Described by critics both as ‘a well-kept secret’ and ‘a vital piece of the Chicago jazz puzzle’, Damon Short began banging on a variety of toys and household items around the age of four. His original music, with performances on drums, vibes and marimba appears on the Southport, 9Winds, pfMentum and Depth Perception labels. He’s also worked with groups led by Paul Smoker, Vinny Golia, Rob Blakeslee, Michael Vlatkovich, Scott Fields and Anthony Braxton. He is a regular participant in the Chicago Jazz Composers’ Collective.
His influences as a drummer range from Gene Krupa to Andrew Cyrille, among many others; his compositional concepts include both tightly-structured and open-ended forms for ensembles ranging from two to seven (or more) pieces, and reflect at various times the musics of Ellington, Mingus, Braxton, Coleman, Steve Lacy, Gil Evans, Messiaen, Stravinsky, and Harry Partch. Before settling in Chicago in the late 80s, Short spent several years in New Orleans, and that experience remains an underlying facet of his work.
Short’s work has received high praise in national periodicals such as Cadence, Modern Drummer and Down Beat. He has appeared as a leader and sideman at Chicago Jazz Festival, New York’s Knitting Factory, the Hennessy “Best of Chicago” finals, BET and festivals and venues on both coasts.