Perhaps no one else embodies the spirit of the charmed life of a rhythm master more than Karl Perazzo. His lighthearted attitude and down-to-earth mentality has led him along a life of rhythmic success, from a very early age. By the sixth grade, Karl was playing with Cal Tjader, in his hometown of San Francisco. He went on to play with the best in the industry, and is currently holding down the timbale groove of Carlos Santana’s amazing powerhouse rhythm section which includes conguero Raul Rekow and drummer Dennis Chambers.
When I first met Karl, his warmth and friendliness helped create an extremely comfortable environment in which to hang out and show him drums. As he looked over the display, he quickly gravitated to a plain old grey maple drum, strung up tightly with a goat skin. He became enthralled with the color and grain of this simple wood species, expressing to us how the soul of this wood was speaking to him through its appearance and sound. His face was lit up as he held the drum close and pointed to areas of the wood grain that he liked. I explained to him that I don’t use any stains or dyes, and polish the crap out of the wood itself, so that the pure and natural beauty of the material can glow underneath the clearcoat.
Karl’s dedication to his craft comes for him with an obligation to pass along his knowledge, and as such he has spent a lot of time and effort conducting clinics for the Latin Percussion Music Group. In 1994 Karl started his own record label, Mona Records, which seeks to promote latin and latin jazz music. He also has an instructional video with bandmate Raul Rekow which breaks down the afro-cuban grooves used for Santana’s Supernatural album. He strongly believes that the knowledge he has is not his to keep, but to be shared with people around the world.