My father needed a quiet space to concentrate on his work. He was a commercial illustrator and was under pressure to meet deadlines. This need for silence was in conflict with his son who really liked making noise, My heroes were big band drummers, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.
In an act of kindness I was given a pair of sticks and a rubber covered drum pad. It made as much noise as hitting cars tires. The sticks didn’t bounce like they do when you pound on a drum head. The sticks made a lot more noise when I used the furniture as a drum surface. That was the end of my career as a drummer.
When I had a basement of my own I bought a used drum set. I played the drums but never learned how. My left hand never knew what my right hand was thinking. My son Bill did, and he continues to get better and better. I still retreat to the basement from time to time for some drum therapy and whenever I can, I try to catch my son’s gigs.
HUSBAND/ FATHER, TEACHER, BANDLEADER AND DRUMMER
Sean Dobbin’s public face is behind his drum kit. Sean is unquestionably a first call drummer when he isn’t leading his own band. He is definitely a powerful figure who visually seems always to just barely restrain himself from beating his drum set into submission. That is not who it turns out he is. Sean exemplifies what a jazz player and a great drummer should be. Jazz artists like Sean in the past were portrayed as talented souls hanging out in smoky jazz joints until the sun comes up. Well, times have changed.
When the sun comes up for Sean you will often find him involved with getting his three kids organized for school. He and his wife share the responsibility of bringing up three bright kids. His oldest daughter is in Sean’s words, “a brainiac”. Although still in high school she is taking courses at Eastern Michigan University. She needs rides, as does his youngest daughter who has soccer and piano lessons. His son begins the day with a lesson from his dad on his drum set. Remember his son’s name, Matthew Dobbins. He is already a great drummer and is a good basketball player.
I have watched Sean Dobbins teach a class. He knows how to keep young minds focused and his lessons interesting. He spreads a passion for jazz throughout the community .
He is currently a jazz percussion instructor in the U of Michigan music program, in Oakland University’s program and also in Wayne State’s great program.
Sean Dobbins is working with young students in two youth programs. He is Executive Director of the South East Music Academy and Director of Michigan State’s youth jazz program in Detroit.
Sean sees need and responds. This is Detroit, and this is what many musicians do.
Sean’s concern about the musicians coming out of our schools has led him to initiate a series of events that he calls THE RISING STARS SERIES. This program will allow the young talent that is coming out of Detroit to be able to perform at multiple venues around the city.
Sean has for some time led two of Detroit’s most authentic jazz groups. Both bands have been formed out his deep regard for jazz’s history. Sean seems to follow his calling to keep jazz alive by honoring Detroit’s rich heritage.
The Sean Dobbins Organ Quartet is an homage to an instrument that came out of the churches when the Hammond Corp. made organs portable. It became jazz’s most used keyboard instrument after the piano.
This week he will lead the Modern Jazz Messengers into a four day stay at the Dirty Dog. Jazz doesn’t stand still, and Art Blakey who led the original Messengers would be proud to see where Sean has taken the music.