Posted: July 23, 2018

Remembering Ndugu: A musical send-off for one of the greatest drummers ever.

Remembering Ndugu: A musical send-off for one of the greatest drummers ever.
Stanford Jazz Festival
Thursday July 26, 2018 7:30pm

Gregory Ryan, Ndugu Chancler and me (1996)

When Leon “Ndugu” Chancler passed away earlier this year, the world lost one of the greatest drummers in music. His contributions to pop and funk are legendary, from Michael Jackson’s iconic “Billy Jean” and records with Lionel Richie and Donna Summer, to the deeply funky “Let It Whip” by the Dazz Band and equally grooving collaborations with keyboardist George Duke. His jazz credentials are no less impressive, including projects with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Jean-Luc Ponty, Weather Report, Santana, Frank Sinatra and many others.

For over 20 years, Ndugu was an essential and much beloved member of the Stanford Jazz Workshop faculty, generously sharing his vast experience with SJW students. For many of these years I had the privilege of learning from him and of teaching alongside him during this Summer workshop.  The music we played ran the gamut from straight ahead jazz, to my original music- Latin jazz swing, groove and beyond, songs by Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report, and Blues Nights with Ruth Davies, Keb Mo, Henry Butler, Houston Person and more.  Every time we shared the bandstand Ndugu raised the level of the musical dialectic.  Playing with him was like being fueled by a nuclear reactor. Hearing him teach and talk about his career was like a direct line to the tradition and the future of jazz simultaneously.  I’m proud to have called him a friend, and I truly miss his smile, his encyclopedic knowledge of the tradition, his profound reverence for music and his deep groove.

At this special concert, members of the SJW faculty will celebrate our personal and musical connections to and memories of Ndugu over the years.  We’re especially honored to have Ndugu’s close friend and associate, legendary keyboardist Patrice Rushen joining us for this show.

Thursday July 26, 2018, 7:30PM
Campbell Recital Hall
471 Lagunita Drive
Stanford, CA 94305 

Bennett Paster, keyboards
Patrice Rushen, keyboards


Carmen Staaf: Keyboards
Allison Miller, Ana Barreiro, Mike Mitchell, Miles Labatt: Drums & Percussion
David Yamasaki: Guitar
Josh Thurston Milgrom, Rob Kohler, Aneesa Strings: Bass
Ben Flocks, Lynn Speakman, Jessica Jones, Kris Strom, Steven Lugerner: Woodwinds
Victor Lin: Violin
Natalie John, Aneesa Strings, Valerie Troutt: Vocals

Click here for tickets