Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Jain, Sunny

Jain, Sunny, drummer; b. Rochester, NY, 22 April 1975. His father is Dr. Shri C. Jain (b. 8/7/40) and his mother is Asha Jain (b. 10/25/44). His sister is Dr. Neelu Jain-Lakani (b. 4/15/66) and his brother is Dr. Rajesh Jain (b. 3/10/72).

Growing up listening to Bhajans (Indian religious songs) and Hindustani music (North Indian Classical), Jain was captivated by the drive and groove of the tablas (Indian drums). At the age of 10, Jain began playing percussion under the tutelage of Rich Thompson He soon found himslef interested in jazz drumming. While growing up in Rochester, Jain had stints with the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, various All-County Orchestras, Concert Bands and Jazz Ensembles in the Rochester area, and a tenure with the 1992-93 New York All-State Jazz Ensemble. Before graduating high school, Jain had accumulated many honors and awards from the Eastman School of Music during high school competitions and was presented with the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for high musical achievement. Jain studied jazz performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University in New Jersey. There, he was under the guidance of Kenny Barron, Ralph Bowen, Ted Dunbar, Larry Ridley, and Bobby Thomas. In 1994, Jain co-founded the jazz group Positive Rhythmic Force. PRF released two CD's, appeared on BET on Jazz Showcase, toured the Northeast United States, and were recipients of the Makin' Waves Awards in New Jersey as Best Jazz Artist of 1997. Phil Schaap wrote the liner notes for their last CD.

In 1998, Jain obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance and then went to graduate school at New York University to study music business During his studies at NYU, Jain was selected both in 1998 and 1999 as a semi-finalist in the Fish-Middleton Jazz Competition at the East Coast Jazz Festival. In 2000, Jain graduated top of his class and was selected as a recipient of the Samuel Eshborn Service Award out of 4,500 students. 2000 also saw Jain anchoring down the drum chair in bassist Kyle Eastwood's Quartet. In support of Eastwood's 1998 Columbia Records release From There to Here, the quartet toured Europe and shared the stage with Wayne Shorter, Freddy Cole, Paco de Lucia, and Joshua Redman. Jain also was selected to the 2001 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. This two-week residency program, led by Dr. Nathan Davis, George Cables, Winard Harper, Carmen Lundy, and Jimmy Owens, culminated in a sold-out performance at the Millennium Stage, as well as raving reviews in the Washington Post. Dr. Davis invited Jain to participate in the 2001 Steans Institute For Young Artists in Chicago. Working closely alongside David Baker, Dr. Nathan Davis, James Moody, Danilo Perez, and Rufus Reid, Jain and other handpicked residency participants rehearsed and performed for twelve days at the Ravinia Jazz Festival. In 2002, Jain was designated a Jazz Ambassador of the United States of America by the Department of State and The Kennedy Center. As a Jazz Ambassador, Jain, along with guitarist Chris Bergson and organist Kyle Koehler, traveled to Africa in Fall 2002 to present concerts and workshops for dignitaries and community members on the blues.

Sunny Jain has toured the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, Africa extensively.  He has performed with Rez Abbasi, Eric Alexander, Noah Baerman, Sheryl Bailey, Kenny Barron, Chris Bergson, Seamus Blake, Jay Collins, Kermit Driscoll, Ray Drummond, Ted Dunbar, Kyle Eastwood, Wayne Escoffery, Joel Frahm, Aaron Goldberg, Jimmy Greene, Patience Higgins, Kyle Koehler, Jason Lindner, Earl May, Donny McCaslin, Norah Jones, Lonnie Plaxico, Jon Regen, Gary Wang, Steve Welsh, Buster Williams, Sam Yahel, James Zollar, and many others.

As an educator, Sunny Jain is on faculty at the National Guitar Workshop (CT), is a member of Hayes Greenfield's Jazz-A-Ma-Tazz (Jazz education workshops), and freelances as a clinician covering topics such as music business, rhythm, Jazz history and performance, and improvisation. Jain also works in the Education Department at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Positive Rhythmic Force: Positive Rhythmic Force (1996), The Question Is (1998); Sunny Jain Collective: As Is (2002)
As sideperson:
The Jon Regen Trio: From Left to Right (1996); Propulsive: Massive Grooves (2000); Chris Bergson: Wait For Spring (2000); Reunion of Souls (2001); Dave Cook: Green (2002)

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