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Quentin Baxter

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Professor Quentin Baxter

Touring the World to the Beat of his Own Drum
By Brittany McKeithan

Do you remember your childhood fantasy? Did your dream come true? As a child, everyone fantasizes of one day becoming a superstar, a professional athlete, astronaut, firefighter among other things. Whether or not the dream becomes reality is determined by its importance to each individual.

Music professor Quentin Baxter possesses an innate talent many only dream of. Coming from a family of drummers, Baxter has never been a stranger to percussion instruments. "I began playing around the age of five and from there I don't remember not playing some type of percussion instrument, " Baxter said.

Throughout his childhood in Charleston, Baxter, along with his family, frequently played in church. As a teen, Baxter was one of the most sought after and respected musicians in gospel. He was involved in several regional concerts, served as minister of music in his home church, drummer for Christians United for Christ Community Choir and youth musician for Gospel Music Workshop of America. Attending schools in Charleston County, Baxter participated in contests throughout middle school winning first chair, all county, all state, and all-regional competitions.

After graduating from North Charleston High School, Baxter attended the University of South Carolina to study pharmacy and later the College of Charleston, where he received a bachelor of arts in music theory and composition.

Baxter held the drum position at "Serenade," a "state-of-the-art" production/musical review in Charleston, and for three years he toured Europe, Japan, Korea, Guam, St. Croix, Hawaii and Jamaica. Now, he is considered as one of the most sought after musicians in the southeastern United States.

Baxter is an internationally renowned drummer. He has performed with many great artists including James Spaulding, Bobby Watson, Ira Sullivan, Billy Childs, Eddie Henderson, Donald Byrd, Charlie Byrd, Delbert Felix, Gregory Hines, Sonny Fortune, Doug Carn, Wycliff Gordon, Marcus Printup, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Frank Gordon, Malachi Thompson, Obie Jessie, Ronald Westray, and Marcus Roberts.

As an extremely versatile drummer with the ability to play numerous styles of music, Baxter has had the opportunity to record with many amazing artists. Baxter can be heard on Rene Marie's "Serene Renegade" released in 2004 as well Monty Alexander's "Rock Steady" released in 2005. "It was a fun project filled with old Jamaican grooves that I'm sure most of you will recognize and enjoy," Baxter states in reference to being apart of "Rock Steady." He has also recorded with Teddy Adams, Robert Lewis and Frank Duvall, Savannah Jazz Orchestra, and many others.

Baxter is currently touring with Rene Marie and he is extremely happy to be performing with her. However, when Baxter is not on the road you can catch him live throughout the Lowcountry. He performs with the Charleston Jazz Alliance, Gradual Lean, Quentin Baxter Jazz Ensemble, and with his own group "Emanon" on Tuesday nights at Fig and Thursday nights at Coast.

Baxter loves the music of Max Roach and is greatly inspired by his work. He also finds inspiration from many other musicians and is also influenced, he says, by art, sculptures, foods and wines. Some of his most memorable and inspirational musical experiences have been in the coastal areas of Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah. "I love the drive from Charleston to Savannah --especially the part without cell phone reception," Baxter says.

As an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Percussion, Baxter brings his expertise to the classroom and creates an atmosphere full of energy and excitement. "He interacts with everyone without putting excessive pressure on you while playing and helps each student individually," says one Baxter student.

With numerous accomplishments, rare opportunities, and a steadily growing reputation Baxter states his biggest accomplishment as, "I have managed to tour the world extensively as a musician and make a living solely as a musician and still I am able to come back to Charleston, enjoy my community and take my daughter to school in the mornings."

For more information on Baxter you can view his website at www.quentinbaxter.com. His website features performances, reviews, a picture gallery, biography and also plays three pieces of his music.