Ngudu RIP

Ses­sion leg­end Leon Chan­cler passes

Rhythm - - BEAT! -

Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chan­cler, the leg­endary ses­sion drum­mer be­hind a slew of pop hits, has passed away.

Ndugu, pos­si­bly best known for his play­ing on Michael Jack­son clas­sic ‘Bil­lie Jean’, passed away at his Los An­ge­les home af­ter a bat­tle with prostate can­cer. He was 65 years old.

Dur­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer which spanned a whop­ping six decades, Ndugu carved out a name for him­self as one of the most in-de­mand pop, jazz and r’n’b ses­sion drum­mers on the cir­cuit. Down the years he per­formed with a daz­zling ar­ray of stars, notch­ing up ap­pear­ances with the likes of Miles Davis, Her­bie Han­cock and Ger­ald Wil­son early on in his flour­ish­ing ca­reer. Fur­ther cred­its fol­lowed for Ndugu with stars such as Eric Clap­ton, Tina Turner, Frank Si­na­tra, Th­elo­nious Monk and Car­los San­tana.

Quest­love was among the top names to take to so­cial me­dia to pay trib­ute as the news broke.

The Roots drum­mer posted to his In­sta­gram page: “In my opin­ion, the ‘Bil­lie Jean’ in­tro is the great­est ex­am­ple of some­thing so sim­ple that you take it for granted. But if you truly dis­sect it, it’s a com­plex com­pelling per­for­mance. The tone is spot on.”

He added: “Giv­ing all due re­spect and praise to the drum­mer that sparked a rev­o­lu­tion of dance mad­ness break­beat ma­nia. Rest easy, King!”

Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chan­cler played on Michael Jack­son’s ‘Bil­lie Jean’

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