Stephen Coffman was born in Durham, North Carolina on May 14th, 1984. Since the age of 3, he has been destined to take charge behind the drum set. As his father played in funk bands throughout Stephen’s youth, sitting in on rehearsals exposed him to the scene very early. By the tender age of 11, he joined up with friends and began practicing and playing out in clubs. After years in symphonic school bands, Stephen’s passion for jazz evolved and his sincerity towards music became very apparent during sophomore year at Durham School of the Arts. Through the mentorship of a few special teachers, Stephen was turned on to older recordings, which have played a key role in his interpretation of his musicianship today. He participated in the small jazz combos and began to study big band drumming in his last 2 years at DSA.
After high school, Stephen earned a scholarship to major in music performance, specifying in Jazz, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Studying under the likes of Jim Ketch, Thomas Taylor, Lynn Glassock, Matt Savage, and Steve Anderson, Stephen was able to hone his concepts of musicality, reading, and technique as well as many other necessary skills for the performing musician. While at UNC, Stephen had the opportunity to work with many world class musicians including: Barry Harris, Marcus Roberts, Jason Marsalis, Roland Guerin, John Riley, David Berkman, Conrad Herwig, Ray Vega and others. Stephen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was also the recipient of the Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz award during his Senior year. Thanks to a very fertile and friendly music scene around the triangle, Stephen benefited from a completely separate education, working along side of the many local heavyweights, frequenting an array of venues in the area.
Nearing the end of college, Stephen was introduced to the pop music scene and began performing on the road. Touring throughout the country in world renown Michael Jackson Tribute Band, Who’s Bad, Stephen was taking the stage from New York to San Diego and everywhere in between. The group experienced enormous success, playing in front of thousands of fans every night.
Aside from the many rewarding gigs and recording sessions that Stephen participates in each night as a hired gun, Stephen currently plays as a regular band member in these projects:
The Beast, refreshingly conscious hip hop jazz quartet
Peter Lamb and the Wolves, traditional New Orleans Jazz band meets sexy/exotic dance band
NCJRO-North Carolina’s most celebrated Jazz orchestra
Other professional collaborations, either in a live setting or on record, have included:
North Carolina Symphony
North Carolina Lottery
In addition to local performance and recording work (see discography for full list of recordings), Stephen is a dedicated music educator at Creative Music Studio and also teaches private lessons from his home in Durham. From private drum lessons to judging state Jazz band competitions, Stephen is just as comfortable on stage as he is in the classroom. He has performed workshops and clinics at schools and community centers throughout the country. See Lessons page for more information on his teaching mantra. To request a complete Resumé or just to say “What’s up?” please email Stephen.