Calvert resident Dominic Fragman, left, has parlayed his music talent and also markets the Wicked Chop practice pad for drummers.

St. Leonard, MD – Jazz has a rich history—not just as a music genre but as a truly American art form. A Calvert County resident—Dominic Fragman of St. Leonard—is playing a role in keeping the music and heritage alive.

In addition to playing the music—Fragman is a drummer—with various groups at various venues throughout the country, he is the cofounder of an education program entitled The Spirit of Jazz and Democracy (SJD). He explained that SJD “is a program of lectures, concerts workshops and masterclasses that highlight the congruency of jazz and democracy, and focus on the role of improvisation and innovation in the expansion of freedom and the betterment of the human condition.” Last fall Fragman and his collaborators were in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. A special SJD program is planned for early January at the Patuxent River Air Museum in Lexington Park.

One of Fragman’s collaborators is master drummer Paul F. Murphy, a New England native who currently resides in North Beach. “He has been my mentor for 10 years,” said Fragman. Murphy was influenced at the very early age of 3 by arguably the 20th century’s most famous drummer—Gene Krupa.

Finding himself in the center of real-time jazz history has been quite a journey for Fragman, who is 33 and a graduate of Patuxent High School. While drums are his main instrument, Fragman also plays the guitar and piano, and sings. Back in June Fragman became a “Zildijan Artist.” Zildijan is Turkish-based company that has been making cymbals for almost five centuries. “Being a Zildijan artist means that I endorse the company and their products, which they so kindly provided me for free, and they endorse me and what I do as well,” said Fragman. 

Additionally, Fragman has been helping Murphy market his invention, the Wicked Chops practice pad, which he calls “a revolutionary drum practice pad. The pocket-size pad is now being sold in over 170 countries and has taken Fragman to the world’s largest music trade show to demonstrate the product. He’s even been on television demonstrating Wicked Chops for other drummers. “I host a show called Wicked Chops Live on Drum Talk TV twice per week,” said Fragman. “The show gets about 10,000 views per episode.”

While Fragman’s forays into the jazz world have been impressive, there remains the question—how will he play in the cradle of jazz, New Orleans. Fragman is working on that now. “We have partnered with the Isaiah Institute and Ashe Cultural Center in New Orleans to pursue foundation funding for a multi-year residency in New Orleans with a community focus in Central City,” Fragman stated.

While jazz is the focus of his career and has him traveling on a high road to success, Fragman told TheBayNet.com that he has embraced other music genres. His father is a musician and Fragman grew up in a house where contemporary rock ruled. His music versatility has led to work encounters with legends like the late Leon Russell, who Fragman once worked with at a gig in Annapolis. Plus, there’s the Solo Trio Project. Fragman is the only member of the “trio”—playing guitar and drums, and handling the “lead” vocals. His videos of his covers of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” to date, have gotten a combined 6.5 million views on Facebook.

Check out the videos and track Fragman’s career plus learn more about the planned program at the naval air museum Jan. 12, 2019 on his web site  

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com