Pioneering jazz-rock drummer and composer Danny Seraphine is a founding member of Chicago. Worldwide the iconic group has sold over 122 million albums, and, just domestically, earned 22 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. In 1990, after 23 years in the group, Seraphine and Chicago had a jarring parting of ways, and he left music behind for 15 years. But a call to play a benefit show for a fellow drummer pulled him out of seclusion and sparked a creative rebirth.
Today, Seraphine looks forward with Sacred Ground (Street Sense), the sophomore record from his jazz-rock powerhouse group CTA—often described as “Chicago on steroids”—and he makes peace with his past with the refreshingly candid memoir Street Player: My Chicago Story (Wiley).
That benefit show was a real turning point for me. It was really emotional,” Seraphine recalls. “I realized I missed performing the Chicago material, that music really defined me as a player.” The night of the benefit Seraphine received a standing ovation. From that revelatory night he assembled CTA, California Transit Authority, a bold nod to Chicago’s roots as playing accessible but adventurous jazz-rock under the moniker Chicago Transit Authority.
Seraphine is critically acclaimed as an instrumentalist and a composer. Rolling Stone Magazine recently ranked him as one of the top 100 drummers of all time. When he was coming up on the music scene, legendary jazz drummer Buddy Rich called Seraphine his favorite young drummer. Recently he was awarded Cape Breton Drum Festival’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor he also received from the Montreal Drum Festival. He’s an endorsee of esteemed drum companies such as DW drums, Remo drumheads, Zildjian cymbals and drumsticks. He also has released a well-regarded instruction DVD titled The Art of Jazz Rock Drumming, distributed through Drum Channel. As a songwriter, Seraphine co-wrote the Chicago Top 40 hits “Lowdown” and “No Tell Lover,” as well as core Chicago tunes like “Little One,” “Take Me Back to Chicago,” “Show Me the Way,” “Birthday Boy,” and the irresistibly funky “Street Player,” later sampled by rapper Pitbull for the hit “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”