Remembering Kim Plainfield
By David Barsalou
“You’ve got to learn the rules in order to break the rules. That’s a very strong truth”.
- Kim Plainfield
Kim Plainfield, Live at the Berklee Performance Center, July 2013 Featuring: Alain Mallet-piano, Lincoln Goines-bass, Samuel Bautista-Sax
Kim Plainfield, master drummer, educator, and author passed away suddenly this past week. Almost immediately, the very sad news sent shock waves throughout the drum world. Kim’s death had social media on fire. Numerous condolences and accolades kept pouring in with no end in sight. Kim’s students, close friends, and colleagues at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, and The Drummers Collective in NYC, are still attempting to process such a terrible loss to the musical community.
Kim’s abilities as a drummer were far-reaching and influential. With total command of the instrument, his every performance was a truly memorable experience. Kim was also a full professor at Berklee, and faculty chairman at The Drummers Collective. He also wrote two incredible method books: Advanced Concepts, and also: Fusion: A Study in Contemporary Music.
Originally from San Francisco, Kim later relocated to New York City. At age 19 he began playing with Mingo Lewis and, soon afterwards with The Pointer Sisters. At 22, he hooked up with The Drummers Collective. Then he later joined up with guitarist Bill Connors, and jazz violinist, Didier Lockwood. Kim’s extensive resume also includes seven years with Tania Maria. He has also performed or recorded with Mose Allison, John Pattitucci, Kenny Rankin, and Edgar Winter just to name a few. ~ Rest In Peace, Kim
Condolences from friend, peers and students:
"For the staff and writers of Not So Modern Drummer Magazine, I offer our condolences to Kim’s family. He was held in such high regard by the world wide drumming community as a renowned player and as an influential teacher. Kim accomplished something all of us drummers aspire to - he left his mark on music, on drumming and on music education. Job well done, Kim.
- George Lawrence"
“I am at a loss for words finding out this morning about the sudden passing of Kim Plainfield. He touched many people all over the world for the past 40 years as a teacher and a friend. My sincere condolences go out to Maureen and his boys. Glad we had a chance to catch up a few months ago...RIP Kim. No Words...”
- Rob Wallis
“I woke this morning to devastating news. My dear friend and colleague for over 25 years, the amazing Kim Plainfield passed away last night after traveling back from China. I can’t believe it...he was truly one-of- a-kind in so many ways. He was such a supporter of my work and just such an amazing person. I’m so thankful for having him in my life and just so sad about this. Rest well my dear friend, Kim…Life is indeed fragile”.
- Rich Mangicaro
“I’m so sorry to hear about yet another loss in the drumming and music community.... My prayers are with him at this time of sensitive reflection....Brotherly love to you.... J.M.”.
- Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett
“So devastated to hear about Kim...What a loss. My Condolences”.
- Mark Egan
“So sorry to hear. Condolences to the family”.
– Ralph Humphrey
“I am so sorry. Kim was a treasure as a person and musician. My prayers are with his family”.
- Dom Famularo
“RIP KIM PLAINFIELD… GREAT DRUMMER!”
“Today we have lost one of our own. Kim Plainfield brought integrity, commitment, love, kindness and passion to everything he did. We will miss his example, dry wit, honesty, excellence and friendship. Kim’s teaching commitment most of us aspire to but rarely achieve. His groove...second to none. RIP my brother!”
- Casey Scheuerell
“Very, very sad news”.
- Ed Soph
“Oh my God. This is so sad. He was my teacher at Berklee for two semesters. I’m heartbroken”.
“He was the toughest teacher I ever had. Made me practice my behind off because I was scared to face him not 110% prepared :-) I am still thankful for that....he really cared about his students to be the best they possibly could be. I can’t believe he is gone...Thank you Kim Plainfield...R.I.P.”
- Carola Grey