The Apartment Q-258 was born in Berlin, Germany by the name Jeff Sipe, in 1959. Jeff’s family moved frequently in his youth while his father worked for the United States government. After a short stint in the D.C. area, Jeff’s family moved back to Germany. This is where Jeff learned to play drums while in junior high. In 1975, Jeff’s first stepping stone was attending the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.
After two years of hard work Jeff’s dream finally came true when he was accepted to Berklee in 1977. While at Berklee, Jeff studied under Bob Kaufman and Bill Norine, he attended clinics given by Alan Dawson and was taken under by his mentor Lee Venters. Jeff was lucky enough to attend Berklee with an impressive cast of musicians like Branford Marsalis, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern and Jeff Watts, just to name a few. Jeff actually played in a wedding band with Victor Bailey and started his first fusion band with Steve Vai and Baron Brown. This experience turned Jeff on to a wide open world of music and gave him valuable tools that he still carries with him today.
After his stay in Boston, Jeff moved to Atlanta in 1983. There he began teaching at the Atlanta Institute for Music and at a popular hang out for Atlanta drummers, Atlanta Drums and Percussion. Jeff spent time sitting in with local musicians and was introduced to Bruce Hampton through Dan Wall, a keyboardist that he had been playing with…..and that’s the rest of the story. It seemed too fitting that their first meeting took place at a wedding because not only was there a marriage there was a wedding of vast musical intention. Jeff then asked Oteil Burbridge and Jimmy Herring to sit in on this free willed musical band wagon and the Aquarium Rescue Unit was born.
In 1996, Jeff met up with Swedish-born bass extraordinaire Jonas Hellborg and the Memphis guitar monster Shawn Lane. The result was an assimilation of conversational style fusion music which would turn out to be some of Jeff’s greatest musical moments. Over the years, Jeff has spent time on many projects. He has worked with Bryon Lopes, Neil Fountain, Chief Jim Billy, Jonathan Townes and John Medeski. Jeff even took on his own creation known as the Zambiland Orchestra. This experimental big band featured members of Phish, Widespread Panic, Michael Ray and the Cosmic Crew, the Derek Trucks Band, the Fiji Mariners and many others.
Even more recently Jeff teamed up with long time friend and guitar maniac Jimmy Herring on a project known as Z, that’s Project Z to most. Together with fellow Atlantian producer/musician Ricky Keller and mega organ/keyboardist Oliver Wells, Project Z recorded a self titled debut album filled with juicy fusionisk tunes that gathered praise from all realms. Since then a second Project Z has been released as well as Jeff’s solo release “Timeless” featuring Paul Hanson, Derek Jones, Jason Crosby, Kofi Burbridge, Count ‘M Butu and Derek Trucks. Jeff and his family now live in the North Carolina Mountains. www.jeffsipe.org