Romel Veal, Jr. | Ella Fitzgerald Memorial Summer Jazz Scholar

Meet Romel Veal, Jr., PCM’s first Ella Fitzgerald Memorial Summer Jazz Scholar.

You can see Romel, and all of the talented students from PCM’s Summer Jazz Workshop, perform this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion.

PCM: When did you start playing drums?

RV: I pretty much started when I was an infant and able to hold drumsticks in my hands. I would bang on things all day long. I got my first toy drum set for my first birthday, but broke it from drumming all day. Then I got a real drum set at two years old and here I am today.

PCM: Do you play any other instruments?

RV: I also play cello and violin.

PCM: How did your interest in jazz develop?

RV: It developed when I was in pre-kindergarten. I played drums for the jazz band. When I performed for the school my class would be excited when I would play.

PCM: What music, outside of jazz, are you interested in?

RV: My interests in music other than jazz, include funk to R&B to gospel and a little bit of pop music. Of course I love to play drums to all of those genres, including Jazz.

PCM: Who are your favorite jazz musicians/biggest influences?

RV: As far as drummers my favorite influences are Steve Gadd, Buddy Rich, Billy Cobham, and the legendary Dennis Chambers. But as far as artists, it includes Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and of course Herbie Hancock.

PCM: What do you hope to get out of the Jazz Summer Workshop?

RV: I hope to become a better, well rounded drummer, especially with all of the music genres I love to listen to.

PCM: What are your interests outside of music?

RV: I like to play basketball and football with my friends, and especially my family. I also enjoy swimming.

PCM: How do you fit practice into your daily schedule?

RV: Every day I have a pair of sticks in my hand. If I don’t have any in my hand then something is wrong. I’m usually practicing my rudiments and/or my timing because timing is everything if you want to be a drummer. Or I’m just simply playing my drum set at home.

PCM: What do your neighbors think of your drumming?

RV: I think my neighbors like my playing because they give me compliments and very few complaints.