Ernie Adams


Ernie studied Jazz at North Texas State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Since then, he has been one of the most sought-out drummers and percussionists in the area. 

Ernie has played on 3 CDs and a DVD with The Al DiMeola Electric Band, as well as all of the world tours for that band from 1996 to 2006.  He has also played for 12 years with Ramsey Lewis and is also featured on 2 of his CDs. 

The list of people he has played with is extensive.  It includes tours, gigs and/or recordings with Joe Williams, Douglas Spotted Eagle, Patricia Barber, Stefon Harris, Art Porter, Stanley Turrentine, Dizzy Gillespie, Dianne Reeves, Bill Summers, Kert Elling, Jimmy Stewart, Karen Briggs, Billy Dickens, Steve Cole, Phil Upchurch, Baabe Irving III, Von Freeman, Melvin Rhyne, Bobby Lyle, Richie Cole, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Buster Williams, Ursula Dudziak, Joe Zawinul, Slide Hampton, Frank Morgan, Arturo Sandoval, Charles Earland, Wycliff Gordon, Michael Wolff, Marvin Stamm, Clark Terry, Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, James Spaulding, The Bodeans, Kenny Drew Jr, Anthony Jackson, Orbert Davis, Gazyna Auguscik, and Red Holloway, and clinics with Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Jack McDuff and Joey DeFrancesco.  Ernie has also performed in numerous jazz, funk and worldbeat concerts under his own name. 

As well as being a large part of the national jingle scene, he is featured on over 60 recordings including Al DiMeola’s “The Infinite Desire”, “Flesh on Flesh” and “Consequence of Chaos”, Al DiMeola’s Live DVD in 2004, Ramsey Lewis’ “Apassionado” and “Meant to Be” with Nancy Wilson, Michael Cunningham’s CD with Jimmy Haslip and Mike Stern.  He also played on Ramsey Lewis’ TV show “Legends of Jazz” with Kurt Elling and Al Jarreau. 

Ernie also co-wrote and performed on the soundtrack and appeared in the 1995 motion picture “A Family Thing” starring Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.

Ernie is also an experienced teacher.  In addition to currently being a drum professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, he was a Ravinia Jazz Mentor from 1995 to 2003.  This program allowed Ernie to go into Chicago’s inner–city high schools to tutor you drummers and percussionists to prepare them for professional gigs as well as impart on the lessons in life skills. 

Ernie is currently involved in regular residencies around the city as well as with various recording projects including akalibrio and Stonecutter Records “Acoustic Chicago” project.