Darren Ashford

I started playing drums at the age of 11 under the guidance of Oxford based drum teacher, Trevor Benham.

Bob Armstrong and Darren Ashford (1998)
Bob Armstrong & Darren

From the ages of  15-21, I hooked up with legendary teacher Bob Armstrong who was instrumental in giving me the skills to join the highly acclaimed National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) where I held the drum chair for 6 years.

Darren's very first gig with The Drifters, 10th March, 1995 at Aylesbury Civic Centre.
Darren’s very first Drifters gig. 10th March 1995

This led to gigs with the Andy Ross Orchestra of “Come Dancing” fame and then aged 23 I began an 11-year stint touring the world with The Drifters  – for the last seven years as musical director.

I was also the house drummer at the famous Monday night jam sessions held at the 10 Rooms in Central London where I backed many leading artists in contemporary music such as The Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Will Young, Phats and Small, Sean Paul, Will Smith, Joss Stone, Lucie Silvas, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Shola Ama, Black Eyed Peas, Amy Winehouse, Gwen Guthrie, Romina Johnson, Beverley Knight, Angie Stone, Roachford, Kelle LeRoc, Alex Holland, Omar, Roy Ayers and many more.

Over the course of my career, I have also performed with D:REAM, The Dub Pistols, Laura and the Tears, Me’sha Bryan, Katrina Leskanich (ex-Katrina and the Waves), The Fizz (Formerly Bucks Fizz), with guitar greats Larry Carlton, Richard Smith and Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh and in west-end musicals: Mamma Mia and Joseph.

With concerts for the Black Police Association (BPA) at the Royal Festival Hall, I performed with Maxi Priest, Carleen Anderson, Yolanda Brown, Cameron Pierre, Guvna B, Hersha Bailey and The London Community Gospel Choir.

To this day, I’m still very active gigging, recording and delivering masterclasses at music schools and colleges throughout Europe where I share my knowledge, experience and passion for music and playing the drums.

Magazines_01_500I have over the years, written for two of the UK’s most popular drum magazines: Rhythm and Drummer, covering topics such as drum set ergonomics, odd time playing, advanced techniques and more.

I’m also an active member of The Drum Institute Faculty based at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in Kilburn, London and at BIMM in Birmingham. I currently hold a PG cert qualification in higher education and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).