Sameer Gupta is known as one of the few percussionists simultaneously representing the traditions of American jazz on drumset, and Indian classical music on tabla. His own interests and love of tabla brought him to the great tabla maestro Pt Anindo Chatterjee, of whom he is now a dedicated disciple, though his first few years were spent under the guidance of Ustad Zakir Hussain. Sameer is also a co-founder and an Artistic Director of the non-profit collective Brooklyn Raga Massive.
After graduating with a music performance BA, Gupta worked and taught in the Bay Area for 10 years as a jazz drummer, and later also as a classical Indian tabla player. Today he lives in Brooklyn, NYC and is actively involved in performing and teaching through various institutions including Brooklyn Raga Massive, Carnegie Hall’s Global Encounters and Ragas Live Festival. Gupta has held workshops on Indian music and cross over drumming styles, at The Jazzschool in Berkeley, California and Berklee College of Music in Boston. His influences range from Elvin Jones and Tony Williams to Ustad Allah Rakha and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. He has had the pleasure to play with many great musicians including Falu Shah, Rez Abbasi, Marc Cary, Wallace Roney, Karsh Kale, Pandit Krishna Bhatt Ravi Chandra Kulur, Mysore Manjunath, Prasant Radhakrishnan, Pandit Chitresh Das, Jason Samuels Smith, Pandit Ramesh Mishra, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and numerous other luminaries.
Gupta continues to build his career by combining traditional and modern improvisational styles drawing from his dual Indian and American heritage, and has already established himself as an original musical voice in jazz, world, and fusion music. From his early percussion studies in Tokyo, Japan in the mid 80s, he has consistently placed himself in many challenging musical environments. From bebop to avant-garde jazz, and European classical percussion to North Indian classical tabla, Gupta continues to compose and perform music from a true multi-cultural perspective that now bridges several continents.
“Sameer Gupta played through his arrangements of…songs with sitar, cello and viola appended to a jazz trio. The crowd roared its applause.”
– Ben Ratliff (New York Times 1/10/2011)
“Not since Trilok Gurtu’s stint in Oregon has a percussionist sounded as commanding in both Indian classical tabla styles and straight-ahead swing drumming as Sameer Gupta”
– Timeout New York (MARCH 15 2012)
“Percussionist Sameer Gupta is cut from a global cloth.”
– NPR Jazz (January 2011)
“Brave , bold and globally conscious music created by an artist that has both feet planted in many traditions and both hands reaching out for infinite possibilities …”
– Karsh Kale (March 2017 re: A Circle Has No Beginning)