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was born in El Carmen, Chincha (a province in the Ica region in southern Peru), on 13 January 1934. He is among the most famous of Peruvian musicians and earned a widespread reputation for his dexterity and speed in playing the Peruvian cajón, bongo, and conga, as well as for his participation in various ensembles. He experimented with different forms of traditional música criolla (music of the Creoles), Afro-Peruvian rhythms, and jazz. He is also well known for his contributions to fusion music.

He was a self-taught musician and this learning process started when he was very young. He moved to Lima and made his debut at El Ambassador Grill when he was 15 years old. Soon thereafter, he started playing the bongos for well-established international bands and performers like Yolanda Montes “La Tongolele” in nightclubs such as the Boite Embassy. In 1957 the Chilean showgirl Tamara ...

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Jim Miller

jazz drummer, was born Robert Patterson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Poston Patterson. His talented pianist aunt was asked by the famous bandleader Lionel Leo Hampton to tour with him, but as she was not yet finished with school her grandmother would not allow it. However, Ali liked what he heard emanating from his aunt's living-room rehearsals with a local group, especially the sounds from the drummer. Although he did not graduate, Ali's high school dances provided him the opportunity to hear such luminaries as the saxophonist Charlie Parker and the big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. The young Rashied listened to the jazz drummers Max Roach and Art Blakey, but his earliest influences were his father's first cousins, the drummers Bernard and Charlie Rice Upon returning to Philadelphia after beginning his drumming career in the U S Army Ali briefly studied ...

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Lois Wilcken

was born on 1 March 1948 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Julien Augustin, a carpenter, and Andrea Laguerre, a retailer. He grew up in the southern end of the city, on the west side of its major cemetery, a zone noted both for its poverty and its devotion to the traditions of the Afro-Haitian spiritual discipline of Vodou. As a youth, Augustin attended Vodou ceremonies and followed in the footsteps of his uncle, the drummer Catelus Laguerre. While Augustin was in his teens, a local Vodou priest initiated him as an ountògi (sacred drummer). He soon came to the attention of André Germain, a director for the National Folkloric Troupe, who helped launch Augustin’s career as a professional musician. Augustin played for the performing arts companies of the pianist and composer Lina Mathon Blanchet, the African American dancer Lavinia Williams, and the dance educator Viviane Gauthier.

In 1972 while on ...

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Debra L. Klein

master bata drummer and broker of Yoruba culture, was born on 6 August 1949 in the town of Erin-Osun in present-day Osun State, Nigeria. Ayankunle was born into a large extended family of traditional bata (double-headed, conically shaped drum ensemble) and dundun (double-headed, hourglass-shaped drum ensemble with tension straps) drummers. His father was Ige Ayansina and his mother was Awero Ayansina. Yoruba drumming lineages train their children in the art and profession of bata and dundun drumming. These families celebrate and worship orisa Ayanagalu (the spirit of the drum). Children born into an Ayan (drum family) lineage are given names beginning with the Ayan prefix, such as Ayankunle.

Passed down from generation to generation bata is a five hundred year old drumming singing and masquerade tradition from southwestern Nigeria The fifteenth century reign of Sango marks the earliest documented use of bata drum ensembles in royal contexts One of the ...

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was born somewhere in Haiti, probably in the mid-1910s. The names of his parents and their occupations are unknown, and documentation of his life prior to his rise to fame as a stage drummer is virtually nonexistent. During his lifetime his art form was transmitted exclusively through family and/or community lines organized around the rites of Vodou, an Afro-Haitian spiritual discipline. One might reasonably assume he received his training in a Vodou community.

Ti Roro was born sometime around 1915, the year the United States invaded Haiti. This first occupation lasted until 1934 Scholarship on the period has proposed multiple reasons for the operation but like other interventions in the region the invasion and occupation of Haiti served the United States aim of promoting its economic interests and expelling European influence Initially Haiti responded to the invasion with militant resistance but its resources were not equal to those ...

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was born in Santander de Quilichao, in the department of Cauca, Colombia. As the youngest son in a family of musicians, Balanta grew up with a great interest in traditional Colombian music. At first, he was interested only in playing the drums, but as time passed he began to investigate the roots of the music of Pacific Colombia, as well as the folklore of various regions of the country.

His interest in the marimba, a percussion instrument popular in Afro–Latin American communities, came about by chance when one of his nephews bought a marimba and Balanta began to practice with it. He later began to combine the marimba with other percussion elements, thus creating a novel musical combination. This involved mixing drums (kick-drum, snare, cymbals, bongos, bells, and clave) with the traditional Pacific Colombian marimba; charles and cununo drums from the same region and bass and electric bass along ...

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Lea Geler

was born on 22 August 1928 in a conventillo, or tenement house (community housing where very poor people live), in the city of Buenos Aires. He was the youngest son of Lucía Teodolinda Obella and Salvador Balbuena, both Afro-Argentines. His first marriage was with Celia Catani, also of African descent, and together they had a son, Daniel Hugo. After being widowed, he married again, this time to Adelina Isabel Soto, also an Afro-Argentine and the daughter of Celina Posadas. They had three children: Silvia Noemí Balbuena, Lucio Omar, and Leandro Martín.

