Brian Shankar Adler is a multidisciplinary drummer, percussionist and composer. His work transcends the terrain between genre and geographic region, asking: how can we find connection through rhythm? Adler has been described as being "a polyrhythmic force... New York City gritty yet still somehow capable of evoking the delicacy of a summer breeze..." by Brad Cohan, JazzTimes.
Brian Shankar Adler grew up in an ashram, in the mountains of upstate New York and began his rhythmic studies on the Indian mridang at the age of five. He received a jazz percussion scholarship to attend New England Conservatory where he was encouraged to discover his own artistic voice, through jazz, Indian, South American, Jewish and western classical music traditions. In Boston, Adler collaborated with Korean vocalist Sunny Kim, releasing three albums and touring the northeast and Europe.
In 2005, with a globally influenced sonic palette and forward-thinking rhythmic concepts in tow, Adler moved to New York City. He spent sixteen years there, performing from street corners and dive bars, to Carnegie Hall, Jazz Standard, Lincoln Center, Roulette, Rubin Museum and The Stone. In 2013, Adler was a guest soloist with Bomba de Tiempo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He performed and recorded for Chelsea Clinton's film, "Of Many," Kamala Sankaram's operas, "Thumbprint" (LA Opera) and "A Rose" (Houston Grand Opera), and Elizabeth Swados' final two theatrical productions, "The Nomad" and "The Golem." In 2019, Adler traveled to Kuwait to perform with oudist, Ahmed Alshaiba. Adler has also worked with: Sheila Jordan, Guillermo Klein, The Michael Leonhart Orchestra, Frank London, Kate McGarry, Meg Okura, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Emilio Teubal and Ray Vega. He is a member of the eclectic rock band, Bombay Rickey and trash orchestra, Bash the Trash.
Brian Shankar Adler has been recorded on over thirty-five albums including his most recent works, "For a Gallery on the Moon" (Chant Records, 2020) and "Fourth Dimension" (Chant Records, 2019). His music video, "Mantra" won best music video at Transcinema International Film Festival in Peru and official selection at Quiet City Film Festival in New York City. Adler's work has been featured in Jason Bivin's book "Spirits Rejoice," Newsweek, JazzTimes, NPR, Downbeat and Modern Drummer Magazine. He has composed and/or performed music for Appleton Rum, Dairy Queen, ESPN, and Nike.
Through a three-year residency at Barbès (2018-2020), plus performances at Roulette and the Queens World Fair, Adler developed Human Time Machine: an improvising percussion ensemble that uses 100+ hand signals to generate and develop rhythmic ideas in real time. The experience has been described as "an earth-shaking party of democratically shifting patterns."
Brian Shankar Adler currently resides in Portland, ME. He is on faculty at: Bates College, University of Maine (Augusta), and Vermont Jazz Center.