Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Pleasant, David (Daniel)
Pleasant, David (Daniel), percussion, rhythm effects vocalist, inventor; b. Savannah, GA, 1 January 1961. His parents are Sadie B. Pleasant (b. 1/04/33), a drummer and William M. Pleasant (6/26/28-04/28/97), a singer/painter. His siblings are William Pleasant, Tahirih A. Pleasant, and Jalal Pleasant.
He attended Oberlin College, where he studied with Wendell Logan, and Jamaica National School of Music, where he studied with Cedric Brooks and Majorie Wyley. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin with a concentration in African American Music (1983). At Jamaica National School of Music, he studied folk music and at Columbia University, he studied educational psychology. Raised in McIntosh County, David Pleasant considers himself fortunate to have grown up with strong first-hand knowledge of the rich Gullah /Geechee culture, which thrives in that area. This culture continues to inform Pleasant's fundamental artistic perspective.
Pleasant is a multifaceted percussion virtuoso, rhythm effects vocalist, avant guarde performance artist, and lecturer. He created RiddimAthon!® a performance and teaching method developed from a synthesis of African, Caribbean, and African American musical traditions. Rhythms of the Gullah (Georgia and South Carolina Sea Island) culture, which includes body percussion and shout, play a central role in the development of David Pleasant's RiddimAthon! Inc., Pleasant's performance company. Whether sideman or solo artist, Pleasant presents a dynamic interactive journey in music, using a bewildering range of percussion instruments in unique arrangements of original and classic compositions.
Pleasant has worked with a number of spoken word artists including: Sekou Sundiata, Hattie Gossett, Carl Hancock-Rux, Calvin Herndon, Jane Cortez, Speech. As accompanist, collaborated with a wide range of major artists, including Charles Gayle, Wynton Marsalis, Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, Bernadette Speach & Jeff Schanzer, Clark Terry, Jimmy Owens, Akua Dickson, Ken McIntyre, Charli Persip, Reggie Workman, Cedric Brooks, Bob Cunningham, Mike Manieri, Peter Erskine, Mark Johnson, Christian McBride, James McBride, Miles Griffith, Wendell Logan, Leon Dorsey, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Nona Hendrix, The Muppets, Arrested Development, Benny Powell, Ernie Krivda, James Williams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Craig Harris, Vattel Cherry, William Parker, Fred Ho, The Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Essential Music Ensemble, and Paul Simon.
Pleasant has composed/performed/collaborated with noted dancer-choreographers: Andrea Woods, Pat Hall-Smith, Jawole Zollar, Hank Smith, Graciela Daniele, Marlise Yearby, Martha Bowers, Tina Pratt, Marion Coles, Sham Mosher, Nia Love, Jane Comfort, Batoto Yetu, Urban Bush Women. Pleasant has also worked with celebrated composer arrangers Jonathan Tunick and Micheal John La Chiusa in developing/performing dance and music for the Broadway play Marie Christine. Pleasant has been active as a writer, creator, composer for the award winning performance work Shadows Tearing and a number of plays and choreo-plays including Ballad Of The Black Cowboy, Islands, Asphalt, Crowns, and Love Letters. He was lead percussionist and soloist for the Broadway Encores' revival of Golden Boy which featured Pleasant's unique tambourine stylings.
His child is Powers Pleasant, a drummer, body percussionist, tap dancer, born 01/28/94.
Recordings as sideperson (partial):
Charles Gayle trio: Homeless, Spirits Before, Almost Born; Ken Simon trio: Twilight of time; Miles Griffith: Spiritual Freedom; Vered Dekel/Miles Griffith: Expanded Interpretations;
Ondine Darcyl: Happy Birthday; Jason Linder: Premonition; Michael La Chiusa: Marie Christine
Pleasant's compositions and performances have been featured in a number of network television programs that showcase his unique fusion of Gullah, jazz, and free music including Nightline, MTV Unplugged, World News Tonight, Town Meeting, Brave New World, Today Show, and Essence Awards