“Alexander’s take on drums is so unusual as to question lineage. Unlike the vast majority of jazz drummers who depend upon one or two ride cymbals to maintain drive, direction and groove, Alexander utilizes his battery of drums instead.”
Taru Alexander is an award-winning American jazz drummer, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of jazz legend Roland Alexander, an American post-bop jazz tenor saxophone player from Boston, Massachusetts. During his three decades of professionally successful career, Taru appeared as a sideman on more than a hundred albums. Just to name a few he accompanied Salim Washington, Michael Marcus, Carlos Garnett, Rodney Kendrick, Roy Hargrove & Kenny Garrett, and many more…
Taru started to play drums at the early age of seven years old surrounded by the greatest jazz musicians like Freddie Hubbard, Reggie Workman, Gary Bartz, and Kiani Zawadi. At the age of nine, he was studying drums under the leadership of master drummers Rudy Collins, Andre Strobert, and Walter Perkins at the New Muse music school in Brooklyn, New York. By the age of thirteen, Taru started to perform professionally with his father Roland Alexander’s quintet (Roland Alexander - tenor saxophone, Kiani Zawadi - trombone, Hilton Ruiz - piano, Paul Brown - bass). At the same time, he started to study drums with Justin DiCioccio at the La Guardia Music & Art High School in New York.
While still studying at the age of sixteen, Taru recorded his first album as a sideman accompanying Fred Ho Afro-Asian Ensemble on the Black Saint record label. Soon after, he established himself on the New York jazz scene and became one of the sought-after drummers. He also toured the US with the Moe Better Blues Band & The Drums of Fire bands.
As a leader, Taru recorded in 2014 an album titled KoJo Time released under the Jazz Leadsheet label paying tribute to his father, legendary tenor saxophone player Roland Alexander by playing his original compositions.
In 2022, Taru released his second solo album “Echoes of the Masters” on Sunnyside Records. The album features great jazz musicians such as James Hurt on piano, Rashaan Carter on bass, Antoine Rooney on saxophone, and HANKA G as a guest vocalist. The album has received excellent reviews and 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine in a review written by Howard Mandel, President of the Jazz Journalist Association who said “Alexander’s patterns across his kit exhibit creative variety, as well as fast hands and feet. His splendid quartet makes the late 60s post-bob sound fresh and true. This album is fun listening, the ensemble united in its embrace and celebration of jazz that is timeless – capable of generating new ideas and exciting performances, regardless of being nearly 60 years of jazz.”
Taru performed domestically and internationally with Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Roland Alexander, Roy Hargrove, Roy Hargrove Alumni Big band, Carlos Garnett, Rodney Kendrick, Branford Marsalis, Danny Mixon, Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, Reggie Workman, Bill Saxton, Kirk Lightsey, Mark Whitfield, Benito Gonzales, Santi Debriano, Christian McBride, Stephen Scott, Kenny Davis, Mulgrew Miller, Lonnie Plaxico, Bill Lee, Michael Fleming, Benny Green, David Kikoski, Marcus Strickland, Hank Jones, Dwayne Burno, Philip Harper, Michael Bowie, Duane Eubanks, Sharp Radway, Jimmy Owens, Ronnie Mathews, Justin Robinson, Gerald Clayton, Gerald Cannon, Peter Bernstein, Bill Ware, Joseph Lepore, Bob Cunningham, Jason Marshall and many more…
In 1996 Taru was honored with a proclamation honoring his musical achievements by Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz along with legendary jazz drummer Max Roach.