Tom proudly endorses Canopus Drums

Drummer Tom Cohen has been a staple on the Philadelphia music scene for over 40 years having carved out a niche in a city known for its wealth of prodigious musicians. Though primarily a jazz musician, Tom's versatility has been his hallmark, leading him to contribute his talents in a myriad of musical genres.

Born in Newark, NJ  Tom began playing drums at the age of seven and studied rudimentary basics and reading with Gene Thaler. Growing up in the NYC area eventually afforded the opportunity, when Tom was in his teens, to make sojourns to jazz clubs to hear the greats of those times and their  influential sidemen. One of those times was hearing Stan Getz and his band and it presented the chance for Tom to introduce himself to Tony Williams, which soon thereafter led Tom to be accepted as a student..albeit after a short audition!

A short stint of college in Washington D.C. presented the opportunity to be mentored by jazz drummer Bernard "be-bop" Sweetney  (Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, Andrew White). At this time Tom also played in the Howard University Big Band under the direction of Donald Byrd.

Upon moving to Philadelphia in the mid 1970's,  Tom was invited into the established fusion group Catalyst, led by saxophonist Odean Pope. Described by drumming great Mickey Roker as "hard swinging",  Tom also began working with and being "educated" by veteran Philadelphia legends such as Shirley Scott, Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Charles Fambrough, and  Sid Simmons to name a few.

Described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a "drummer of creative agitation" Tom has performed with a host of modern jazz luminaries such as Uri Caine, Orrin Evans, Chris Potter, Donny McCaslin, Ralph Bowen, Ernie Watts, Joe Ford, John Swana , Ben Monder,  Pete McCann and Giacomo Gates. In addition, he has performed with cutting edge electric virtuoses Gerald Veasley, Victor Bailey, Jef Lee Johnson, Glenn Alexander , Dave LaRue, and Tim Motzer.

Tom's love of all music styles has led to him being an integral member of various groups such as the multifarious Brazilian band Minas, and the pioneering Klezmer band Klingon Klezmer  

As an educator Tom was an adjunct faculty member of Temple University's Esther Boyer School of music under the direction of Chuck Isreals and was also selected by the Philly Pops under the direction of Peter Nero to lead concerts and workshops in the Latin domain with master percussionists Pablo Baptista and Doc Gibbs. To hone his knowledge Tom has studied privately with Edson Machado, Portinho, and Francious Zayas.

Tom’s debut CD on Cadence jazz Records The Tom Cohen Trio was released in 1997, and achieved international acclaim and reviews. Sales were particularly brisk in Japan. It is now in its third printing. His second record Diggin’ In - Digging Out on Double Time Records, features the burgeoning talents of sax great Chris Potter.  The music traverses a variety of hard driving grooves cross-laminated with sensitive interplay all of which explore forays into the unknown. 2006 saw the release of  The Guitar Trio Project on Dream Box Media, featuring six stellar trios featuring  adventurous jazz greats Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkle, and Rerz Abassi, among others.


Tom's current release is Joyride featuring Benito Gonzalez, Tim Ries, Mike Boone, and Chris Funn and is enjoying airplay throughout the US and internationally as well.

For 14 years Tom has been leading his Brazilian Trio featuring Cidinho Texiera and Itaigura Brandao as well as various trios and quartets.

© 2016 by Tom Cohen Drummer

Photography by: Rachel Bliss

Website by: Classy Websites NJ/NYC

Philadelphia  Headquarters | Performing Internationally

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