COUNTRY: United States
From Zurich, the son of Bass player Vali Mayer, Jojo spent much of his early childhood on the road in Europe and the Far East. At the age of 2 he got his first drum set, and he made his first public performance in Hong Kong at three! By 18 he had joined Monty Alexander’s group touring major festivals in Europe (North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux, Nice, Antibes and Athens); that led to gigs with Dizzy Gillespie & Nina Simone, while introducing him to larger International Jazz audiences.
Moving to New York City in 1991, he soon built up a number of writing and production credits for his significant live and studio work. He also ran the popular Prohibited Beatz live electronica party in NYC from 1996-2001. Jojo Mayer is known for bringing together jazz, drum and bass, jungle, and other influences. He is also famous for his ability to play the rhythms of programmed jungle drum ‘n’ bass music on acoustic drums, terming this technique “reverse engineering”, a phrase borrowed from computing. He executes this approach using various methods such as the Heel-toe bass drum technique, the Moeller stroke, and the “pull-out” or “push-pull” accent which takes the beat on the rebound. Using these techniques, he can play beats at astonishing speeds. A few of his main influences are Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette and Buddy Rich.
He played with the guitarist David Fiuczynski in the avant-garde pop rock band Screaming Headless Torsos and in the fusion jazz band, Intergalactic Maiden Ballet. He also performed with such luminaries as Meshell Ndegeocello, Vernon Reid’s Science Project, DJ Spooky, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Wayne Krantz, Gerald Veasley, John Zorn, James Blood Ulmer, Chico Freeman, Dhaffer Yousef, John Medeski, Hiram Bullock, Depart, Friedrich Gulda, Harry Sokal, Mike Stern & Wah Wah Watson. Jojo is a skilled clinician who continues to appear in numerous music festivals and sells out clinics all around the world.
Jojo has also played a significant role in product development with SABIAN, having worked closely with the Vault team on the design of his signature Fierce models (Hats, Ride and Crash), the AAX and HHX OMNI cymbals, and the Hoop Crasher.