Ndugu Chancler has also played on many jazz dates, particularly early in his career. His rhythmic aggressiveness and vitality distinguishes anything he plays, regardless of context. Chancler began playing drums at 12, and studied music in high school. His family moved from Louisiana to Los Angeles when he was eight. Chancler played with Willie Bobo and Gerald Wilson as a high-school student. After two years at a state college, Chancler began playing with Hugh Masekela, and also worked with Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, and Thelonious Monk. He had brief stints with Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, then joined George Duke. Chancler played periodically and recorded with Duke from 1972 to 1980, while also recording and performing with Harris, Julian Priester, and Weather Report. He toured with Santana in the mid-'70s, and formed the band Chocolate Jam Co. in 1978. Chancler was a prominent producer in the '80s, spearheading sessions for Kenny Rogers and Michael Jackson, while also doing several dates as a session player. He was in the Crusaders briefly in 1983. Chancler's discs as a leader include two albums on Epic with the drummer heading up the Chocolate Jam Co. -- The Spread of the Future (1979) and Do I Make You Feel Better? (1980) -- as well as the 1988 Ndugu release Old Friends New Friends on MCA. In 2000 Chancler collaborated on the trio release Jazz Straight Up, also featuring Patrice Rushen on piano and Stanley Clarke on bass. The Chancler album Old Friends Live, released independently in 2010, featured Ndugu on vibes and percussion, revisiting some of the music from Old Friends New Friends with a contemporary jazz spin. Chancler can also be heard on earlier discs by Harris, Duke, Weather Report, and others.
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