Hugo grew up in a very poor family For this reason he had to drop out of high school in order to work as a casual laborer to help improve his family s financial situation While his mother Lucía had worked extremely hard to earn a teaching degree the story within the family was that she had not ...

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Barry Kernfeld

jazz drummer, was born Adolphe Paul Barbarin in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Isidore John Barbarin, a coachman for undertakers, and Josephine Arthidore. The Barbarins were a distinguished musical family. Paul's father played alto horn with the Onward, Excelsior, and Tuxedo brass bands and recorded with Bunk Johnson in 1945. Paul's brothers were Louis, a drummer in New Orleans long associated with Papa Celestin; Lucien, also a drummer; and Willie, a cornetist. Barbarin's nephew was the jazz musician Danny Barker.

Having begun to play by using two forks on kitchen chairs, Barbarin was later arrested for drumming his sticks too loudly on the neighbor's steps; such was his skill that on his performing in court the judge dismissed the case, paid him fifty cents (his first professional income), and sent him home. Around 1915 he began working as a freight elevator operator to ...

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Born in New York of Puerto Rican heritage, Barreto joined Tito Puente's big band in the 1950s. In the 1960s, he established the Ray Barreto Orchestra, which recorded under the Fania label. In 1992 he established the Jazz band, New World Spirit.

See also Salsa Music.

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Caryn E. Neumann

a bass drummer, vocalist, and leader of the New Orleans-based Treme Brass Band, is perhaps most famous as a New Orleans personality. He grew up as one of sixteen children of a blacksmith. As a child, he worked as a shoeshiner in the French Quarter and often entertained with his tap dancing performances at a whites-only club. He began playing rhythm sticks and bells at the age of eight. He later settled on the snare drum, noting that he wanted to avoid both damaging his lips from playing brass or developing a sore jaw from a reed instrument. Batiste learned his signature slide-and-hop dance from studying drummer Papa Knox. Batiste also played the banjo, piano, violin, washboard, and kazoo.

Throughout his career Batiste performed as a drummer with various bands including the Square Deal Social and Pleasure Club but earned steady income by working as a bricklayer ...

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Mario Angel Silva Castro

His lifelong research allowed him to re-create the candombe drum with fusions that included samba, rap, bossa nova, and funk, among other styles.

Jorge Damião Bello Gularte, known as “Jorginho,” was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 16 February 1956. The son of José Bello and “Martha” Gularte, a well-known figure within Afro-Uruguayan culture, he spent his childhood moving between Uruguay and Brazil. When he definitively settled with his mother and sister, Katy, in Montevideo, they found a home on Curuguaty Street in the Barrio Sur, barely a block from the emblematic tenement house “Mediomundo” (a significant space for African candombe). From a young age, he was involved in music, taking piano lessons in Porto Alegre, and by the age of 11 he was already playing the candombe drums and participating in his mother’s groups. He also began to teach himself to play the guitar in 1969 ...

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T. Dennis Brown

jazz drummer and composer, was born Denzil de Costa Best in New York City, the son of immigrant parents from Barbados; his mother was Josephine Best (his father's name is unknown). Denzil Best married Arline Riley (date unknown), with whom he had two daughters. Best began studying piano when he was six years old but later learned trumpet, which he played professionally in the mid‐1930s with the drummer Chris Columbus (Joe Morris). By the end of the decade Best became associated with several seminal bop musicians playing at Minton's nightclub in New York, including Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and house bandleader Joe Guy. Because of a lung disorder, Best stopped playing trumpet in 1941, returned to the piano, and later played string bass and drums.

After having worked as a drummer with locally led New York City bands (Saxie Payne, Eddie Williams ...

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T. Dennis Brown

Best, Denzil (27 April 1917–25 May 1965), jazz drummer and composer, was born Denzil de Costa Best in New York City, the son of immigrant parents from Barbados; his mother was Josephine Best (his father’s name is unknown). Best married Arline Riley (date unknown), with whom he had two daughters. Best began studying piano when he was six years old but later learned trumpet, which he played professionally in the mid-1930s with drummer Chris Columbus (Joe Morris). By the end of the decade he became associated with several seminal bop musicians playing at Minton’s nightclub in New York, including Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and house bandleader Joe Guy. Because of a lung disorder Best stopped playing trumpet in 1941, returned to the piano, and later played string bass and drums.

After having worked as a drummer with locally led New York City bands Saxie Payne ...

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Susan Richardson-Sanabria

musician, composer, educator, priest, and artist, was born James Hawthorne in Yamassee, South Carolina, to Mary Hugee and Roland Hawthorne. When he was still a boy he and his family moved to New Jersey, then to New York City—first to Brooklyn and later to Harlem. In Brooklyn James and his parents lived with his grandparents, and his grandfather encouraged him to join the church choir.

