To contact Todd send email to:
“You Can Ta Ka Di Mi This” is Todd’s acclaimed book that utilizes the South Indian rhythm system to help all musicians ground and expand their sense of time and groove. This book is especially useful for those who want to get comfortable in odd time signatures. Includes CD.
To order send $25. (includes shipping and handling) to:
360 Clinton Ave #2K
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Here are some videos from several of Todd’s bands. Please select from the list to change videos.
International Orange Review from The Blue Note: Click Here
Click here to read an interview with Todd at Glide Magazine (opens in new window).
Click here to read HighTimes Magazine unsigned band of the month article on International Orange (opens in new window).
JI: Tell us about some of the experiences you had visiting Africa that expanded your awareness about people, your sensitivity, and contributed to your artistic development?
TI: My trip to Africa was definitely eventful. I went in 2002 with a great musician, Stefan Bauer. He played vibes and on this trip, a big marimba. This trip was in some ways a test for me. Stefan had this music that was very through composed and intricate. Being a groove oriented player and being in Africa, I was having a tough time philosophically, getting with the repertoire. I had to swallow my pride and get with the program. Eventually I did, and things improved. We played in Ivory Coat, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. We drove through Benin and Togo and just outside of Abidjan, our driver fell asleep at the wheel. We wound up in a ditch. Very close call. The best thing that happened on that trip was that I got to play with a Fela Kuti-type band in Lagos – quite a highlight in my life.
JI: What recording or recordings initially sparked your interest in jazz, and inspired your desire to perform?
TI: I was introduced to a very wide range of stuff at an early age. I mean every thing from Errol Garner to Weather Report. I think the first jazz concert I saw was the VSOP Quintet around ‘77. I had no idea what was happening technically, but I was so blown away by the whole thing, especially Tony Williams. I didn’t leave the basement for a month after that.
JI: Tell us about the unique sounds you bring to performances, recordings, ensembles with a few of the instruments you play: Kanjira, Janoon, and Hadgini.
TI: Along with drum set, I play some hand drums from around the world. M friend Jamey Haddad invented a drum called Hadgini. This instrument was made with our technique in mind. It’s an udu drum with two connected chambers. The pitch can be changed by controlling the amount of airflow through the ports on top of each chamber. It can produce deep liquid sounds as well as percussive hits. Another drum that can change pitch is the Kanjira from South India. I use it more like a talking drum than a classical Indian instrument. I also play different frame drums, which can simulate a whole kit in some settings. My newest drum is an Uduboo. It was invented by John Neptune in Japan. It’s made from the widest bamboo found on earth. It has two ports on top and it’s a little more than two feet long. Like Mridangam, it is played with both hands on the ends.
JI: Tell us about the concept of your first CD back in 1999, and how the music developed from concept to sound, and your selection of personnel, and a bit about your current project.
TI: My first CD as a leader, Two Step, Duets And Beyond was more of a calling card than a concept. I did it to showcase my drumming and hand drumming. I had some incredible musicians on it including Dave Kikoski, the late great Sam Furnace, as well as Cidinho Texeira. My new CD, Soul Drums, has more of a concept to it. There are five original tunes and two covers – Stevie Wonder’s, “Bird Of Beauty” and Joe Zawinul’s, “Badia.” Between each tune there are percussion vignettes, utilizing all the instruments I play.
NY Times review from 2012
Reviews of “You Can Ta Ka Di Mi This”
www.jennyhilljazz.com – mad saxophone jazz
www.fearlessdreamer.com – Pam, one of a kind.
www.ricbecker.com – Trombone player, web designer, photographer
The new trio with David Phelps and Gaku Takanashi. Watch for upcoming gigs, tours. Hear the band and get our debut album here: http://internationalorange.bandcamp.com
I have two cd’s out under my name: Two Step, Duets and Beyond and Soul Drums. Hear them and purchase them at www.cdbaby.com and itunes
Mike Gordon Band
Mike is the bassist for Phish and is out on his own. Go to http://mike-gordon.com
The Mike Gordon Band has several releases, the newest being Live At The Egg in Albany, NY
My book, “You Can Ta Ka Di Mi This” is now out. It is a manual for all musicians to ground their beat and expand their rhythm comfort zone using Indian syllables.
Secret Stevie A group that celebrates our love of Stevie Wonder. Well known and not so well known Stevie tunes with a funky world influence.
Pam Fleming’s Fearless Dreamer
Trumpeter/Composer Pam Fleming puts it all out there with some wonderful musicians, playing her unique form of world jazz.
IO hits Burlington! T.ice, David Phelps, and Gaku Takanashi
International Orange - Kyrematen
TriBeCaStan - Dive Bomber
Bed of Pines
Drummer, teacher and author Todd Isler is based in New York City, where he has been active in the jazz and world music scenes for over 20 years. He currently plays with Mike Gordon of Phish, his trio, International Orange, and several other projects. He has released two original CDs, Two Step: Duets and Beyond, and his current Soul Drums, as well as his book You Can Ta Ka Di Mi This, which utilizes the South Indian Rhythm System to help musicians ground and expand their sense of rhythm. Todd, along with the band Savane, won the Disc Makers Unsigned Band Contest. He was also a winner of the JAZZIZ Magazine Percussion On Fire contest. Todd has toured Africa under the Goethe Institute, and studied the South Indian Mrdangham with Ramnod V. Raghavan and Karaikudi R. Mani in India. Todd has also studied with Brazilian greats Portinho and Vanderlei.
In addition to his own releases Todd has played on hundreds of genre-crossing recordings and performed and/or recorded with a wide rang of artists including Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Steve Turre, Melvin Sparks, Bakithi Kumalo, Ivan Neville, Badal Roy, Francis Mbappe, Jack McDuff, David Krakauer, Al Kooper, Charlie Burnham, and others. He has performed with several dance companies throughout the United States, many of whose performances featured his original compositions. Todd endorses Sonor Drums, Bosphorus cymbals, and Agner sticks.