Adam Carlson

Drummer & Educator in Portland, OR


Adam Carlson is a Bend, OR native now living in Portland, Oregon as a freelance musician. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Jazz Studies (Cum Laude), and has performed hundreds of times around the Northwest. Adam also spent a year in New York City where he honed his playing style to include jazz, soul, latin, funk, rock, and pop. He has played drums on numerous albums, and has performed with many different Oregon and New York musicians, and University of Oregon faculty members. Adam also teaches private drum lessons: all ages, skill levels, and styles.


ADAM CARLSON – Portland drummer – is a native of Bend, Oregon and was born in 1991. He began playing drums at the age of 13 when he joined the middle school jazz band. From there, his interest in jazz grew exponentially and eventually become an addiction. Inspired by local Bend jazz educators, such as Andy Armer and Jody Henderson, he immersed himself in the Bend jazz scene. Whether he was taking classes at the Cascades Community School of Music, playing in local musical productions, like Caberet, or playing gigs at Bebop Coffee House, Adam was playing the drums. He began attending summer jazz workshops -- like the Mel Brown Summer Jazz Workshop and the University of Oregon Summer Jazz Camp -- and sought out the best drum instruction he could. Among his many teachers are Portland drummers Gary Hobbs, Mel Brown, Todd Strait, Charlie Doggett, Jason Palmer, and Carlton Jackson. In 2008 & 2010, he was selected to drum for the OMEA All State groups, and in 2009 he was chosen as the drummer for the MENC All Northwest Jazz Choir. He was also awarded an Outstanding Musician Award at the Reno Jazz Festival in 2009 & 2010, and then again in college in 2011 & 2012.

Adam graduated cum laude from the Jazz Studies program at the University of Oregon with a Bachelors Degree in music in Spring 2014. Upon graduation he was awarded the Most Outstanding Performer Award in the area of Jazz Studies. During his time in the program, Adam studied with drummer Gary Hobbs, and played drum set in the University's top jazz combo. He also played drum set with the Oregon Jazz Ensemble, the premiere UO big band under the direction of Steve Owen. In the summer of 2014, Adam traveled to Europe to play with the Oregon Jazz Ensemble at four renowned, international Jazz festivals: The Montreux Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz á Vienne, and Festival Internazionale del Jazz della Spezia. Adam grew extremely involved in the Eugene music scene, and became a first-call drummer in the area. He worked regularly with regionally acclaimed musicians like Mike Denny, Carl Woideck, Steve Owen, Olem Alves, Tim McLaughlin, Don Latarski, Tony Glausi, Torrey Newhart, Michael Radliff, Paul Biondi, and Siri Vik. Adam has also played drums on numerous debut albums including that of Paul Krueger, Torrey Newhart, Tony Glausi, Nick Hamel, and the Olem Alves led funk/jazz fusion band called Inner Limits.

In April, 2017, Adam moved to Brooklyn, New York to absorb the extremely high level of musicianship that is abundant in New York City. He frequented jam sessions and shows of all genres around the city, and became involved with a variety of different New York bands. While playing with these New York bands, Adam honed his ability to play many different genres, including jazz, soul, fusion, latin, funk, rock, and pop. He gained a unique perspective on the many musical styles, and developed a broad musical taste, craving to play “any genre that grooves.” Adam also enjoys playing experimental music that draws bits and pieces from all genres.

In June, 2018, Adam relocated to Portland, Oregon where he works as a freelance musician. Since then, he has become involved with a handful of Portland bands including CJ Mickens & The Powerhouse, Red Bird Soul, EBoneX, Amber Sweeney, Starship Infinity, and Nicole Portley. He plans to continue to refine his musicianship, and collaborate with as many different musicians as possible. Adam also teaches private drum lessons: all ages, skill levels, and styles.