Growing up on the South Side of Chicago my mother was a piano player and taught music in the Chicago Public Schools for thirty five years. Records were always playing in our home, which sparked my love of music. When I was five years old my mother gave me a small guitar and a pair of bongos. I would spend most of my youth exploring them as well as a series of African thumb pianos. In my early teens I studied drums with Fred White (Earth Wind and Fire) and Famoudou Don Moye (Art Ensemble Of Chicago) and began playing in the Chicago Blues Clubs. Bassist J.W. Williams gave me my first blues gig as the drummer with his band “The Chi-Town Hustlers”. Over the next several years I would play with the late Valerie Wellington, Carlos Johnson, the late Lefty Dizz and Buddy Guy.
I met the late Frankie Knuckles in the early 1980’s. We were both members of the Imports Etc. Record Pool. Frankie taught me how to splice tape to make remixes. My love of dance music was born.
While attending the American Conservatory of Music I met Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie, a master drummer from Accra, Ghana. Gideon introduced me to the Talking Drum. I also joined his group “The African American Unity Ensemble”. While performing with the ensemble I met the late Abubakari Lunna, a master drummer from Dagbon Ghana and a direct descendant of the creators of the “Luna” or “Ghana Talking Drum”.
Gideon and Abu exposed me to a world of rhythmic and melodic possibilities and inspired me to form my own ensemble “Rhythm Testament,” to explore the rhythms of my ancestors and incorporate them with modern instrumentation.
Over the years I have performed professionally in a wide variety of musical situations with various artists including:
Talking Drum Master Rasaki Aladokun (King Sunny Ade), Ethiopian Vocalist Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw, The late Pianist & Vocalist Ann Ward, Guitarist Jean Paul Bourelly, Saxophonist Ari Brown, Organist Reuben Wilson, The late Norman Hedman, The late Screaming Jay Hawkins, N’ Dea Davenport of the “Brand New Heavies”, Nona Hendricks, Will Downing, Gerald Albright, George Clinton, Me’ Shell Ndege’ocello, The Indigo Girls, Sinead O’Connor, Natalie Merchant, Talib Kweli & Amel Larrieux.