August 2008 Convention
Kansas City, MO

Greg Pattillo: The Beatboxing Flute Player

Ali Ryerson and Greg Patillo

Not only did I dig Greg Pattillo’s KC Sunday night Gala performance and his SRO Beatboxing clinic, but I got to play with him several times last week! Thanks to our spontaneous jams in the exhibition hall, I decided to invite Greg to sit in during my jazz set Friday afternoon in the Hyatt Lobby. He’s a distinctive performer, to say the least! Although he doesn’t claim to be a seasoned jazz player (he’s really a very sweet, unassuming guy), I was especially impressed with his solid sense of time, the first thing a jazz musician looks for. That made sense to me. Beatboxing is all about rhythm. It was later, though, when I caught Greg’s set with Project on Friday, the Sunday beatboxing clinic, and theevening Gala performance, that I completely got what he’s all about. The clinic offered an insight into the beatboxing technique he has developed over time, which originally began as a hip hop vocal technique. Greg has adapted this genre quite successfully to the flute. He has also developed a wonderful method of teaching his distinctive percussive language. Later that afternoon, at the final Gala concert, Project played a great set. Greg, along with his longtime musical partners bassist Peter Seymour and cellist Eric Stephenson, has taken very unexpected repertoire (Charles Mingus’ “Fables of Faubus”; Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite; simple Suzuki pieces) and transformed them into astonishingly hip, rhythmic arrangements. The audience showed its delight with both applause and laughter. Pattillo has found fame through YouTube. I can also attest to the fact that he has found a firm fan base within the NFA.

—Ali Ryerson