EDDIE DEJEAN - BIOGRAPHY
Eddie Dejean is a member of one of New Orleans famous musical families. The Dejean (also spelled Dejan) families have made their mark in gospel, rhythm & blues and jazz. Born into the gospel side of the family (his grandfather was a preacher), his mother is a Gospel minister and choir director, Eddie began his musical career singing Gospel music as a child. Through his spiritual upbringing he discovered his lifeís passion. He taught himself to play piano at age 13.
Educated in New Orleans Public Schools, he participated in school bands studying clarinet, trumpet, and drums in school. He performed with the family gospel groups under mother Lois Dejeanís musical direction, learning from her perfectionist approach. He learned to aspire to be the best, and to accept long hours of study and rehearsal. As a member of the Youth Inspirational Choir and the Johnson Extension he learned a variety of religious musical styles...traditional Gospel, spirituals, anthems, and contemporary Gospel. At age 16 he experienced the lure of the drums, inspired by playing with James Cleveland. Billy Cobham, the world renowned drummer, soon became his idol.
Following a stint in the U.S. Army that included a tour in Korea, Eddie returned home to New Orleans and earned an Associates Degree in Fine Arts, studying music at Delgado Community College with a major in drums, a minor in piano. He then joined the pop R&B band ELS (Elaine, Lisa and Sharon) and promptly embarked on a nine month nationwide tour. Two years later, he decided he preferred a more settled existence, obtained a teaching job and began playing with a locally acclaimed musician, James Rivers.
An accomplished musician on flute, saxophone and bagpipes, James Rivers is a mainstay on the New Orleans musical scene. Eddie was impressed with Rivers mastery of a diversity of styles and his ability to communicate with and please audiences of all types. With the James Rivers Band Eddie performs blues, country, r&b, funk, reggae, traditional and contemporary jazz. He also learned from Rivers the business of music, how to be an entertainer, an the importance of reading and responding to an audience. With James Rivers, Eddie Dejean has toured to Europe, across the United States and to South America. In addition to the live performances, Eddie has done studio recordings and recorded movie soundtracks for three Clint Eastwood movies under the musical direction of Lenny Newhouse (Tight Rope, Bird - The Life of Charlie Parker, The Bridges of Madison County).
While playing regularly with Rivers, Dejean was often invited to appear with other major local and national artists, and in 1991 began also playing regularly with jazz/funk artist Michael Ray.
Dejean was impressed by Rayís experience with jazz master Sun Ra and the hot R&B act Kool & The Gang. From Ray he expanded his capabilities reading ,writing, and composing music. He enjoys Rayís multi-disciplined approach with attention paid to the staging, the look and the movement, and the way Ray uses music as a therapy as it relates to light and sound vibrations, and the importance of getting the music over to the audience, as a musical and a spiritual gift.
Dejean continues to play R&B/Jazz with James Rivers, avant garde Jazz with Michael Ray as part of Rayís Cosmic Krewe, and Gospel with the Johnson Extension. He continues to teach children with learning disabilities, and has begun a non-profit musical program for handicapped kids in special schools under the name In-The-Pocket Productions. His most recent project is a solo gospel recording of original material.
2823 Broadway Street, New Orleans LA 70118
Tel (504) 866 8707, Fax: (504) 593 9543