Just Us Percussion exists for two reasons: to compose original
melodic/percussion material and to educate future generations of percussion
players. Our compositional philosophy is characterized by the phenomenon of
"rhythmic emergence." In brief rhythmic emergence is an
application of Stephen Johnson's emergence theory which claims that wonderfully
complex organizational structures arise from the activities of independent
agents using a limited set of operational rules. Translated into the realm of
percussion, our application involves taking two to four basic rhythmic patterns
for each composition and weaving changes between them using meter and harmonic
voice modulations. We call this practice "coming from the nothing" to
create a rhythmic composition that can take a variety of forms and shapes.
Stylistically we combine African, Brazilian, Cuban, Fusion and Latin rhythms to
produce a uniquely American ethno-percussion sound. Our instruments include
acoustic and MIDI controlled devices. Occasionally we use our own original
melodic sequences as background arrangements because we are in the process of
creating material for a brass-fusion ensemble.
Just Us Percussion is also committed to the "each one, teach one" motto taken from the jazz tradition. As such we are concerned about preserving the rudimental heritage of the Pittsburgh drum and bugle corps community, especially the level of competitive playing that once characterized our region as a drumming powerhouse. With fewer programs supporting the arts, we believe it is imperative for members of the community who possess artistic and musical talent to share those skills with future generations. We are available to conduct small session rhythmic clinics (50 participants or less) designed to allow audience members to bring drums and interact with ensemble members. The focus of these clinics is to demonstrate basic rhythmic patterns that can be combined to compose evolving rhythmic compositions. We believe that shared musical experiences have a healing, restorative effect and these small group sessions are just the place to experience improvisation in a positive environment. Just Us is also available for festival and ensemble performance settings. In these venues our performances consist of original compositions that explore the styles detailed above. Visit our tunes page for a sample of original compositions.