Kahil El’Zabar was born on November 11, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois and attended Lake Forest College before joining the AACM, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in the early 1970s. He would go on to become its chairman in 1975.
During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which have remained active. Kahil has collaborated include Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Cannonball Adderley, and Paul Simon.
The multi-instrumentalist, Kahil El’Zabar, who is mainly a percussionist and composer, regularly records for Delmark Records. As a leader and co-leader he has released eight albums, fourteen with the Ensemble, 14 with the Trio, two with the group Tri-Factor and has recorded four as a sideman with David Murray and Wadada Leo Smith. He continues to perform, compose and record.
More Posts: percussion
Raul Pineda was born on November 5, 1971 in Havana, Cuba. As a young boy, he scoured his neighborhood for anything that could be used to create drums. He used metal rods driven into the ground to support used cooking oil cans, and formed drumsticks from the branches of orange trees. He was influenced by the local rumbero street bands, and at the urging of his musician grandfather, Nefer Miguel Milanés, he went on to study classical percussion for several years. He then immersed himself in Afro-Cuban music.
By 19, Raul was performing and recording with some of the leading Cuban ensembles and bandleaders, including Sentisis, and pianist Chucho Valdés. Over the next several years, international tours and Grammy-nominated recordings brought Raul to the music world’s attention as one of Cuba’s most influential young drummers. He blends a drum kit with percussion instruments, such as, the left foot cowbell.
Staying busy playing and recording with several bands and artists, since 2000, he has been playing with the Afro-Cuban-jazz-funk-rock band TIZER and with Latin superstar Juan Gabriel. Between the two bands he will have toured Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Dubai, Barbados, Aruba, Santiago de Chile, South Africa, Russia and South Korea.
Drummer Raul Pineda has garnered three Grammy nominations and a 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance with the Chucho Valdés Quartet album, Live at the Village Vanguard. He continues to perform and record.
Trilok Gurtu was born in Mumbai, India on October 30, 1951 to Hindu Brahmin parents and attended Don Bosco High School. His mother, singer Shobha Gurtu, encouraged him to learn playing tabla, and he studied playing the instrument under Shah Abdul Karim. He didn’t begin playing western drum kit in the 1970s and developed an interest in jazz, and played played with Charlie Mariano, John Tchicai, Terje Rypdal, and Don Cherry.
One of Trilok’s earliest recordings was around 1977 in the record Apo-Calypso in an album of the German ethnic fusion band, Embryo. His mother also sang in that record, and later joined him in his first solo CD, Usfret. In the 1980s, Gurtu played with Swiss drummer Charly Antolini, John McLaughlin, Jonas Hellborg, Kai Eckhardt, Dominique DiPiazza and opened for Miles Davis in Berkeley, California in 1988. He went on to play and record three albums with Oregon after the death of drummer Collin Walcott. In the early 1990s he resumed his career as a solo artist and a bandleader.
In 1999, Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell founded a musical group, Tabla Beat Science, bringing Trilok, Karsh Kale and Talvin Singh into the fold. Before going dormant in late 2003 they released three albums. He went on to record the album, Miles Gurtu, with Robert Miles, collaborate with the Arkè String Quartet and perform with Ricky Portera, Nick Beggs, Mario Marzi, Terl Bryant, John De Leo.
Percussionist, drummer and composer Trilok Gurtu has won awards from DRUM! Magazine, Carlton Television Multicultural Music Awards, Down Beat’s Critics Poll and has been nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World and continues to perform, compose, record and tour.
Frank Colón was born October 13, 1951 of Puerto Rican descent in Washington, D.C. but moved to Puerto Rico with his parents at the age of five. His musical instruction began at age eleven, beginning with classical piano lessons, under the guidance of Angelina Figueroa and Rafael Figueroa, both members of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious classical music family.
Colón kept up his piano studies throughout his teenage years, trying his hand at pop guitar, electric bass, and trap drums, as well as being very active in municipal and collegiate sports, martial arts, and amateur theater. Throughout this period in his life he worked with various local pop music groups throughout the island of Puerto Rico.
Moving back to Washington, D.C. in 1970 he attended college at American University, where Frank majored in Political Science. During this time, his musical orientation changed from melodic instruments to percussion and upon completion of his university requirements, he turned full-time to his music.
In 1976, Colón moved to New York City, on a call to work with his friend and mentor, the legendary drum master, Julito Collazo. Through Julito’s guidance, he became proficient at playing the Batá drums, sacred to the Orisha in the Santería religion.He has played Brazilian percussion since the time he lived in Washington, D.C.
Frank was performed and recorded with The Manhattan Transfer, Wayne Shorter, Weather Report, Mary J. Blige, Harry Belafonte, Gato Barbieri, Chet Baker, Pat Metheny, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Gilberto Gil, Larry Coryell, Jimmy Smith, Milton Nascimento, Tania Maria, Ernie Watts, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Valentin, Jon Lucien, João Bosco, Michael Wolff, Billy Taylor, Gal Costa, Dianne Reeves, Michel Camilo, Nestor Torres, Felix Cavalieri, Airto, and George Benson, among numerous others..
Percussionist Frank Colón has released two albums as a leader and continues to perform, record and tour.
More Posts: percussion
Sameer Gupta was born July 1, 1976 in San Francisco, California and is a percussionist, tabla player, and composer. He is the founder of the jazz ensemble The Supplicants and drummer for the Marc Cary Focus Trio.
Gupta has performed with Kosmic Renaissance, vidyA, Grachan Moncur III, Victor Goines, Vincent Gardner, Sekou Sundiata, Sonny Simmons, Marcus Shelby, Calvin Keys, Richard Howell, Dayna Stephens, and Julian Lage.
With his playing has been described as kinetic, bass-heavy, and tender, he made his recording debut in 2006 with Marc Cary on Focus, adding Marc Cary and Focus Trio Live in 2010. He released his debut album as a leader, Namaskar that same year, and has also recorded with Srinivas Reddy and Ross Hammond. Percussionist Sameer Gupta continues to compose, perform and record.