Todd Hammes and his Tooland Drum Ensemble

Music for Percussion (Mostly)

Innova 682



            FourMovements from Remembering

1.         Attract and Repel         1:40

2.         Laughter and TripleDuet        3:13

3.         Sand Box Solo            2:47

4.         First Kiss        2:40


5.         Kalimba on Marimba  3:28


6.         14+8: A Mood            3:21


7.         Eh Wa Ba Wa Jo         2:55


8.         Marimba, Pan andTabla         8:24


9.         Speedway Boulevard:Tucson 11:05


10.       Four Steps       4:09


11.       Inconsistencies            4:50


12.       My Hunterof Dragonflies      2:23


Tool and Drum Ensemble

Todd Hammes, HomeroCeron, Paul Gibson, Brian Harris, Colin Jones-Weinert, Dan Kruse, Doug Smith,Norm Weinberg



All works composed byTodd Hammes



Four Movements fromRemembering (1997-2002)

Norman Weinberg -Xylophone

Doug Smith - Marimba

Todd Hammes - Marimba andPercussion: temple and frog blocks, China cymbals, finger cymbals, tam tam,elephant bells, cow bells, small frying pan, wood blocks, khatak bells, tailpipes, small metal rods, toki, wood.


This suite was reworkedfrom a much larger piece originally written for dance.  Commissioned by Sue Schroeder for herSeveral Dancers Core, CORE Performance Company, Atlanta, GA. 

Recorded live in Tucson,2005.


Kalimba on Marimba (2005)

Todd Hammes - Marimba


This piece is all aboutemulating the qualities of the kalimba in time, attack and phrasing.  The watery environment was created in asensory deprivation tank at Still Waters Float Spa, Tucson.


14+8: A Mood (2000)

Norman Weinberg -Xylophone

Mac Intosh - Piano

Todd Hammes - Percussion


This piece is the resultof  a very bad mood. It’s a sort ofmusical  temper tantrum, veryaggressive and distorted. The xylophone part requires a player who is notafraid to make some intentionally bad sounds.  The piano and percussion parts are to be played withreckless abandon.  Some notes andinstruments will literally hit the floor.


Percussion Instrumentsused on this recording:  3 Ewebells, gankogui, triple gankogui and ogene;  2 Indonesian bonang gongs;  gas station bells (Grand-Pa’s);  clavé bell; pitch fork (antique);  4med. trash can lids;  2 Japanesewood blocks;  43 wooden drum sticks(used);  5 stainless steel trianglebeaters;  3 chromed trianglebeaters;  2 cha-cha bells;  mambo bell;  2 strands of khatak bells;  24” suspended cymbal; 24” and 16” china cymbals; 24” tam tam;  nightingalewhistle w/o water;  sm.washboard;  clavés;  toy piano (c1-f2);  sm. dinner bell;  crank case from midsize domestictruck;  table top;  floor;  lg. thermos;  tsmall pot lids without handles;  pr.vintage bongo counter hoops;  1/2inch wrench;  pr. timbalesticks;  2 pr. lg. chopsticks;  5 sm. chop sticks;  pr old timpani mallets;  med. rail road spike;  8” splash cymbal;  pr. 8” Chinese jing cymbals(thick);  pr. rhute;  2 almglocken;  LP guiro scraper; 12” bungee cord;  $2.58 (8quarters, 4 dimes, 1 nickel, 13 pennies)

However, the exactinstrumentation is determined by the specific performer.


Eh Wa Ba Wa Jo (2003)

Todd Hammes - Marimba,Conga and Axatse


This setting of thetraditional Nigerian welcoming song includes a composed marimba part whichleaves room for improvisation.


Marimba, Pan and Tabla(2005)

Norman Weinberg - SingleTenor Steel Drum

Norman Weinberg - Marimba

Todd Hammes - Tabla


This is a piece thatallows for virtuosic soloing by the drummer.  It presents a sedate, almost numbingly slow Barber-likechorale on the part of the marimba and steel drum, while the drums overlay asoloistic background.  The tablapart can be substituted with a frame drum or some other versatile hand drum.


Speedway Boulevard:Tucson (2005)

John Snavely - BassClarinet

Todd Hammes - Vibraphone,Tom Toms and Cymbals

Todd Hammes - Marimba,Log Drum Tom Toms and Percussion


Speedway Blvd. is themain east-to-west drag in Tucson. At both ends, Speedway terminates in thepristine Sonoran Desert, while the middle traverses the core of the city.  In this composition, the ends are in thecity and the middle is in the desert. The outer sections are bustling, kinetic, fast-flowing…while the middlesection is sparse and sublime.  Ienvisioned this middle section to depict the sun’s preparing to rise over theSonoran desert and it’s effects on the tiny life forms scurrying about.

