Hamid Drake & more...

Just came back from a couple of days in Milano. I had two great sessions with piano player Antonio Zambrini and young bass player Andrea Di Biase. Mr. Zambrini is definitely one of the most underrated pianists around. His musicality and knowledge on the instrument are astonishing as well as his beautiful arrangements and compositions. He recently recorded an album with NY based trumpeter Ron Horton entitled "It's A Gadget World" published by Abeat Records but his recording production is pretty vast having played with the likes of Lee Konitz, William Parker and Hamid Drake.

Speaking of which... the main reason I went to Milan was to meet my good friend and inspirer Hamid Drake, on a day off between his tours. Besides being an outstanding musician, an innovator of percussive instruments and a musical chameleon Hamid is a very spiritual person. He has a deep knowledge and understanding of Eastern philosophies and religions. He practices yoga, meditation and chanting which definitely enhance his clarity in music. His band as a leader is called Bindu a Sanskrit word that describes one of the main chakras. Hamid is about to release his third album with this project entitled Bindu III on the french label Rogue Art.

Not everybody knows that he has been involved in countless projects with such musicians like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Foday Musa Sosa, David Murray, William Parker, Anthony Braxton and many others. At the end of the '70s he was a member of the Mandingo Griot Society, one of the first world music ensembles. It included Drake on drums, tabla and bells, Foday Musa Sosa on kora and voice, Adam Rudolph on bongos, congas, timbales, djembe and Joseph Thomas on bass. Their first recording guested Don Cherry on trumpet. A later recording entitled Jazz Africa includes Herbie Hancock on piano and Armando Peraza on congas. Definitely a few recordings worth checking out...

More & more people should be aware of the immense contribution that this wonderful musician and human being brings to contemporary music and art. His fresh and positive approach in relating to his fellow musicians and the audience through creativity and spirituality sets a good example of human and artistic conduct for those who like me are engaging in this art form as a way of living.

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