I was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1946. I started playing on pots and pans in the kitchen pantry. This was a great place to begin, among all the wonderful smells of my mothers Italian cooking. My parents, Edwin Kaufman and Elizabeth Daniello Kaufman, saved the cookingware and bought me a practice pad. They also got me my first drum teacher, Jimmy Stavris. Jimmy used to come to our house once a week and give me my lesson. After the lesson my mother would give Jimmy a cup of coffee, some chocolate chip cookies, and ask how the lesson went. This went on for many years until I finished school. I continued to play drums through school, always coming home to practice and play along with records. I loved to play along with Monk records—the melodies made so much sense to me.
I was in the army band for a while where I met some great musicians. I went to Berklee, where I studied with Fred Buda and Alan Dawson. In or around 1969 I met Jerry Bergonzi and we started playing together, many hours of duo playing which we still do today. I started teaching for Arthur Press of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a studio house. Some of the other teachers who taught there included John Scofield, Gene Roma, and Dean Anderson, who later went on to become Chairman of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music.
Dean asked me to come and teach at Berklee in 1977, where I designed and developed curriculum as well as teaching. Courses included Survey of Drum Styles (History of Jazz Drumming); Ear Training for Percussion; Drum Set in the Rhythm Section; Solo Transcription; Solo Construction; and Chart Reading. In 1985 I left for the West Coast, where I pursued my playing career, performing and recording in various settings with many great players. I am featured on the CD "Threedom," along with Dave Tidball on saxophone and Bill Douglass on bass. I am also featured on Paula West's CD, "Temptation," for which I performed and provided arrangements, and I have recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA, for television and radio play.
Eventually my wife and I missed New England and decided to buy a home in Massachusetts. So in 1998 I returned to teaching at Berklee, where I am currently a professor in the percussion department.
Overall I have more than thirty years experience teaching and performing. I have toured in Korea and Japan, performing and doing clinics. My performance background includes recording sessions, accompaniment for singers and soloists, and television and radio performances (including television commercials) throughout New England, New York, and California. I have performed with the groups Kaufman Gertz Bergonzi, Dino Govoni, and Gargonz. Gargonz featured a double trio including myself and Bob Goulatti on drums, John Lockwood and Bruce Gertz on basses, and George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi on saxophones. I am featured on many CDs, including, Kaufman Gertz Bergonzi "The Line Between," Dino Govoni "In The Library," and Kaufman Gertz Bergonzi "Dreaming Out Loud."
In addition to teaching at Berklee I also teach privately, either over Skype or at my studio, where I spend a lot of time practicing piano and drums, and playing sessions. If you are interested in taking a lesson, booking a gig, or just sharing your thoughts, contact me here.