Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hamilton Percussionist / Drum Instructor Tom Bigas: Performing With Johannes Linstead and More

On stage with the Johannes Linstead quintet in Quebec
Photo: Hugo Lacroix
Tom Bigas has been recording and performing around the Hamilton music scene for over a decade, with his latest studio work being Johannes Linstead's Midnight Rhumba (2014), Laura Cole's Dirty Cheat (2014), and Karen Thornton's upcoming Rain Down On Me (2014). Bigas' flexible stage setup is an expression of his need and ability to perform multi-timbrally and with a great amount of diversity of style covering all of the latin, afro-cuban and pop styles. Watching Bigas in performance recently at Hamilton's under-touted, soft-seat Lincoln Alexander Centre, I was impressed by how comfortably he backed up the wide range of Linstead's repertoire, whether it's a subtle and romantic bossa nova, a fiery tango, or a rollicking mambo.

Jordan Abraham, Ron Miller, Tom Bigas,
Johannes Linstead, Geoff Hlibka 
Tom Bigas began his drumming life as a teenager, when he joined the very active and exciting drum and bugle corps movement in Hamilton. There are two carry-over experiences that have stayed with Bigas through the years since drum corps as he continues to work in music: First, he understands the importance of putting on a show and entertaining the audience. Just as "the show" is the ultimate meaning behind a drums corps, so it is with every live music show he plays today. Bigas is comfortable on stage and is fully engaged in his work and animated in his playing; he becomes part of the performance, not simply a sideman covering a part. Second, he is committed to coaching and training. Bigas has recently worked as an instructor with drum corps in Simcoe Ontario, the McMaster Marching Band, and as a volunteer with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board's instrumental music program.

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