His musical talents became more evident after his move to Harlem, when he began to study dance and percussion with Isame Andrews, a specialist in African music and dance and a student of Asadata Dafora. Attracting notice with his vocal skills, Hawthorne was admitted to both the Eva Jessye and the Francis Hall Johnson choirs In the mid to late 1930s he studied African drum making and performance especially the ashiko drum with Moses Miannes Mianns a Nigerian who had come to ...

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Jeremy Rich

was born in the village of Messondo not far from Yaoundé Cameroon His father was a lay Catholic catechist and Bikoko sang in the church choir He also participated in dances in the Assiko rhythm a music and dance style associated with the Bassa ethnic group After spending several years in primary school at the Catholic mission in Eséka Bikoko dropped out while still an adolescent to try to make a living He became a cook and servant at a timber camp in the village of Bonepoupa about 104 kilometers from Eséka While in Bonepoupa he began to play guitar He learned from local musicians Albert Dikoumé and Henri Hiag and made his own instrument from bark and bamboo It was the beginning of his slow ascent to the summit of the Cameroonian music scene Leaving Bonepoupa for the town of Songmbenguè located near the city of Edéa Bikoko played ...

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Nathaniel Friedman

jazz drummer, was born Edward Joseph in New Orleans, Louisiana, to unknown parents. He grew up steeped in his hometown's musical tradition, influenced by two tap‐dancing siblings to take up the drums. New Orleans percussionists like Paul Barbarin were Blackwell's earliest models, making him one of several future avant‐gardists whose roots were in jazz's oldest traditions.

In 1951 Blackwell relocated to Los Angeles, where he played in the rhythm and blues outfits of Plas and Raymond Johnson. More significantly he made the acquaintance the saxophonist Ornette Coleman with whom he would be associated for his entire career Coleman also working with various degrees of success in the Los Angeles rhythm and blues scene sought to introduce an unprecedented degree of melodic harmonic and rhythmic freedom into jazz This new approach required an almost telepathic bond between band members as interaction was governed by little more than improvisational ingenuity In ...

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Lewis Porter

(b Pittsburgh, Oct 11, 1919; d New York, Oct 16, 1990). American jazz drummer and bandleader. By the time he was a teenager he was playing the piano full-time, leading a commercial band. Shortly afterwards he taught himself to play the drums in the aggressive swing style of Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc, and he joined Mary Lou Williams as a drummer for an engagement in New York in autumn 1942. He then toured with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra (1943–4). During his years with Billy Eckstine’s big band (1944–7) Blakey became associated with the modern-jazz movement, along with his fellow band members Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Fats Navarro and others.

In 1947 Blakey organized the Seventeen Messengers a rehearsal band and recorded with an octet called the Jazz Messengers He then travelled in Africa probably for ...

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James Sellman

As a drummer and bandleader, Art Blakey had a profound impact on the shape of modern Jazz. During the late 1940s, along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, he was one of the creators of modern jazz drumming. His long-standing group, the Jazz Messengers (1955–1990)—together with Miles Davis's quintet with John Coltrane, the Max Roach–Clifford Brown Quintet, and the Horace Silver Quintet—popularized the style known as hard bop. Hard bop draws equally on the harmonic and rhythmic complexity of bebop and on the visceral sounds and simpler rhythms that characterize the Blues and Gospel Music. In an interview published in The Black Perspective in Music, Blakey summed up his approach simply, declaring that he wanted to play music that would “wash away the dust of everyday life.”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania born Blakey was also one of the great talent scouts of ...

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T. Dennis Brown

jazz drummer and bandleader, was born Art William Blakey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Burtrum Blakey, a barber, and Marie Roddericker. His father left home shortly after Blakey was born, and his mother died the next year. Consequently, he was raised by a cousin, Sarah Oliver Parran, who worked at the Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill in Pittsburgh. He moved out of the home at age thirteen to work in the steel mills and in 1938 married Clarice Stuart, the first of three wives. His other wives were Diana Bates and Ann Arnold. Blakey had at least ten children (the exact number is unknown), the last of whom was born in 1986.

As a teenager Blakey taught himself to play the piano and performed in local dance bands but he later switched to drums Like many of his contemporaries Blakey initially adapted the ...

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Timothy J. O'Brien

jazz musician. Arthur William Blakey was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was raised by relatives and a family friend. His father, Bertram, a barber, had left the family when Blakey was an infant, and his mother died when he was twenty-one months old. By age fourteen he was working as a pianist in a Pittsburgh nightclub. He switched to drums, learning to play a hard swinging style by listening to recordings of Chick Webb and Sid Catlett.

After a stint in the Mary Lou Williams combo in 1942, Blakey traveled with Fletcher Henderson's orchestra in 1943–1944. From 1944 to 1947 he played in Billy Eckstine's orchestra, a group that included the influential musicians John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, Charlie “Bird” Parker, and Miles Davis. Blakey formed his own group, the Seventeen Messengers, in 1947 making the first recordings under his name for the ...