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. Jeff spent his early years in the ancient lands of Vietnam and Thailand. Some of his early memories of these eastern countries included watching geckos slither across his front lawn, climbing vast amounts of trees in Thailand as well as watching Buddist monks in their bright orange togas walk the streets with their bowls of rice in hand. Jeff once said that he would "often visit the temples just to hear the ringing of the bells".
One of Jeff's first musical memories was seeing Lional Hampton on the "Tonight Show". Lional was playing the vibes and Jeff remember's wanting to play like him. That would turn out to be one of many eye opening musical expierences for Jeff.
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. Jeff remembers memicking an older student who he feels some gratitude for getting him involved with the drum kit. Jeff listened to an eclectic mix of music in Germany as well as a good fill of American music that was not hard to find in a foreign land. One of his earliest favorites was Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). Jeff remembered the speed at which Carl Palmer played on his massive kit.
In 1973, Jeff's family moved back to the states for good. Jeff started listening to early fusion like the Mahavishnu Orchestra which led him to discover the greats like Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette. Jeff was once quoted as saying that "Bitches Brew was the beginning of the rest of his life".
By this point, Jeff had already decided that music was his life and with his family's support he would embark on a journey that he still continues on today. Jeff began high school at Chantilly High in Fairfax, Virginia in the year 1973. That year Jeff got serious about drumming and began to dream about attending the presitigous Berklee College of Music. 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. Most of the people Jeff had been listening to went to Berklee and he wanted badly to play like these musicians. 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 valueable tools that he still carries with him today.
After his stay in Boston, Jeff moved to Atlanta in 1983. This would turn out to be the permanant home of Jeff and his present family. 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 thats the rest of the story. It seemed to 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 Resque Unit was born.
The early antics of the band were declared silly by some, but slowly and methodically the musical nature of these organic musicians took over and the band began to focus solely on the music. The extension of the music was over powering and what formed was a band like no other. The music was loved by all and gained much praise across the country. This formation of monster musicians would go down as one of the greatest line-ups in jam band history. The band spent years on the road with constent touring and also managed to produce four remarkable albums until their disbandment in 1994. Jeff enveloped family like relations with these musicians and is still involved with many of them on their solo projects. All this while Jeff had spent time playing with as many musicians as possible, polishing and absorbing all musical styles as to his credit of being a "drummer's drummer".
In 1996, Jeff met up with Swedish-born bass extrodinare 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. This trio of high caliber gun slinkers turned out some of the most impressive improvisonal music to date. This music only proved true Jeff's feel on the drums, his exponential knowledge of music and his thurst for musical exploration. Hellborg is quoted as saying that Jeff is the "most natural drummer that he has ever played with". The fresh compositions and ideas that formed from their union proves the worth of the music and the great stature that Jeff has achieved as a drummer. The year in which these musicians spent together turned out four recordings of live improvisional music. This formation has gained underground-cult status amongest jazz fusion lovers across the world.
Over the past five years, Jeff has spent time on many projects. One of those was a vast touring period with the bluegrass super jam band Leftover Salmon. Jeff brought a world feel and professionalism that all the members could learn from. During this period he also had the opportunity to work with musicians like Bryon Lopes, Neil Fountain, Chief Jim Billy, Jonathan Townes and John Medeski. Jeff even took on on his own creation known as the Zambiland Orchastra. 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, thats 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 juicey fusionisk tunes that gathered praise from all relms. This band formed out of Jeff's Atlanta based jam sessions known as the Apartment Projects. The results have created heartfelt, free formed music that Jeff and his fellow musicians can be proud of.
Lately, Jeff tries to find as much time as possible to spend with his wife of many years, Rainbow, and their two children. Musically he is again mixing it up with Hellborg and Lane creating from beyond this planet. He is also sitting in on sessions with Gary Gazaway, better known as El Buho. Jeff continues to play and explore with all that is out there, learning and sharing with whomever will teach and whoever will listen. His dedication and incredible feel for music and the drum kit will make him one of the most requested drummers of all time, we are sure of it.