Remembering Hal Blaine

Quite possibly the most recorded drummer in American History, Hal Blaine set the standard of a career as a session musician. According to experts, Hal is believed to have been a part of over 35,000 recording sessions. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. He recently was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award last year.

Hal started playing drums at an early age. He had a strong upbringing in jazz and even toured with the Count Basie band for some time. Eventually, his passion for Rock & Roll led him on a different path. Hal moved to Los Angeles and largely contributed to the legendary recording artist collective “The Wrecking Crew”.

Over the years, Blaine would play on recordings of Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Herb Alpert, 5th Dimension, The Ronettes, and many more. By the end of his career, he was credited with playing on 40 songs that reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Additionally, Blaine served some time in the United States Army as a percussionist. Dropping out of school at 16, Blaine enlisted and served in Korea as an Army bandsman. He notably served in an all officer band…as an enlisted private first class.

Hal Blaine sadly passed away on March 11th, 2019 of natural causes.

Learn more about Hal Blaine at Percussive Arts Society’s website here

Dorian Wallace

Somewhere in New York City, Pianist and composer Dorian Wallace is probably writing a composition that would make my head spin. The Co-Founding Artistic Director of Tenth Intervention recently sat down with me for an interview. I have known Dorian for a couple years now, and he is a personal friend of mine that is a musical genius. I knew it was necessary to include him in my publication the Veteran Sound Project.

Dorian was born and raised in North Canton, Ohio. Dorian described North Canton as the typical Rust Belt town, sparse of jobs and opportunities…especially for a musician and artist. He started playing the piano at four years old, and found an appreciation of classical music at an early age with an immediate love for Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C# Minor”, as well as the work of pianist Vladimir Horowitz. At 8 years old, Dorian found Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” very inspiring.

“It changed my life. I had never heard music that sounded like that before. Music became a life obsession after that.”

He also grew a fondness for aggressive metal in his pre-teens, such as Slayer, Meshuggah, Pantera, etc.

Dorian graduated from Hoover High School Class of 2004 and immediately started attending Kent State University for music composition. The highlight of Dorian’s college experience was the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio playing his composition “Piano Trio No. 3” (He acknowledges the name is lame). He called this a “crazy moment for him” and made

Dorian decided he wanted immurement in playing professionally rather than textbook education and abruptly moved to NYC before dropping out of college, whilst simultaneously joining the US Army National Guard.

“It changed my life. I had never heard music that sounded like that before. Music became a life obsession after that.”

He also grew a fondness for aggressive metal in his pre-teens, such as Slayer, Meshuggah, Pantera, etc.

Dorian graduated from Hoover High School Class of 2004 and immediately started attending Kent State University for music composition. The highlight of Dorian’s college experience was the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio playing his composition “Piano Trio No. 3” (He acknowledges the name is lame). He called this a “crazy moment for him” and made

Dorian decided he wanted immurement in playing professionally rather than textbook education and abruptly moved to NYC before dropping out of college, whilst simultaneously joining the US Army National Guard. Dorian has since performed and collaborated with such composers and artists as Robert Ashley, Frank London, Pamela Z, Paul Pinto, John Sanborn, Dave Liebman, Matt Marks, and Aleksandra Vrebalov, amongst many others.

In 2012, Dorian started the experimental chamber group Tenth Intervention, alongside violinist Hajnal Pivnick. Dorian composes for the group that plays mostly in the NYC area. Dorian likes to emphasize that Tenth Intervention is a social responsibility organization as much as a music ensemble. Dorian says, “I’ve got a musical gift, and a love to bring music to listeners…and this is how I can contribute to the social advocacy I believe.”

Dorian never considered any service in the military until he heard of the college reimbursement benefits from his then roommate at Kent State. He is not the first to serve in his family, his grandfather served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Sadly, his grandfather passed away a little over a year ago, but Dorian still holds him as one of the most inspiring individuals of his life. Dorian’s current military service started with the 122nd Ohio National Guard Band in 2009, and continues with his current enlistment with the 63rd Army Band.

Currently, Dorian is working on his third opera, which happens to be the largest production he has ever created. He recently became engaged with his fiancée Hajnal Pivnick, who helped cofound Tenth Intervention. Dorian is currently going back to school to finish a bachelor’s degree in music therapy at Montclair State University. Dorian hopes to use his musical talents to help veterans in healing and rehabilitation from overseas deployments.