TDLB Album Cover

It’s a beautiful thing

The Drummer Loves Ballads is the debut album of John Armato. Featuring extraordinary music, musicians and moods, it was produced and engineered by some of the industry’s top talent. The album was designed to be a new soundtrack for lazy Sunday afternoons, romantic evenings, and melancholy midnights, but you’ll swear it’s a long-lost jazz favorite.

Featuring more than 25 musicians, including the legends Houston Person and Warren Vaché, The Drummer Loves Ballads is a story more than 40 years in the making. From intimate quartet settings to sweeping orchestral arrangements, it is as rewarding to listen to closely as it is relaxing to listen to casually.


A unique, full-album listening experience is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Pandora and everywhere else you buy, download or stream your music. Exclusive products and offers are available here.

Top 10 Euro Indie Music Charts

“Let it be known that I think your new CD is fantastic! It’s a thing of beauty!”

— Paul Keller

Diana Krall recording and touring alum, bassist,
band leader, composer, arranger, and recording artist

This is how it all began …

Others say…


Let it be known that I think your new CD is fantastic! It’s a thing of beauty! Really. I think you scored big time with this fun and entertaining recording. It’s so nice to hear your relaxed and mature musical subtleties and swinging percussive sensibilities. They enhance every performance on this CD! You are terrific!

Paul Keller

Bassist, band leader, composer, arranger, (Diana Krall, Russel Malone, Rebecca Kilgore), Ann Arbor, MI

One of the gems on this beautiful album is “Shadows of Paris,” whose evocative arrangement serves as the perfect setting for the jewel that is Lucy Wijnands. Her world-wise delivery belies her youth, as it always does. I will look forward to following her career, certain to be long, and certain to touch many in the heart.

Pete Malinverni

Pianist, associate professor and chair of jazz studies, Purchase College SUNY, Purchase, NY

What a joy to hear your treatment of these beautiful tunes. It’s apparent that you love them. From your very tasty brushwork to the swinging band — including some of my favorite jazz legends — it’s a wonderful CD that I look forward to hearing again and again. (And I love your drum solo on the intro.)

Allen Goodman

Retired NBC staff drummer, touring and recording artist (Johnny Mathis, Peggy Lee, Liza Minnelli), Sacramento, CA

What a sweet, sweet, beautiful album. It’s just what we need to hear today!

Anne Phillips

Singer ("Born to be Blue"), composer, conductor, producer, educator, creator of the Jazz Nativity and Children's Jazz Choir, New York, NY

John Armato’s album, “The Drummer Loves Ballads,” is a breath of fresh air in a world where drummer-led albums have the tendency to be wall-to-wall, flashy displays of technique and mathematical acrobatics. It’s so nice to listen to John lead from the drums in an understated, beautifully swinging fashion.

Jake Reed

Session drummer, Los Angeles, CA

Oh, for the love of brushes! This is a perfect album for a romantic Saturday night and bottle of nice red wine.  Stellar concept for an album, and beautifully executed.

Staci Griesbach

Vocalist and recording artist, Los Angeles, CA

The Drummer Loves Ballads is a musical reminder of what’s really important; it’s like a collection of musical short stories about human relationships, each distinct yet related. I’ll bet you can’t listen to just one.

Doug Talley

Tenor sax, recording artist, music educator, Kansas CIty, Missouri

The world needs to hear this album!

Wayne Hawkins

Pianist, composer, arranger, recording artist, Balston Lake, NY

Who knew John Armato loved ballads? But I love that you did, and it brought out the best in you and I think the rest of us. It was so wonderful to be part of such a creative and unique project! I wish we were going back in the studio tomorrow to see what happens next!

Rod Fleeman

Guitarist, touring and recording artist (Karrin Allyson, Marilyn Maye), Kansas City, MO

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of The Drummer Loves Ballads. John is a top-notch musician who effortlessly steers other musicians and audience members on an unforgettable journey. This CD couldn’t come at a better time!
Todd Petersen

Vocalist and Jazz Enthusiast, Sacramento, CA

From the first listen, this record feels like a reunion with an old friend. It’s like rediscovering a classic album in your record collection, remembering the beauty of the music, and reliving warm memories of times gone by.

Jim Wyatt

English teacher and long-time jazz listener, Warsaw, Poland

It was almost like a musical with different acts, all coming together to tell one cohesive story. I think that’s why I listened to it all in one sitting.

Amanda Frew

Communications professional, recipe developer and food stylist, Sacramento, CA

This album is relaxing and enjoyable. All the instrumentals and vocals are absolutely top-notch. I’ve listened to the album from beginning to end again and again, and my overwhelming response is always the same: It’s simply delightful.

Karl Palachuk

Author, speaker, consultant, podcaster, former radio program co-host, Sacramento, CA

This is an EXCELLENT album! I truly dug everything about it – the concept, the variety, the spoken-word interludes, the playing. It is something really special.

Jonathan Levine

Woodwind artist, veteran of multiple Broadway shows, Geoff Muldaur, They Might be Giants, New York, NY

This is a beautiful collection beautifully rendered but you know what really stood out to me? Your spoken-word interludes. They were a lovely insight into the ballad-loving drummer. And your drumming is so damned tasteful! It’s no wonder you love ballads; you actually feel them!  

Peter Petty

“Da Man wit' da Flop,” Sacramento Area Music Award’s "Best Live Performer", Sacramento, CA

The interludes are pure genius, the most unique element to any album project I have ever heard and so incredibly heartfelt.

Dave Goodman

Executive Producer for some of the world's largest entertainment brands , Mission Viejo, CA

Lucy Wijnand’s voice is so effortless and pure. So innocent yet confident. She, on “The Shadows of Paris,” along with Lynn Zimmer on “Memories of You,” coupled with Armato’s interlude commentary alone make the album worth having.

Dr. Charles T. Menghini

President Emeritus, VanderCook College of Music, Palm Springs, CA

I am so happy to be a part of Armato’s project and hear the talents of so many great musicians like himself. Dreamsville is one of my favorite songs, so I was glad to hear that one of Mancini’s best was part of the project — not to mention how Warren floats over the tune with such ease!

Lucy Wijnands

Vocalist and visual artist, Bronx, NY

It was a thrill to work with the two legendary horn players, Warren Vaché and Houston Person, and the wonderful Anne Phillips. Consummate professionals playing real instruments, what a concept!

Peter Millrose

Recording Engineer, New York, NY

I’ve known John for a long time – and have even worked on some musical projects with him – and believe me, he doesn’t just play. He finds, feels, discovers, interprets AND inhabits each of the great tunes on this album.

Tom "Tommy G" Giovagnoli

Creative Director, Songwriter, Mojo Farmer, Boulder, CO

This is a great collection of songs and a phenomenal snapshot of some of Kansas City’s best players.

Paul Roberts

Composer, Arranger, Trombonist, Former United States Army Staff Arranger, Kansas City, Missouri

“Let it be known that I think your new CD is fantastic! It’s a thing of beauty! Really. It’s so nice to hear your relaxed and mature musical subtleties and swinging percussive sensibilities. They enhance every performance on this CD! You are terrific!”

Paul Keller

Diana Krall recording and touring alum, bassist, band leader, composer, arranger, and recording artist

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