Cass Ziard

The greatest Jazz drummer Sri Lanka ever produced

I knew Cass when I was a teenager also interested in drumming. We respected him a lot as he was much older, stern, and extremely serious. His younger brother, Faleel, also a great drummer of his vintage, was more closer in terms of age and hence we were much more comfortable with him.

The class and style of both Cass & Faleel on drums has never been matched by anyone in Sri Lanka, to date, in 2010. I remember Duke Ellingtons drummer, Sam Woodyard, gifting Cass one of his cymbals after their concert at the Colombo Oval when they stopped over on their way back to the USA from Australia.

Some Jazz memorabilia that Cass left behind is mentioned on a website on the internet, managed by Afdhel Aziz as follows:-

Faleel Ziard with Duke Ellington's trumpeter in his home in Colombo

Faleel Ziard with Duke Ellington’s trumpeter in his home in Colombo


“Cass Ziard was one of Sri Lanka’s premier jazz drummers and music afficianiados. Before his demise, he amassed an astonishing collection of jazz memorabilia which would make the perfect material with which to form the basis of a jazz themed restaurant or bar. The collection includes the following:

  • Signed records by Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan, and many more.
  • An unbroken collection of Downbeat (jazz) and Melody Maker (rock) magazines from the 1950s until the 1980’s.These would make fabulous wall paper for a jazz room. Clients could read about the jazz and rock greats of the past while they were having their dinner. New papers could be plastered over the old ones at regular intervals so as to give the room a perpetually updated feel.
  • Over fifty bound scrapbooks on jazz and popular music in Sri Lanka, especially during the heyday of impresario Donovan Andre, when the likes of Dave Brubeck and other musical greats toured the country.
    · Signed black and white photographs of jazz musicians.
  • Correspondence between jazz musicians like Dizzy Guillispie & Cass.”


Fazil Sameer

A jazz drummer who followed in the steps of Tom Menezes. Having moved to Saudi Arabia since 1979, Fazli enjoys his retired life by teaching drumming for school kids.

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