Don Paul is the leader or producer of 23 albums. He currently works with Hamid Drake and Alex de Grassi in the GALLOP Trio and with them and Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Paul Plimley in the GALLOP Sextet. He’s the youngest winner of Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University and the former world-record holder (1982-1992) for running 50 kilometers. He was a logger or roughneck between 1973 and 1980. He began with music in 1988 and led or produced 14 albums over the next seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area, collaborating with his brother Kenton, Babatunde Lea, Henry Kaiser, Chuck Prophet, John Baker, Dhyani Dharma, George Cremaschi, Richard Howell, James Henry, Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, India Cooke, Larry Ochs, William Winant, Anthony Carrillo, Jeannette Armstrong, q.r. hand, Alfonso Texidor, devorah major, Jack Hirschman, Jerry Anomie, Paul Plimley, Donald Robinson, Myles Boisen, Miya Masaoka, Ben Goldberg, Francis Wong, Genny Lim, Daniel Higgs, Nilak Butler, Lee and Salas of Hedzolleh Soundz, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, and many more. Since the year 2000 he’s co-founded Housing Is a Human Right, From the Ground Up, and Rebuild Green, and served as Operations Director for Common Ground Relief in New Orleans and Executive Director for a Central City project known as the Wesley United Digital Arts & Training Center. He and his wife Maryse Déjean co-direct Sticking Up For Children, thanks to an idea from Cyril and Gaynielle Neville. (allaboutjazz.com)
By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in improvised music.
Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson, and Ken Vandermark, among others.
Hamid Drake was born in Monroe, LA, in 1955, and later moved to Chicago with his family. He ended up taking drum lessons with Fred Anderson’s son, eventually taking over the son’s role as percussionist in Anderson’s group. As a result, Fred Anderson also introduced Drake to George Lewis and other AACM members.
Drake also has performed world music; by the late ’70s, he was a member of Foday Muso Suso’s Mandingo Griot Society, and has played reggae.
Hamid Drake has been a member of the Latin jazz band Night on Earth, the Georg Graewe Quartet, the DKV Trio, Peter Brotzmann’s Chicago Octet/Tentet, and Liof Munimula, the oldest free improvising ensemble in Chicago.
Drake has also worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Mahmoud Gania, bassist William Parker (in a large number of lineups), and has performed a solstice celebration with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang semiannually since 1991.
Hamid Drake recorded material is best represented on Chicago’s Okkadisk label. (drummerworld.com)
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November 26, 2021
FILE: Spoken Word / Jazz