I started playing the drums in 1980 at the age of 10. I started teaching drum lessons in 1991. Like many people, I started playing the drums in my school band and continued on through high school. Around the age of fifteen, I was fortunate enough to hear the legendary jazz drummer Max Roach play with his band at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. This was one of many key experiences that lead to my decision to pursue a career in music.
In 1987 I left Chicago to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While in Boston I had the fortune to study with two Boston drum legends that left a lasting impression on me - Alan Dawson and Joe Hunt. While at Berklee I jammed regularly with many of today's young jazz greats - Roy Hargrove, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Lalah Hathaway, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake and Antonio Hart to name a few. I graduated Magna Cum Laude (much to my parents satisfaction) from Berklee in 1991. I stayed in Boston for another year and racked up some experience playing in the local Reggae, Jazz and Blues scenes.
In 1992 I moved to Chicago with my fellow band mates from the Last Kwartet (Jeff Parker, Sara P. Smith and Chris Lopes). In Chicago I have made many lasting musical and personal relationships over the years. Although the Last Kwartet disbanded in 1994, I formed my own band, which included Jeff Parker on guitar, shortly thereafter. Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls have since recorded five critically acclaimed CD's for the Naim and Delmark record labels. The latest, "Seize the Time", was released by Naim in 2008.
Many people know me from my steady gig with Sabertooth at Chicago's world famous jazz club the Green Mill. I've been playing drums with Sabertooth every Saturday night from Midnight - 5:00am since the winter of 1994! I've also worked frequently with many of the finest musicians in Chicago (some no longer with us), including Rob Mazurek, Von Freeman, Jodie Christian, Bobby Broom, Lin Halliday, Ron Perillo, Fred Hopkins and hundreds more. I've also worked with many artists based outside of Chicago like Greg Osby, Phil Upchurch, Christopher Hollyday, Eddie Kirkland, Johnny Adams, Ted Nash and many others.
I have played in just about every kind of venue one could possibly imagine - from the most exclusive private clubs to minimum security prisons, giant outdoor festivals to pre-school classes and everywhere in between. I've toured extensively in the U.S. and also have played in Europe and Singapore for extended periods.
I've lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago since 1995, where I've raised my two beautiful, brilliant, kind, and talented daughters ages 17 & 13.