HONORING NDUGU CHANCLER:Drummer Composer Jazz R&B Icon


left -right Patrice Rushen, Ernie Watts, Ndugu,and Alphonso Johnson

Recently held on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Chancler received  a hero’s welcome at Bovard  Auditorium in L.A.  from family, friends, and fans for his selfless contributions to education, the community at large and a lifetime of  musical achievements that spans 5 decades in music. In the studio, He’s well-known as the “Drummer” on Multi-Grammy winning Thriller album by Michael Jackson.  Also, as a hit songwriter on such Soul & Pop hits as Let It Whip/Dazz Band , “Dance Sister Dance” by Santana and “Reach For It”  by George Duke. In addition to Co-producing on albums  with a virtual Who’s Who in music,the likes of Santana, George Duke, The Crusaders, Joe Sample,Wilton Felder and Tina Turner. As a Educator, Chancler works with the Jazz Mentorship Program and the Thelonious Monk Institute, and is faculty advisor to USC’s Jazz Reach,Young Musicians Program at University of  California  Berkley, and the Stanford University Jazz Workshop.

On hand to perform and pay tribute was longtime friend and collaborator, pianist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Ernie Watts, and bassist, Alphonso Johnson(fellow alumnus from Weather Report) This stellar cast of musicians made up a group called The Meeting who performed to standing ovations all evening.  The whole evening was weaved together nicely by Actor/Musician, Mykelti Williamson as Host.  Several highlights of the evening were two college youth bands performing music by or, co-written by Chancler. The Thornton Jazz Orchestra , conducted by Ndugu Chancler performed “Silk” & “Out of Here”, both penned by Ndugu. Also, an  ensemble of  youngsters performing Latin Jazz music, called , ALAJE provided backup for soul singer Mr. Greg Walker performing Dance Sister Dance  from the hit Santana album,” Amigos”.  As sidebar, moving remarks by Ndugu’s son, Rashon Chancler spoke of  his love and admiration for his father while growing up as a child. while teaching him about goals and discipline to achieve his dreams.

Chancler teaches clinics around the world for Yamaha, Paiste, Remo, TOCA,Vic Firth and Shure Bros. He is an adjunct professor of Jazz and Popular Music Studies at the USC School of Music for almost 20 years.

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