Episode 24: Time Within Itself – Interview with Dr. Michael Waldrop


Join Meredith as she interviews Dr. Michael Waldrop, Director of Percussion Studies at Eastern Washington University. They explore the history of cymbals and percussion from the late 1800s to the present — including myths about how jazz was born, how percussionists were the special effects masters of the Vaudeville stage & silent movie era, and why he believes understanding politics and current events is a key skill for great musicians. He’ll also discuss how he draws on history, science, and art to create music, including his critically-acclaimed album of original big band music: Time Within Itself (Origin Records).

About Dr. Waldrop:

waldrop 1Dr. Michael Waldrop is Professor of Percussion at the Eastern Washington University. He teaches jazz drumset, classical percussion, percussion ensembles and percussion methods at EWU. He has a Bachelor’s degree in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, a Masters in Jazz Studies from the University of Memphis, and a Doctorate in Performance from the University of North Texas.

Dr. Waldrop’s career has been extensive and varied, ranging from rock and jazz styles to performances with major symphonies in the United States and abroad. Waldrop is a recording artist on the grammy nominated “Origin” label that released his critically acclaimed CD entitled “Time Within Itself” in 2015.  He was a member of the Grammy nominated One o’Clock Lab Band and recorded two CD’s with the group and has been on several international tours, including a European tour of the Broadway production of 42nd Street and a tour of Turkey with Prix di Rome prize-winning composer Kamran Ince and his ensemble. In addition, he has performed with a number of jazz luminaries including Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, and Mike Stern.  Dr. Waldrop was also a member of Blue Note recording artist Bob Belden’s quartet. He has played and recorded with many of the greatest percussionists in the world including Gordon Stout, Nebojsa Zivkovic and Airto. He has played on many recording projects ranging from the Warner Bros. Movie “Christmas Vacation”, a plethora of  jazz recordings and various chamber music projects.

Dr. Waldrop was a member of a select group of 50 of the finest marimbists in the world chosen to represent the international Percussive Arts Society in a 50 member marimba orchestra to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the society in 2011.  He was recently featured on a 2014 CD with internationally renowned marimbist and member of the PAS Hall of Fame, Gordon Stout.  In Spokane, Waldrop was a featured member of the Bob Curnow big band from 2006-09 with whom he recorded four CD’s and was featured as a soloist on these CD’s.

Dr. Waldrop was the Director of Jazz Studies and Percussion at Colorado Mesa University in Colorado from 1999-2004. While in Colorado, he was Principal Percussionist with the Grand Junction Symphony as well as Director of the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra.  He was the professor of percussion at the University of Toledo from 2004-2006 . While there he performed in the Faculty Jazz group with legendary jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks. He is a current member of Jack Cooper’s Jazz Orchestra of the Delta based in Memphis. Dr. Waldrop recorded four CD’s with the Bob Curnow band from 2006-09.

Dr. Waldrop’s former teachers include Robert Schietroma, Ron Fink, Henry Okstel, Greg Bissonnette, Gordon Stout, Frank Shaffer, Keith Copeland, and master classes with Leigh Stevens. He is an endorser and clinician for Yamaha percussion instruments and Vic Firth sticks and mallets. He is available for clinics and performances in both jazz and classical percussion idioms.

How to find Time Within Itself:


Stream the album for free, and purchase (digital & CD) via www.michaelwaldrop.net

iTunes here:  Time Within Itself

Amazon* here: Time Within Itself

Links & Additional Resources:

Time Within Itself on Wikipedia


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Frank, Emily, & Meredith have received no compensation for this interview or from the individuals, brands, or products discussed. As discussed in the interview, Dr. Waldrop endorses Yamaha and Vic Firth products, and is a clinician for Yamaha. We promise we will always clearly disclose our sponsorships.

*Amazon Affiliate link.