Joe Nero

Drummer. Percussionist. Teacher. Composer.




        Born in Philadelphia, and surrounded by a musical family, Joe played percussion from birth and developed very wide musical interests. He jumped at every musical experience he could find such as the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra for which his father had been a member 30 years prior, as well as the All State, All Eastern, and Mid-Atlantic Grammy Bands on the drumset. Constantly coached and guided by his father, Joe also studied classical percussion with Michael Bookspan and Tony Orlando of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and attended the Julliard Percussion Seminar in NYC. He studied jazz drums with Dan Monaghan, Jim Paxson, Marc Dicciani, and Bob Brosh, all in the Philadelphia area.


        By the end of high school, Joe was a fixture in the bebop scene in Philadelphia, performing often with people like Jimmy Bruno, Eric Alexander, Gerald Veasley, John Swana, and Tony Micelli. His dedication to the drums was recognized with a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Program, and realized his dream of pursuing a career as a professional working musician in in the city. He studied with John Riley and Justin DiCioccio. Other teachers included Ari Hoenig, Kenny Washington, Billy Drummond, Danny Weiss and Matt Wilson. He also studied composing and arranging with Garry Dial and Chris Rosenberg and was the recipient of the 2006 John C. Borden Award for Jazz at Graduation in 2006. 

        Joe attended the prestigious Henry Mancini Institute in 2005 where he studied with Peter Erskine, Steve Houghton, Gregg Field and Harold Jones. While there, he performed with Quincy Jones, Christian McBride, Bobby McFerrin, Patti Austin, Dave Koz, Maria Schneider, Dave Grusin, Doc Severinson, Michael Giacchino, Ray Baretto, Patricks Williams, and recorded at Warner Bros. Studios. It was an amazing experience.

        Not long after graduation, Joe was asked to sub on his first Broadway show, "Grease - You're the One that I Want," and since then has played on 25 hits as diverse as "South Pacific" to "Spiderman." Sometimes learning a show in a few days and often subbing on up to 10 different shows simultaneously, it’s not uncommon for Joe to play at 5 different theaters in the same weekend. He held the percussion chair for Broadway’s recent "Annie" revival and most recently developed the drum parts for "Invisible Thread" off-Broadway at Second Stage. He played the "First Wives Club" at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego with Rupert Holmes and Holland-Dozier-Holland and Billy Porter’s "Being Alive" in Philadelphia.


        Joe performed with Billy Porter on PBS’s televised, “Broadway and Soul Concert,” as well as tour dates around the US. He has performed with the "Broadway Dolls," "Broadway Boys," and "Midtown Men, and concert venues with Eden Espinosa, Patina Miller, Rob McClure, Telly Leung and Nikki Renee Daniels. He is a staple at Feinstein's 54 Below where he has performed with Chuck Cooper, Lindsay Mendez, Barrett Foa, Nathan Lee Graham, Rema Webb, Kenita Miller, Joshua Henry and others. He has also worked on numerous Broadway workshops. 

        Joe has played on at least 10 different NYMTF shows, including "Behind the Limelight," which became the Broadway hit "Chaplin," and in 2011 toured Korea with the NYMTF show, "Central Avenue Breakdown."

Joe is also active in the jazz scene in NYC. He is a member of "Bryan and the Aardvarks," with Fabian Almazan, Bryan Copeland, Chris Dingman, and Jesse Lewis. He has also played jazz festivals with Alicia Olatuja, and frequently performs with the Louis Armstrong style band, "Grandpa Musselman and the Syncopators," at their weekly gig in the East Village. He recently began playing regularly with the high energy soul project, "Amy Lynn & the Honey Men," and frequently performs on the Jewish Music scene, with Neshama Carlebach, as well as the Josh Nelson Project. He is drummer for the 92Y High Holiday Services which claim to be the most viewed on the planet.

        Through the very many musical situations Joe finds himself in from day to day, he has come to realize the importance of finding, refining upholding his own voice and sound on the instruments. He brings a deep understanding of many styles and genres of music to every situation, and understands that is it the role of the drummer to provide the groove, or framework for the music and to energize it. It is this creative endeavor that he seeks every day, and in each performance.