Commissioned by LindaSiegel of the Milwaukee Symphony for use in there Young People’s Concerts.


Percussion instrumentsused for this recording: small frying pan, antique cowbell, small metal rods,sand paper blocks, cha-cha bell, Bolivian seed pods, Ashanti seed pods, Limcabottle, wood block, Garden Weasel, prison shaker, cymbals, tam tam, large logdrum floor tom, tom toms.


Four Steps (2007)

Todd Hammes - Frame Drum


Four steps explores thevarying shrutis, or qualities, of one basic technique.  The “te te” technique from tabladrumming can be open, closed, rubbed or played in a variety of locations on thedrum.  By gradually movingin-between these various options many subtleties can come to light.  Mostly, the quantity of “shush” or arubbing sound is being varied.  Theremaining ideas are linearly arranged like in Indian tabla composition.


This performance was doneon a large 24 inch, goat skin, frame drum from Rajastan, India.


Inconsistencies (1993)

Octet for PercussionEnsemble

Performed by Todd Hammesand his Tool and Drum Ensemble, Tom Tom solos by Brian Harris


This piece was writtenfor the students of Tucson’s Canyon Del Oro High School PercussionEnsemble.  In addition to thestandard instrument ins this piece uses some found sounds and bundle sticks,ruta.  The title makes reference tothe wonder that can be found in the exception to the rules.


My Hunter of Dragonflies(2002-04)

Todd Hammes - Percussion


This piece is based on ahaiku by one of Japan’s greatest female poets, Chiyo-Ni (1701-75).


It is a direct reflectionof the Haiku.  The haiku has twolines.  The first is playful andgrounded; the second is ethereal and wanting.

Musically, there are twosections: the first on wood instruments (playful and grounded); the second onmetal instruments (ethereal and wanting).


Todd Hammes: Percussionat the Speed of Thought.

Born in 1969 and raised in Onalaska, Wisconsin, Todd has spent his lifepursuing his own plan. An avid performer since age five, he never missed anopportunity to study or perform. It’s an inclination that has served him well –while a student at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and at theUniversity of Arizona, where he studied with renowned pedagogue Gary Cook.Since 1989 he has performed with Tucson Symphony Orchestra, as well as withcountless others of Tucson’s finest musicians. In addition to his virtuosity,Todd’s special gift is creating musical connection with others so that, in liveperformance, the line between stage and audience becomes at times nearlyimperceptible.

In 1993, Bob Becker of the acclaimed percussion ensemble Nexus introduced Toddto the Indian master tabla artist Pandit Sharda Sahai, with whom he has studiedfaithfully ever since. While tabla is his favorite instrument, the applicationof Indian drumming concepts to Western music is what most intrigues him. 
Along his way Todd has sought out manyother master drummers for study, most notably Glen Velez for frame drumming, aswell as notable Latin, African and Middle Eastern musicians.

Todd works in many school and community setting.  At the renowned Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, he works withthe Dream Street Program for terminally ill youth, leading drumming groups toenliven and create a sense of community within the program.


Todd’s compositions areregularly performed by his three chamber music ensembles: the Tool and DrumEnsemble, the Sonoran Consort and The Kokopelli Sound.

He created the Tool andDrum Ensemble (TDE) in 2004 as a vehicle for his unique compositional style.The group’s repertoire includes solos, duos, trios and quartets, most of themcomposed by Todd and commissioned by a variety of modern dancecompanies.


TDE audiences are greetedby a stage overflowing with percussion instruments – some as familiar asthe gong, snare drum or xylophone, but many virtually unidentifiable. Many arefrom remote parts of the planet, some from the western orchestra, and some fromeveryday life —  the kitchen,the junkyard, and the toy box.  Acommon impression of the Tool and Drum Ensemble is that it is both classicaland global music, combined with the energy and spontaneity of jazz, offeringperformances both intellectually stimulating and fun.

Established as a collective, the TDE includes percussionists chosen for theirenergy and skill.  A typicalconcert employs up to four players. They represent the new breed of American percussionists –classically trained yet experienced in improvising with jazz, popular and dancestyles, and skilled in the music of other cultures. 


Along with Todd,performers  include Homero Ceron,Paul Gibson, Brian Harris, Colin Jones-Weinert, Dan Kruse, Doug Smith, and Dr.Norm Weinberg.



Thank you to Jeanne.

Photos by Todd Hammes


Tracks 1-4 were recordedon location by James Ball, Tucson AZ

Tracks 5-12 were recordedby Pete Fine at Planet of the Tapes Studios, Tucson, AZ

Mastered by Mike Levy at11:11 Studios, Tucson, AZ.
Todd is a World Music Artist for REMO percussionand uses Pro-Mark sticks and mallets.

Contact Todd Hammesat

c p Todd Hammes,2007

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
Philip Blackburn: Director, design
Chris Campbell: Operations