Jimmie Stavris Sr. was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. The son of Greek immigrants, Jim soon found he was not "cut out for" the family restaurant business, and found his true calling in life... Drumming!
His first instructor, the legendary J. Burns Moore taught the art of rudimental drumming with a heavy hand. Jim often told the story of how Mr. Moore would disapprove of a lesson that was not done correctly with a stern smack on the knuckles with his 3S sticks. Throughout his teens, Jimmie continued to work on his craft, and the culmination was a "gig" on the road with the Johnny Long Orchestra. Jim was also a veteran of The United States Navy and served during The Korean War. After the war, he decided to continue his study of Music at the Hartt School of Music where he studied under the world renown percussionist, Alexander Lepak. From that point on, Jimmie Stavris Sr. and Alexander Lepak were very close, and it was apparent that Jim held Mr. Lepak in the highest regard. It was the instruction theories taught by Mr. Lepak that led Jimmie to his true calling.... teaching the art of drumming.
Jimmie Stavris Sr. began teaching drums in 1958, and could only be stopped by a failing heart that caused his death in December of 1996. In almost Forty years of teaching, it is estimated that Mr. Stavris touched the lives of over twenty-five hundred students. During this time, he was also the owner/operator of the "Jimmie Stavris Drum School and Shop", which consisted of a small studio, and a little shop where he sold drums and supplies. Countless numbers of local drummers came to know the small shop as a place to get a fair price on top quality equipment, as well as find that small but important part that nobody else would carry. This was really the essence of the Drum Shop, it was more of a service for the drumming community then a serious attempt to make a profit, and the result was a small but loyal "family" of drummers.
Jim's extended family was very important to him, and was a driving force throughout his adult life. Only his Wife, two sons, and immediate family meant more. His gift of drumming was very strong with both sons. Jimmie Stavris Jr., became a spokesman for the town of East Haven, Connecticut during his High School Career, as he represented the town, and eventually the state in several accomplishments surrounding his drumming. Jim Jr., made All State two consecutive years, as well as being selected to both The McDonald's All American High School Band and The United States Collegiate Wind Band. A "chip off the old block", Jim Jr. clearly showed the talent and work ethic to carry the family name as a World Class drummer. The second son took a different path, but studied under Jimmie Sr. as well. At the age of thirteen, Lou Stavris began playing professionally with a duo that he co-founded and booked. Lou worked at both the music and business side of playing drums and soon developed a reputation that was worthy of the family tradition. Perhaps the most celebrated student and family member is Nick Forte`. As Jimmie's brother-in-law, Nick began taking lessons during his teens, and has gone on to play and teach professionally with a variety of Jazz legends. Nick has also authored several drum method books and has had several articles published in both Modern Drummer and Down Beat Magazines.
The legacy of Jimmie Stavris Sr. is that of his family, students, and all those that can say that the music is better because he shared with them his gift as a drummer and teacher. As his son, I have seen and shared in this gift first hand, and this is why I have dedicated this page to him.... I love you dad!!!