KickStrap artist Dorian Randolph

Dorian Randolph releases new single

Dorian Randolph KickStrap artist

Dorian Randolph

Out soon Dorian Randolph's new single on @deltaca_music

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Mr. Randolph - Just A Number

Dorian's Instagram click here


  Dorian Randolph has been steeped in music from the time he was born. When he was still in diapers he would sit on stage behind his dad and play tambourine. His dad, Eugene Randolph, was an accomplished drummer playing the prestigious hotels in the Catskills “Borscht Belt” summer resort scene of the 1970’s and 80s. Dorian’s life has been an amazing experience, playing with highly skilled musicians and touring at a young age. Dorian secured his first tour with Murali Coryell at the age of 22. From there he went on to play with Joe Louis Walker for a number of years. In talking with Dorian about his accomplished drumming and amazing experiences his humble nature shines through. You feel his heart and openness, which is part of the reason he has accomplished much with his drumming. I was honored to get to speak with Dorian this last week.

Gary: How did you begin playing drums and how old were you?

Dorian: I started at the age of about 5. I’d sit up on stage with my dad, when I was still in diapers, right next to him. He would let me play the tambourine or cowbell with whoever the artist was that he was backing in one of the hotels here in the Catskill area. They would allow me to sit next to him and wouldn’t give me a hard time. It was a really nice way to be introduced to music.

Gary: Your dad played drums?

Dorian: My dad, Eugene Randolph, was a drummer and taught middle school and high school band. He also dabbled in other instruments. I can remember him doing a gig trading off drums and trombone.

Gary: Your dad was really living music so he involved you from the time you were a baby.

Dorian: Yeah.

Gary: Your dad was playing with who? Various artists?

Dorian: My dad was freelance. He was hired for a lot of different gigs over the years. He actually spent some time on the road with The Four Seasons back in the day. He also played in the house band at the local hotel. I don’t know if you know but the hotel scene in the Catskills (“Borscht Belt”) around where we lived was really popular in the 60’s and 70’s. They’d get all kinds of acts from Tito Puente to Sammy Davis Jr. My dad was in the house band at a place called the Granite Hotel. Those are some of my earliest memories of seeing live music. My dad would play with amazing jazz musicians. Duke Ellington’s trumpet player and many more. There was so much history and I had great exposure to it.

Dorian and his dad: 

The Catskills scene was kind of like a resort. The Granite had golf, ice skating rink, cocktail lounge and also a main theater so people staying there could go see a show if they wanted to.

Gary: You were born and raised right by the Catskills in New Paltz, NY?

Dorian: Yes.

Gary: So your dad was playing there in the 60’s and 70’s?

Dorian: I know my dad started there in the early 70’s and had a steady gig there until the early 90’s.

Gary: Your dad introduced you to Murali Coryell

Dorian: Yeah. The son of Larry Coryell, the jazz guitarist. Murali went in the blues direction. He somehow found the blues and soul feeling after playing for years in metal and rock bands. Murali helped me grow as an artist. 

Gary: You ended up getting a gig with Murali Coryell quite early on?

Dorain: Yeah. My dad was actually playing with Murali for quite some time. I’d go sit in at night playing percussion alongside my dad. So he’s like extended family.

Gary: Did you have formal lessons growing up?

Dorian with Murali Coryell:               

Dorian: My father taught me. I was able to learn all the reading skills, timing skills and rudiments. He would help me with drums throughout school. It was great to have my own personal drum teacher at home!

Gary: You also did a stint with the Orchestra in high school?

Dorian: Yes I did. New Paltz College had a program for high school students who were doing multiple music outlets in school to try out for the youth symphony. Me and two other drummer friends were accepted in and spent about 3 years playing with the symphony. I had the chance to play the 2nd timpani part in Gustav Holst “The Planets”.

Gary: After having the experience of playing percussion with the symphony do you prefer the drum kit over percussion? Symphony music over playing jazz or R & B?

Dorian: I respect both of them very much. But orchestral music is rarely up to your interpretation. More so you read what’s on the sheet music and try to get it to sound exactly like what the composer envisioned. I like playing the trap kit in the R & B soul style because I can be more expressive. I'm able to improvise more than I would get to in a classical setting.

Gary: Yeah. I’ve heard classical players talk about how hard it was for them to improvise in a jazz setting.

Gary: Getting back to you gig with Murali Coryell when you were a teenager. How long did you play with him for?

Dorian: From about 17 to the age of 22 I would sit in with Morali doing local gigs. My dad, being a music teacher, wasn’t able to take a 2 week tour out in the midwest and down south so my dad asked me if I’d like to do it. I decided to go out for that 2 weeks when I was just about turning 23. After those 2 weeks, when we got off the road, Joe Louis Walker, who knew Murali, was looking for a band and he asked us to come to rehearsal. After rehearsal he asked me and Murali to go on the road with him to Europe. I was completely gassed.

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