Ayinde Webb Is 16th Jimmy Lyons Scholar

By
Rob Hayes
September 18, 2012
Ayinde Webb, 2012 Jimmy Lyons Scholar

Berklee College of Music and the Monterey Jazz Festival announced that drummer Ayinde Webb, of Oakland, California, is the 16th recipient of the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship at Berklee, a major music education prize. The full-tuition scholarship is named in honor of the festival’s late founder, James L. (Jimmy) Lyons, who began the festival 55 years ago with jazz education at its core.

The Lyons Scholarship is awarded each year to one music student from the western United States, in recognition of their outstanding talent. Because it is a full-tuition, renewable award, satisfactory academic and musical progress in each successive year will allow each Lyons Scholar to attend Berklee through graduation, entirely tuition-free.

Webb is the fifth drummer to receive the Lyons Scholarship, joining Thomas Pridgen (the Mars Volta), James Williams (Gary Burton), Carlin Muccular (Kiki Sheard), and Jonathan Pinson (Thelonious Monk Institute). Other previous Lyons Scholars include trumpeter Erik Telford, saxophonist Dayna Stephens (Kenny Barron), cellist Rushad Eggleston (Tornado Rider, Crooked Still), and violinist Alex Hargreaves (Mike Marshall, Sarah Jarosz), among others.

In pursuit of his passion for jazz and improvisational-based music, Webb began his studies at Berklee in Boston earlier this month. He sat in with his new classmates in the Berklee Monterey Sextet on September 21 and 22.

Monterey Jazz Festival trustee Carsbia Anderson, chair of the festival’s education committee, and a special guest made the Lyons presentation to Ayinde Webb at the festival on September 23 on the Jimmy Lyons Stage.

Webb, 18, is a graduate of Oakland School for the Arts, with an emphasis in instrumental music. He became interested in drumming at a young age. Between the ages of 2 and 5, he practiced drumming on anything that would produce the sounds he wished to hear.

When his father fell ill, Webb stopped playing. But after his death in 2006, something called Webb back to the drum set, and, on his own, he began to voraciously study the masters. He then began six years of instruction with master drummers E.W. Wainwright, student of Elvin Jones, and Jaz Sawyer, Abbey Lincoln’s drummer for the final 10 years of her career

Since 2008, Webb has served as senior drummer for the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music’s Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble, and house drummer for Branice McKenzie’s “Not Just for Singers Only” music salon. He became a mentee of Angela Wellman, founder of the conservatory. He has served as drummer for Heart and Soul Center of Light Church of Religious Science since 2010.

Webb auditioned and was selected for the Young Musicians Program at the University of California, Berkeley in 2010, where he studied with percussionist/composer Ndugu Chancler and multi-Grammy nominee Patrice Rushen, Geechie Taylor, director of the YMP Big Band, and “Jade,” a jazz ensemble. 

In 2010, he also auditioned and was chosen for the SFJAZZ High School Youth All Stars, under the direction of Paul Contos, which won second place at the 2012 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival.

Webb has studied with acclaimed drummers, Donald “Duck” Bailey, Sylvester (Sly) Randolph, Juan Medrano “Cotito,” and Airto Moreira. He has also been fortunate to have been mentored by musicians such as: Mack Rucks, Leon Williams, Khalil Shaheed, founder of the Bay Area Youth All Stars, and Steven Turner, Marcus Shelby, and Dan Faiver of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music (OPC).

He has performed at Oakland and San Francisco’s Yoshi’s, the Great American Music Hall, Oakland’s Art and Soul Festival, the 57th Street Gallery, and the John Coltrane Church in San Francisco. In 2011, Webb composed the music and served as music director for Georgia Webb’s musical, A Little Piece of God, featuring the renowned gospel singer, Daryl Coley.