This week DeBraun profiles multi-instrumentalist Tripp Bratton.
Tripp is a native of Lexington and has been a staple in the music scene. His mother is the legendary Jazz singer Gail Wynters. Music was always in his house growing up and he got to learn from many different musicians that played with his mother. Bratton says the trend continued when he attended the University of Kentucky to study music.
“Got to play with Duke Madison when he was here, when he was still with us, he was someone who had played with my mom; it was really a great treat to be able to do some work with him, he actually taught me a lot about my swing feel playing drums, he’d give me this kind of grunt if I wasn’t swingin right, he’d have these little gestures, so when I knew he was giving me a smiley face, I was starting to swing, I was starting to dig into it just right, when he’d do his little grunt, I knew I was playing a little too ahead of the beat [laughs]”
All of his different musical experiences keep him in high demand as a drummer with many different groups in town. One of the most iconic local bands he played with was Catawampus Universe. While the band played their gig in 2002 with a reunion in 2014, the experiences he had with Catawampus is something Bratton says cemented his relationship with the local music scene.
“I’ve been in a lot of bands and Catawampus just had this special thing that I could never quite put my finger on, it had something to do with connecting with the audience and people really responded, there were people that just felt like family that would come and be part of it, even today you know, on facebook, people come on to the Catawampus page and they’re like ‘oh my memories, you all really helped me get through tough times,’ something like that, not every band gets to be part of something like that.”
That connection is now being passed on to others. Since 2002, Bratton has taught percussion at Berea College with two a fusion and an African drumming ensemble. His experiences playing out are something he says, gives him a different approach to share when it comes to teaching.
“One thing I like about teaching is that, it forces you to kind of assess how you are processing how you’ve learned, if I’m teaching somebody I’m like ‘well how do I actually do this’ cause you play for long enough and you develop these kind of organic kind of developments in your technique, in your style, the way you interpret music, but when you teach, you kind of have to make that more explicit, I’m taking things from what I learned from being a player and experiences I’ve had working with musicians, and I try my best to encapsulate that and condense it into something I can pass to a younger person.”
Tripp Bratton performs with Gail Wynters, the March Madness Marching Band, C The Beat, and the Patrick McNeese Band in addition to his African and Fusion ensembles at Berea College.
More information about Bratton and his projects can be found at trippbratton dot com.