In 21st Century Band, Grammy® award-winning drummer and composer Dion Parson has put together a powerhouse ensemble. Comprised of seven of the world’s finest musicians, the band features a fresh innovative sound that boasts a superb mix of US Virgin Islands traditions such as Quelbe, and other Caribbean infusions like reggae, calypso, soca, mento, ska, zouk, steel pan, chutney, and funk with New Orleans and African overtones. Together, these supremely talented artists deliver their special brand of Caribbean Jazz with down-home sophistication and a high energy level that has audiences—young and old— soaring to their feet time and time again. Their sold-out performances at prestigious venues like Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City have garnered such rave reviews from fans and critics alike that the club has hosted the ensemble for week-long performances every year since June 2008.
In 1998, together with fellow islander and saxophonist Ron Blake, Dion launched 21st Century Band as a platform to showcase the music of the USVI. The band’s core members include five musicians from the USVI, one from New Mexico, and one from West Africa. This diversity in background, along with their mastery of jazz, provides a camaraderie that helps to strengthen and hone the authentic feel of the band’s sound. In addition, members of the band currently perform with a diverse group of all-star artists including Jon Faddis, the Dave Matthews Band, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, the Saturday Night Live Band, Dianne Reeves, Paquito D’Rivera, Babatunde Olatunji, Baaba Maal, and many more.
Dion Parson is also an educator. Dion's musical foundation includes classical, reggae, calypso, jazz, African, and pop. He received a BM in Music Education in 1990, his Masters in Jazz Performance in 2012, and has been an Artist-in-Residence at the University of the Virgin Islands. An educator committed to giving back to his community, Dion is President of United Jazz Foundation and founder of "Mentoring Through the Arts of Music," a music education and mentoring program that helps young musicians discover, hone, and showcase their talent while preparing them for professional careers in music. Dion has performed globally and has successfully recorded as both a sideman and a leader for several major music labels.
After playing Sakae drums for the past two years, I am happy to be endorsing them officially. For over 90 years Sakae drums have been a prominent sound among the top drummers in the world and this sound can be heard in all genres of music from jazz, country, rock, soul, R&B, classical, Caribbean, indie and world music.
Sakae drums are quality drums with a warm full sound and a rich tone that is unique all to itself. Sakae drums are superior drums and the company is built on respect, integrity and honor. This is why Sakae drums are a perfect fit for me!
I'm proud to be a part of the Sakae drum family.Dion Parson