Tom Teasley | Eastern Journey

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Eastern Journey

by Tom Teasley

Instrumental percussion, flute,keyboards and more combine to form a hybrid east/west fusion for the soundtrack of Mary Zimmerman's "Journey to the West" produced by Constellation Theatre.
Genre: World: World Fusion
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Jade Emperor
4:09 $0.99
2. Zen Fever
3:28 $0.99
3. The Heart Is a Flower
4:25 $0.99
4. Max in Beijing
3:05 $0.99
5. The Temple Garden
3:33 $0.99
6. The Gold Cicada
4:40 $0.99
7. Journey to the West
3:48 $0.99
8. Monkey Dance
3:16 $0.99
9. The Mountain
5:00 $0.99
10. When Heaven and Earth Dance
4:16 $0.99
11. The Art of Stillness
2:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Tom Teasley

Eastern Journey

2016 Drum! Magazine “World Percussionist of the Year”

Welcome to my latest sonic exploration! Much of this music is inspired by my recent tour to South Korea for the U.S. Department of State. In addition, this music will serve as the soundtrack for Constellation Theatre’s production, Journey to the West by Mary Zimmerman, based on the Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. While this is not intended to be an authentic or scholarly representation of the depth of Asian music, it is meant to be my humble adaptation through my eyes, ears and imagination influenced by extensive collaborations with musicians throughout the world. I’m performing on more than twenty different instruments. The combination of ancient instruments including djembe, bongos, cymbals, gongs and all manor of percussion with several bamboo flutes are joined with modern electronic percussion, keyboards and melodicas to form the genre bending ancient/futuristic sonic pallet. I’m also adding some traditional Buddhist gongs and Chinese cymbals obtained in my recent travels. In addition, new instruments for this recording include the bawu featured in Journey to the West. Although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed. The bawu is played in a transverse (horizontal) manner, has a pure clarinet-like timbre and its playing technique incorporates the use of much ornamentation, particularly bending tones. I’m also playing the kouxian in Zen Fever and The Mountain, which is a Chinese ancient jaw harp with pitched reeds allowing for a deep vibrato produced by flexing the cheeks. Even though I’m frequently using African and South American percussion instruments I’m playing with a variety of striking implements to take them out of their traditional environment and finding inspiration in Chinese opera percussion as well as Korean samulnori drumming.

Tapping into more of my jazz background, I’ve explored the use of drumset, jazz phrasing and concepts. Zen Fever is a humorous dialog with soft mallets on the drumset, bamboo flute, keyboards and kouxian inspired by the groove of rhythm and blues classic, Fever, made famous by Peggy Lee. Max in Beijing draws inspiration from one of my mentors, Max Roach, and is a virtual duet for drumset and temple blocks. Monkey Dance is inspired by the work of another jazz percussion legend, Jo Jones. The Gold Cicada features a 4/4 pulse with a quarter note triplet undercurrent phrased as a jazz waltz. Percussion jazz master, Elvin Jones, inspires this piece. The result is a poly-meter of 4/4 and 3/4 concurrently.

As always, my engineer, collaborator and friend Jim Robeson’s contributions are invaluable. I strongly feel that the result is as enjoyable a listen as it was to create.

I sincerely hope that this newest offering of my music can find a place in your ears, mind and heart.



Tom Teasley, described in the Washington Post as “a multi-instrumental genius,” maintains a unique career as a solo percussionist, composer and collaborator. Tom was awarded the Drum! magazing "Drummie"Award" for 2016 "World Percussionist of the Year" and first runner up for "Percussion Clinician". Tom is a 2010 and 2011 (nominations in 2012, 2014, 2015) Helen Hayes Theater Award recipient for outstanding sound design. Tom tours frequently throughout the world performing and presenting clinics for the instrument companies he endorses including Yamaha, Vic Firth, Sabian, Remo, Latin Percussion and others. He is the 2012, 2013, 2014 WAMA (Washington Area Music Award) World Music Instrumentalist of the year. A five-time recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes grant for performances in the Middle East, Tom collaborated with indigenous musicians and gave historic performances in Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Jerusalem. He has been an artist-in-residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has collaborated with the National Symphony as both a soloist and composer. As an international collaborator he has performed by invitation in Europe, South America, New Zealand and Samoa. Tom earned the Artist-of-the-year award from Young Audiences of Virginia for his creative and educational presentations. His seven CDs have been greeted with international airplay and acclaim. Tom's innovative percussion techniques are documented in the 2016 book / DVD release, An American Approach to World Percussion by Alfred Music. He has been the subject of feature articles in both “Modern Drummer” and “Drum!” magazines. Please visit for m



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