Christopher Payne is a multi-faceted drummer and percussionist who fuses ethnic hand percussion, classical batterie and drum set repertoire. His expertise, versatility, and innovation enhance a multitude of music genres that contribute to his performing, recording, and teaching career. Christopher, originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, received a B.M. in classical percussion from the University of North Carolina and an MFA in Drum Set/World Percussion from The California Institute of the Arts. Christopher’s extensive study of percussion instruments include pandeiro, congas, frame drums, riq, tabla, kanjira, djembe, timbales, drum set, and mallet percussion. His experience and adaptability allow him to be creative and supportive in various music situations, whether it’s playing percussion in a Salsa band or Brazilian Choro group, marimba for a Steve Reich ensemble, or drum set for various theater, pop, soul, jazz, and rock groups. Christopher continues to study and integrate global music traditions to drum set and percussion while developing his unique sound.
Christopher has toured extensively, performing at prestigious concert halls and festivals worldwide, including Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Royal Opera House in Muscat Oman, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Vancouver Music Festival, the Riot Fest, and The Beacon Theater, to name a few. Christopher has toured with the Grammy nominated band DeVotchka, the ska-punk band Streetlight Manifesto, performed with jazz luminaries Charlie Haden, Bob Sheppard, Joe LaBarbara, Larry Koonse, Derek Oles, and Slide Hampton, as well as Palestinian Pop star and 2013 Arab Idol winner, Mohammad Assaf. Christopher was selected by rock legend Mike Garson (David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins) to perform his Symphonic Jazz world premier entitled “Symphonic Suite for Healing.” Christopher has also performed with the Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra at the Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles debuting a seven-song suite entitled “Burnt Hibiscus.”
Christopher is a member of the internationally recognized orchestra, MESTO, specializing in Middle Eastern Classical music, and the Indian/Jazz fusion group Mahadev. He is an active free-lance musician performing and recording drums and percussion for independent films, commercials, jazz ensembles, various bands, and singer-songwriters.