Robert "Bobby" Previte (born July 16, 1959, Niagara Falls, New York) is a jazz drummer, composer and bandleader.
Previte earned a B.A. in music at the University at Buffalo, where he also studied percussion.
He moved to New York City in 1979, and became active in the city's thriving jazz and experimental music scenes. He began professional relationships with John Zorn, Elliott Sharp and others that have continued, intermittently, to the present.
While Previte is a technically proficient drummer, fans of his are also attracted to his compositions: A review of his 1988 album Claude's Late Morning reports that "Perhaps most striking is Previte's skill in composing music that fully integrates these disparate instruments — including drums and drum machine, electric guitar and keyboards, trombone, harp, accordion, banjo, pedal steel guitar, tuba, and harmonica — while emphasizing each instrument's unique, individual sound." Another critic notes Previte's "driving and propulsive compositions, featuring both fiery jazz expressionism and layered counterpoint that suggested elements of contemporary minimalism."
Like fellow New Yorker Henry Threadgill, Previte's works are often tightly arranged, with little or no improvisation. Also like Threadgill, Previte often uses unusual instrumentation and also draws on many non-jazz musics for his compositions.
Unusually for a jazz bandleader, Previte rarely uses saxophones. He often works with trombone players, including Ray Anderson and Robin Eubanks.
He has also played drums on Yoko Kanno's soundtrack to the popular anime Cowboy Bebop, and appeared in Robert Altman's 1993 film Short Cuts as part of the Low Note Quartet backing singer Annie Ross.
Previte has recently formed a musical partnership with guitarist Charlie Hunter; they perform and record duos under the name Groundtruther with Previte playing primarily electronic drums.
Previte also performs solo electronic drums. He is currently collaborating with video artist Benton-C Bainbridge on a DVD and live performances featuring Previte on solo electronic drums and Bainbridge as VJ.
In the 1990's, he performed with the Seattle musical collective Ponga with Wayne Horowitz, Skerik, and Howard Palmer. His current band is The Coalition of the Willing.
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