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Herlin Riley

Herlin Riley

In New Orleans, music is a family affair, a cherished tradition passed from generation to generation. Drummer Herlin Riley comes from one such musical family. “I learned to play when I was 3 or 4 years old,” he says. “I was primarily raised by my grandfather who was also a drummer.”

Riley’s grandfather, Frank Lastie, was a respected New Orleans musician who as a child spent time in a home for juvenile delinquents, where he played in a band with Louis Armstrong in 1913. Frank Lastie’s sons were also musicians, including Walter, a drummer who introduced his nephew, Herlin, to bebop.

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