Meet Daniel

Daniel Glass …

…. is an award-winning drummer, author, historian and educator based in New York City. Daniel is widely recognized as an authority on classic American drumming and the evolution of American Popular Music. Since 2011, he has been the house drummer every Monday night at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club.

Daniel is highly in demand as a drummer, working more than 200 gigs annually. He has recorded and performed all over the world with a diverse roster of top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Royal Crown Revue, KISS front man Gene Simmons’ swing project, Jose Feliciano, Freddie Cole, Marilyn Maye, Gunhild Carling, the Hot Sardines, the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, Michelle Shocked, Melissa Manchester, Mike Ness, Air Supply’s Graham Russell, and Luann De Lesseps from the Real Housewives of New York. He also leads his own group, the Daniel Glass Trio. For two years running, Daniel was voted one of the top five drummers in the world by readers of Modern Drummer and DRUM magazine.

As an educator, Daniel has published five books and three DVDs, including the award-winning titles The Century Project, The Roots of Rock Drumming, and The Commandments of Early Rhythm and Blues Drumming. His online curriculum on American Popular Music, From Ragtime to Rock, is used by music educators at over 1000 schools across the U.S. and Canada.

Daniel contributes regularly to publications like Modern Drummer, DRUM and Classic Drummer. He has performed hundreds of clinics and master classes globally, appearing at many of the world’s top educational institutions (such as U of Miami’s Frost School of Music), conferences (such as JEN, the Jazz Education Network) and music festivals (Percussive Arts Society Int’l Conv, Modern Drummer Festival).

In 2016, Daniel created an annual 4-day Jazz Drumming Intensive in New York City, which draws an international student base, and features renowned guest clinicians such as Carl Allen, Kenny Washington and Sean Pelton. In 2021, Daniel brought the Jazz Intensive concept to Europe, and to date has hosted three annual events at the Groovekiste Musik Akademie near Frankfurt, Germany.

A pioneer in online education, Daniel works one-on-one with an average of 50 private students each month (who hail from five continents).

His online educational portal – Drumming In Motion – offers a wide range of courses, all based in Daniel’s unique, proprietary method of teaching known as the Motion Based System.

In 2013, Daniel co-curated an exhibit on the history of the drum set at the Rhythm Discovery Center in Indianapolis, IN, for which he was awarded the Percussive Arts Society’s “Distinguished Service Award.”


Daniel grew up in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and began playing drums at the age of eight. He graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, (fellow alumni include President Barack Obama, America Online founder Steve Case and E-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar), and obtained a bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), from Brandeis University in Boston. In 1991, Daniel moved to Los Angeles to continue his musical training at the Dick Grove School of Music. Upon graduation, Daniel worked as a freelance musician in Los Angeles, recording for a variety of independent labels and touring with jazz singer Barbara Morrison and veteran blues guitarist Debbie Davies. He studied privately with master teacher Freddie Gruber from 1992-1996.

Royal Crown Revue

In 1994, Daniel joined a powerhouse septet from Los Angeles called Royal Crown Revue. RCR’s unique blending of classic sound, Zoot-suited style and modern raw power inspired a global “Retro-Swing” resurgence that continues to present day. As the original house band at the Derby Club, RCR quickly became the hottest live attraction in L.A. Key appearances in the Jim Carrey blockbuster The Mask (1994) and Jon Favreau’s Swingers (1996) would cement the band’s reputation as an important taste-maker and musical force to be reckoned with. In 1995, RCR was signed to Warner Bros Records by super-producer Ted Templeman (of Van Halen and Doobie Brothers fame). Over the next seven years, RCR’s releases, Mugzy’s Move (1996), Caught in the Act (1997), The Contender (1998 – on which Daniel co-wrote 5 tracks), Walk on Fire (1999) and Passport to Australia (2001) – would sell well over 500,000 units. Daniel stayed active with RCR until 2014, recording a total of 8 CDs, and producing the band’s 2004 release, Greetings from Hollywood. You can view Daniel’s complete discography here.

Career Highlights With RCR

Touring highlights with RCR include headlining slots on the Van’s Warped Tours ‘97 and ‘99 (with stops in Europe, Australia and Japan), a spot on the 1998 Playboy Jazz Festival, and national tours with The B-52’s, The Pretenders, and KISS. The band recorded four songs with Bette Midler, and performed with her at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards. Jazz festival appearances include Concord, Saratoga, Newport and JVC Lincoln Center. In September of 1999, RCR headlined two sold out performances with the 110 piece Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In 2005, RCR headlined the Tantsy festival in Moscow, and in 2010 they toured Egypt as official representatives of the U.S. State Department.

