Mike Stern - United States
OverviewLionel Cordew, a righty who plays drums left-handed, has been playing since the age of five, professionally for the past eighteen years. The youngest of five boys, he first became interested in performing at the age of three by watching his older brothers’ band rehearsals from atop the basement stairway. It inspired him to raid his mother’s kitchen cabinets for pots and pans, arrange them by size and sound, and play them with a pair of butter knives.
The area of Queens where Cordew was raised, was home to an uncanny number of musicians, including James Brown, Illinois Jacquet, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgearld, Lenny White, Marcus Miller, Omar Hakim, Najee, and many others. Lionel was fortunate enough to see many of them perform in his own backyard at block parties, neighbors homes and at local clubs. He performed with Special EFX for more than four years while juggling touring, recording, drum clinics, and television spots with other artists. Lionel has since played with numerous jazz royalty including Lonnie Plaxico, Mike Stern, Leni Stern, and Bill Evans.
As a young adolescent, Lionel and his brothers performed every Sunday at the church where his father was the minister and his mother a singer in the gospel choir. The Cordew brothers gained a reputation which brought standing room only parishioners to the church. The area in Queens, NY where Cordew was raised, was home to an uncanny number of musicians, including James Brown, Illinois Jacquet, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Lenny White, Marcus Miller, Omar Hakim, Najee, and others. Cordew was fortunate enough to see many of them perform in his own backyard at block parties, neighbors’ homes, and local clubs.
Staying local due to family obligations, Lionel received his formal musical education through a training program sponsored by the Local 802 Musicians Union that involved teachers from The Manhattan School of Music and The Julliard School of Music. With pianist/composer Stanley Cowell, he played a wide range of musical types - from traditional jazz to Cowell’s modern jazz string quartets - highlighted by a performance at Carnegie Hall. While in school, Cordew could be heard playing at one club or another every night of the week. His “break” came when he was heard at a small Long Island club by Dean Brown (Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller) and Schuyler Deale (Billy Joel, Michael Bolton) who asked him to play in their band, PRIMO. From there, Lionel played with Kirk Whalum, highlighted by a performance on the soundtrack for The Prince of Tides. Recorded on location, Cordew’s kit can actually be seen in the film. After Whalum, Cordew played with Special EFX for more than four years. Heavy touring, recording, and radio and television spots gave him exposure to many other artists on the jazz scene who he toured with and continues to play with today.
Cordew is a versatile, high energy drummer with an instinct for rhythms, perhaps stemming from his Caribbean heritage. He has broad musical interests and a particular zeal for contemporary jazz, fusion, r&b, blues, rock, pop, classical, and modern percussion. He has also toured, performed and/or recorded with Mike Stern, Klye Eastwood Gino Vanelli,Angelique Kidjo,Lonnie Plaxico,Cassandra Wilson,Roberta Flack, Bill Evans, Gato Barbieri,Chico DeBarge,Kelly Price,Warren Hill, Jon Lucien, Nelson Rangell, Special EFX, The Fantasy Band, Leni Stern, Kirk Whalum, Mark Johnson, New York Voices, George Jinda, Chuck Loeb, Marion Meadows, Christoph Spendel, Chieli Minucci, Mike Stern Band, Wayne Krantz, Regina Carter, and others. His tours have taken him from throughout the United States, to Southeast Asia, Europe, Japan and South America.
LinksLionel Cordew @ MySpace
Equipment ConfigurationReference Series
22x18 bass drum
14x12 floor tom
15x13 floor tom
14x6.5 snare drum
B1000 boom stand x 3
C1000 straight stand
S2000 snare stand
H1000 hi-hat stand
TH1000 tom holder
TH1000S short tom holder