"Drumming is a sonic and kinesic form of communication like all musical performance, but has a uniquely embodied quality because of the gross physical movements and astonishing technical proficiency it requires."

Brian Hogan, Ph.D.
UCLA Ethnomusicology Alumnus
Specializations in African Music, African American Music, Jazz, New Media, Percussion, and Disability Studies

Brian Hogan, Ph.D.

UCLA Ethnomusicology Alumnus

Brian Hogan is a drummer and percussionist known for his light but cutting feel, backed by a broad knowledge of percussive practice. A student of drumming greats such as George Marsh (David Grisman, UCSC), Clayton Cameron (Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, UCLA), Greg Bandy (Pharaoh Sanders, Oberlin Conservatory), Gary Fieldman (Bill Frisell, Bob Moses, New England Conservatory), Nate Morton (Vanessa Carlton, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan) and others, Brian has also studied under jazz masters including Kenny Burrell, Gerald Wilson, Wendell Logan, Ray Brown, and Smith Dobson.

As a percussionist, Brian has studied Tabla with Abhiman Kausal (Ravi Shankar, Aerosmith, UCLA), Javanese Gamelan with Roderick Knight (Oberlin Conservatory), Brazilian percussion with Beto Gonzalez (UCLA), Balkan percussion with Ivan Varimezov (UCLA), and West African percussion with numerous master musicians in Ghana, West Africa.

Towards A Unified Study of Percussion

Drumset performance is a dynamic and complex musical expression that communicatively exploits interwoven modalities of performance. Whether it is the octopus-like movements of drum set virtuoso Horacio Hernandez, the hunching and grimacing intensity of jazz drummer Art Blakey, or the sheer energy of rock drummer John Bonham, drum set performance from its seeds in New Orleans has been an extremely visual and embodied art form.

Drumming is a sonic and kinetic form of communication like all musical performance, but has a uniquely embodied quality because of the gross physical movements and astonishing technical proficiency it requires. Meditating on what exactly it is that makes drumming so exciting, so conducive to movement, and so engaging to watch, I realized that drummers actively communicate through several modalities of expression in the context of performance.

What they create is “humanly organized sound” and it is also bodily organized sound, embodied expression that utilizes a wide range of the communicative potentials of performance (Blacking 1973). Thus when we study drum set performance we are compelled to account for these embodied, intoned, gestured, and improvised modes of expression, and the meta-level communications that they create through their intertextual interactions.

Theoretical approaches to musical performance that separate music from dance, spoken from sung text, or divide the arts according to alternative analytical categories are ill equipped to account for the way modalities of communication interact in performance. These forms of expression enacted through the body, and in relation to other bodies, give musical sound meaning, and inspire musical experiences that are more than the sum of their parts.

I have proposed and enact a theoretical approach to the study and transmission of performance practice that critically revalues and reassembles an extended set of communicative modalities. Drawing inspiration from theorists like David Borgo, Richard Bauman, and Dwight Conquergood, I have suggested that that viewing musical experience as an emergent property of the self in musical context provides a research paradigm that addresses performance on its own terms.

Drumset and Percussion Performances

Kakraba & Hogan

Percussion duo with S.K. Kakraba Lobi


Jazz trio performances with bassist Zack Stein and and keyboardist Sam Rosen

Orkestar Balkan

7-piece Bulgarian Jazz Band led by giada virtuoso Ivan Varimezov

Furniture Music

Erik Satie’s Furniture Music, Performed at Cafe Fais Do Do, Los Angeles, 2008.

Intricate Machines

Los Angeles based electro-rock band

Beneficent Noise

East Los Angeles Avante-Garde Orchestra