Royal Crown Revue has had a significant career busy in the world of TV and film. The group’s music has been featured in TV shows, movie trailers, ad campaigns, from Jim Carrey’s The Mask and Jon Favreau’s “Swingers” to Olympic gymnastic and ice skating routines, even the Miss America Pageant. RCR wrote, recorded and performed the “Dubba, Dubba WB” theme for the WB Network’s ‘98/’99 season. The band’s classic track “Hey Pachuco” was the winning song for Season 5 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Live TV appearances have included Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, The Roseanne Show, Viva Variety (Comedy Central), Tales from the Crypt (HBO), MTV’s Rock-n-Jock B-Ball Jam and Swing Alive, (a national PBS special that featured Daniel in a drum-battle with Count Basie/Frank Sinatra drummer Gregg Field; see video). Recently, RCR’s music has been heard in the films Something’s Gotta Give, The Cat in the Hat, The Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, Joe Kid on A Stingray, and the television shows Malcolm in the Middle, Wonder Falls and The Biggest Loser.

Work With Other Artists

Outside of RCR, Daniel has performed and recorded with a variety of artists, including Brian Setzer, KISS front man Gene Simmons, singers Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Maye and Erich Bergen, jazz legends Freddy Cole, Al Viola, and Page Cavanaugh, Mike Ness (of Social Distortion), Johnny Boyd (of Indigo Swing), rockabilly legend Robert Gordon, ska/reggae guitar great Earnest Ranglin, Unknown Hinson.

He has been profiled numerous times in Modern Drummer magazine (including the cover story, Dec. ‘98), JazzEd Magazine (March 2014 cover), and has been featured in DRUM!, Drumhead, Classic Drummer, Stick It, and Drummerdude magazines. In 2002, Daniel released his debut CD as a leader. The Daniel Glass Trio’s Something Colorful was the flagship release for VeryTall Music, a label that Daniel co-founded. The DGT has toured internationally, with a 2002 European tour, and an appearance at the Havana International Jazz Festival in Cuba. A second VeryTall release – vibraphonist Eldad Tarmu’s Exotic Tales (also produced by Daniel) – came out in 2004, and Introducing the Rhythm Club All Stars was released in 2008 (see more). All three VeryTall releases were produced by Daniel, who has also held down production duties for Japan’s biggest swing act, The Travellers.

“Second Career” As Writer, Clinician, and Historian

In addition to working as musician and producer, Daniel has developed a second career as a writer, clinician and music historian. This career developed out of a desire to understand more deeply the origins of the music he was making with RCR and other retro-style artists. In 1999, Daniel began  interviewing many of the legends who had inspired RCR’s sound. To date, he has interviewed more than 50 musicians, historians, record collectors and other important figures who inspired the sounds of Big Band Swing, Bebop, Classic Rhythm and Blues, Rockabilly and Early Rock’n’Roll (see the complete list here).

Beginning with a four-part series in Modern Drummer Magazine entitled “Swinging In A Modern Age,” Daniel is currently the author of five books and three DVDs, as well as dozens of articles and other features. All of Daniel’s publications are designed not only to explore the origins of American popular music, but to show today’s music students and fans alike just how much they can benefit from learning about their musical past. To view Daniel’s complete catalog, please click here.

From the Written Word to Radio to In-Flight Radio…

Since July, 2008, Daniel has written a monthly column in DRUM magazine entitled “A Moment in History.” Other recent features include a five-part series for Modern Drummer entitled “Nouveau Retro,” as well as an in depth interview with the drummers of Sun Records (Modern Drummer, August, 2008). Daniel has also published articles on music/drumming history in The Encyclopedia of Percussion (2nd Edition), DRUM Magazine, Classic Drummer, Stick It Magazine and the MusicHound Swing Essential Album Guide. Daniel has done swing-oriented programming for online radio giant SonicNet/Mtvi, and for the Delta Airlines in-flight radio network.

Drum Clinics that Engage, Inform, and Delight

Since 2003, Daniel has begun teaching the history and tradition of the drums. His engaging clinic performance brings to life the roots of the drum set, and focuses on the relationship between drumming and popular American music styles like early jazz, swing, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and early rock’n’roll. The clinic has wowed audiences from Arizona to Australia and offers what swing drumming legend Louie Bellson calls a “delightful and refreshing approach” to keeping alive the history and traditions of drumming. Daniel has presented his clinic at some of the biggest drum shows in the world, including the Modern Drummer Festival, the PASIC (Percussive Arts Society Int’l Convention), The Australian Ultimate Drummers Weekend (AUDW), the KoSA Percussion Workshop, The Chicago Drum Show, the Hollywood Custom and Vintage Drum Show. In his capacity as an educator, Daniel is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team, as well as the Professional Drum Teachers Guild.

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