Four years later,
after a short stay in New York, Copeland used his GI Bill to attend
Berklee College in Boston. He toured with Stevie Wonder for 7 months,
and as part of the Maggi Scott Trio, backed up such celebrities as Billy
Eckstine, Cab Calloway, Helen O'Connell, Tony Martin and Eartha Kitt.
In 1975 Copeland
was offered a teaching position at Berklee, continuing the parallel
career as a music educator that now finds him in demand as a clinician
in Canada, Ireland and Northern Ireland, the U.S., Asia and Europe.
After teaching at Berklee for three years, Copeland returned to New
York, where he worked with Sam Jones and joined Johnny Griffin on his
triumphant return to the United States after several years in Europe.
Later that year, he joined the Heath Brothers and stayed with them for
18 months before getting the call to work with pianist Billy Taylor's
trio, an association that lasted five years. "I went on my own in 1984
and I've been on my own ever since", says Copeland. "In '86 I started
working off and on with Hank Jones. I've made six records with him and
he's one of the greatest musicians I have ever played with."
of performing and recording credits is extensive and includes engagements
with such luminaries as George Russell, Frank Foster, Slide Hampton,
Milt Jackson, Jo Anne Brackeen, John Dankworth, Rory Stuart, Stanley
Cowell, Paul Bley, Howard Alden, Chris Connor, Stan Getz, Ray Anderson,
Harry "Sweets" Edison, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Roger Kellaway, Stephane
Grappelli, Teddy Edwards, Sir Roland Hanna, Sonny Fortune and countless
From the mid '80s
to 1992, Copeland taught at Rutgers University, Queens College, Long
Island University and the New School University in New York.
In 1992, he became
a Professor of jazz percussion at the Hochschule Für Musik Köln in Germany.
In 1993 he also accepted a teaching position at the Hochschule Für Musik
Mannheim-Heidelberg. In 1996 he became a Professor of jazz percussion
at the Hochschule für Musik Mannheim-Heidelberg in Mannheim, Germany,
where he remained for 2 ½ more years and was the only drum set professor
holding two professorships in Germany during this time.
Other teaching credits
include Summer sessions at the Eastman School of Music Jazz Workshop
(1979-'93), the Vermont Jazz Center Putney, Vermont (1990 -’92), Montclair
State College, Montclair, N.J. (1991-’93), the Banff Centre for the
Arts Jazz Workshop in Banff, Alberta, Canada (1991-'94) and the University
of Ulster at Jordantown in Northern Ireland (1992-’98).
His first book,
Creative Coordination for the Performing Drummer is published by Carl
In 1992 and 1994
he was a guest instructor at the Interlaken Jazz Workshop in Interlaken
Switzerland. In 1997 he was also a guest instructor at The Berklee in
Germany Workshop held in Heek, Germany.
and Ute's wedding in Las Vegas, June 2, 1994)
In 1998 he was invited
to participate as a clinician at the 25th aniversary of the Banff Center
Of The Arts, Jazz workshop.
As a sideman, Copeland
has over 100 recordings to his credit, including such rare treasures
as Johnny Griffin's Return of the Griffin (Galaxy) and the following
3 Grammy-Nominated CD’s - Once in Every Life with Johnny Hartman (Bee
Hive), The African Game with George Russell (Blue Note) and All My Life
with Charles Brown.
His first recording
as a leader, “On Target” (Jazzmania), features former Rutgers colleagues
Kenny Barron (piano) and Mark Kirk (saxophones) with Mike Richmond (bass),
was released in the spring of 1993 to enthusiastic reviews.
He has since recorded
three more CD’s as leader on the Steeplechase label and one more on
the Jazz Focus label with worldwide distribution.
CD’s are entitled “The Irish Connection”, “Round Trip”, and „Live in
Limerick“ and they feature Tommy Halferty on guitar and Ronan Guilfoyle
on electric bass guitar.
The Jazz Focus CD
is entitled “Postcard From Vancouver” and features Miles Black on piano
and Rick Kilburn on bass.
In the last twelve
years since relocating to Germany, Copeland has performed many tours
in Europe and the U.S. with Karl Heinz Steffens, David Gazarov, Tony
Lakatos, Jimmy Woode, Ann Malcolm, Jürgen Seefelder, Sonny Fortune,
Ernie Watts, Jesper Lundgaard’s Copenhagen Repertory Quartet, Bill Molenhof,
Sigurd Ulveseth, Ulf Radelius, Dusko Goykovich, Piero Odorici, Antonio
Ciacca, Niels Jürgen Steen’s A-Team, Marko Tamborini, Dado Maroni, Ray
Mantilla, Joan Faulkner, Jeannie Bryson, Shawnn Monteiro, Joshua Breakstone,
Rory Stuart, Armen Donelian, Benny Golson, Houston Person, Jimmy Heath,
Roger Menillo, John Tchicai, Cross-Talk featuring Michael Arlt and Jean
Yves Jung, Maggy Scott Duo and with Percussion Ensemble, Markus Fleischer,
Natascha Roth, Claudia Carbo, Deborah Brown, Joaquin Chacon, Massive
Groove, Larry Vuckovic, Stiepko Gut, Eric Alexander, One For All, Jim
Rotundi, David Hazeltine, Charles Brown, Fritz Krisse, Leonid Ptashka,
Phillip Catherine, Frank Haunschild, Charlie Wood, Nicole Metzger, Wesley
G. and the Keith Copeland Trio, featuring Tommy Halferty and Ronan Guilfoyle.
In November 2003
a new DVD was released on Inakustic Records entitled "The Go Jazz
Allstars in Concert" featuring Ben Sidran, Georgie Fame, Bob Rockwell,
Charlie Wood and Keith Copeland. This DVD was recorded live in Baden-Baden
for the TV-Show "Ohne Filter" in July 1998.
In January 2004
a new CD and DVD was released on Rounder Records entitled "A Life
in the Blues" featuring the late legendary singer and piano virtuoso
Charles Brown, which was recorded live in 1990 at the Lonestar Roadhouse
in New York and features Danny Caron, Earl May and Keith Copeland.
In November 2004
Keith Copeland introduced a new trio which featured Lars Dueppler, a
graduate of the Hochschule für Musik in Köln and Fedor Ruskuc,
a current student of the Hochschule für Musik in Köln. This
trio made its very successful debut at the Novi Sad Jazz Festival in
Novi Sad, Serbia.
continues to teach at the Hochschule Für Musik Köln, record and make
appearances in Europe, the U.S., and Canada from his home base in Frankfurt,