Buddhist and Western Philosophy from the Naropa institute. I worked as a psychotherapist for six years simultaneously playing with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. I worked as a jazz drummer and solo pianist whenever and wherever I could. Then, the facility where I worked as a therapist was closed due to insurance fraud, the administrator was sent to jail, and I was finally liberated. I was sick and tired of

working with crazy people (and the patients were tough, too). 1 put one ad in the Colorado Daily and within two months I had 20 drum students.   That was ten years ago and I haven't had to work in any other field since.   The muse has been good to me, I bought a condo. I have money. I'm doing well.

I've worked extensively with many of Colorado's finest, Art Lande, Joe Bonner, Bob Montgomery, Joe Lukasik, Bill Janssen, Rich Chiaraluce, Paul Warburton, Keith Waters, Mark Sabatella. Geoff Cleveland, and Artie Moore.   I've played in many clubs and regularly at places like Sullivan's,   Trios and The Fourth Story. I prefer to work at festivals, weddings, and special events in general because, not only do they pay a lot better, but they treat musicians better; the level of appreciation is higher. The trouble with clubs.-.first of all there is no organized body of musicians that could help empower and protect us, which is what the union is supposed to do, but that's a joke. Musicians are left competing among ourselves, dis-empowered and prey to the almighty club owner who is actively colluding and price-fixing with   other almighty's - I mean, look at the situation -you have LoDo jazz clubs booked by estranged Texans; the nicest club in Boulder is run by a tyrant who couldn't tell the difference between bad and good music, let alone good and great music. Boulder clubs mysteriously morph   into   pool   halls.   Phantom clubs "try" Jazz for a few months without putting in the necessary time and experience and end up switching to rock or country,

I realized a long time ago that if a musician wants to make it, he/she must be a businessperson and take an active roll. I did that to the extreme with Amphion, a collective of musicians, dancers, poets and visual artists- We wrote our own grants and put on our own concerts structured in improvisational theater. It was great! As a jazz musician, you can find money on the street, but you can't make a living on it.

                Joe Diamo      
      Contact Web Master     My music l Lessons l Links l Bio l Testimonials l Resume l TV l Radio l Home l Contact     © 2008 Joe Diamo