From: NY, United States
Genre: Jazz, Latin, Pop
Jerry began taking piano lessons at eleven, and Trumpet at fourteen. In his late teens, Jerry began playing in local bands in and around New York City. Most of the musicians in these bands were much older, giving him the opportunity to learn the tunes of the 30s and 40s. At age 19, he added valve trombone to his performances. In 1961, he was drafted into the Army, and spent the next two years playing tuba and trumpet in the Army band.
Following discharge, Jerry spent five years as a music student in Chicago, graduating in 1970 with a Masters in Music Education from DePaul University. His teaching career began then and continues today. In 1973, he launched a four-piece cover band playing in clubs, private parties and special events. The personnel grew to six pieces in the 70s and 80s, and so did the variety of music. The group played standards, Latin, Disco, Rock, and a variety of ethnic music.
After playing 150 to 200 gigs annually, for over twenty years, and teaching full-time for the New York Department of Education, Drake took a 2-year break and did free-lance work, exclusively. In 1995, he helped organize and also fronted the New York Big Band. This was a repeat performance for Jerry. In 1987, he helped organize, and also fronted The Serenaders in Blue Big Band.
In 1998, Drake kicked off The Front Page Big Band, a highly successful organization in the New York City area. So far they have recorded 3 CDs. In addition to leading his won big band, Jerry is the conductor of the New York Police Band. As a composer Jerry Drake writes original music with lyrics in the American Songbook style, arranged by him for Big Band setting.