Session legend Leon Chancler passes
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’