Archive for January, 2011
To say that Bill Summers is a percussionist is like saying a Steinway is a piano: the noun conveys none of the history and quality of the owner of the title. Summers is a musician of the highest order, playing anything from traditional African instruments to pop bottles, and a cultural visionary who brings diverse people and ideas together. Whether working with Quincy Jones on the musical score for Roots, or the soundtrack to The Color Purple, or interpreting the music of the holiday Kwanza, Summers is cognizant of his heritage and its many contributions to world culture. Witness how Summers brought together Kim Provost and Bill Solley, winners of the 1999 BET Jazz Discovery Competition. The duo made their acquaintance at one of Summers’ late-night sessions and, recognizing their alchemy, Summers asked them to join his Summer’s Heat tour.
The success of multi-award-winning Los Hombres Calientes owes much to the knowledge of the seasoned Summers, R&B star (with “Call It What You Want” in 1981), veteran of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, who knows literally hundreds of African, Cuban & Latin percussion rhythms from decades of study.
Bill steers the helm of the Summers Multi-Ethnic Institute of the Arts, which takes students to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban music. In 1999, Bill Summers and several of his students were initiated into the prestigious Yoruba order of sacred drummers by Estaban “Cha Chaa” Vega, the most revered drummer in Cuba.
This wealth of knowledge can be heard in Summers’ inspired playing on the Volumes 1, 2, and 3 CD releases of Los Hombres Calientes, as well as musical ventures with other groups that cross musical boundaries.
In 2001, he went on the Prescription Renewal Tour with friend, Headhunters colleague, and drummer Mike Clark, along with Paul Jackson on bass, Kyle Hollingsworth on keyboards, and Fred Wesley on trombone. 2002 found the original Los Hombres down to two, as Summers and Mayfield carry on without exiting member Marsalis and pick up Cuban drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernández.
Summers appears to know where he is going, perhaps because he knows where he has been.
Billboard Charts: http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts?tag=allcharts
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Liberal Arts Building, Room 236
January 19: Introduction Class
January 26: The Billboard Top 100
February 2: Bill Summers
February 9: The Revivalists
February 16: The University of New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
February 23: Greg Hicks, Mark Mullins & Craig Klein of Bonerama
March 6-11: Mardi Gras & Spring Break Holiday – No classes
March 16: Masters Month Commission Debut – The Music of Ellis Marsalis by Victor Atkins
March 23: Masters Month Commission Debut – The Music of Harold Battiste by Ed Petersen
March 30: Masters Month Commission Debut – The Music of James Black by Steve Masakowski
April 6: Glen David Andrews
April 13: TBA
April 20: Jeremy Davenport
April 27: The University of New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
May 4, Final Class: Irvin Mayfield & Friends