Interview- Ndugu Chancler (Part I)
Michael Jackson. Miles Davis. Santana. Herbie Hancock. Patrice Rushen. George Duke. Frank Sinatra. Quincy Jones. John Lee Hooker. James Ingram.
These are just some of the legends that this man, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler has worked with.
Ndugu Chancler has essentially worked with the people who have laid the foundation of what music is today. The artists that many producers have sampled or cited as inspirations were his colleagues and band-mates.
On the 1st of every year Ndugu has an all day celebration at his home where he cooks for everyone. I was lucky enough to attend with some friends. Let me tell you, Ndugu Chancler makes a serious plate of greens! I’m not just saying that.
When I walked into the kitchen to talk to him, the whole room got silent. I asked if I could interview him for the site. He grilled me a little bit to see if I was serious, but said he was willing; but, before I did, he said I needed to go to allmusic.com and do my research.
I said “Oh no, I definitely know who you are.” (I’m a drummer myself, it’s only right to know his name). He responded jokingly “Yeah yeah…a lot of people say they know who I am, but they don’t reeeaaally know who I am.”
Well he was pretty right. I knew his resume was serious, but just how serious? Extremely serious.
I present to you a two-part series on Ndugu. He said so many things that I felt were so necessary to hear that I did very minimal editing.
– Michael Jackson vs Miles Davis
– His story of how he fell in love with music
– Miles Davis’ role in music history
-Lessons he learned through Miles
Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Bruce Swedien, and working on Thriller
Part II we talk about the current state of music and his thoughts on: radio, record labels, technology, & the loss of music programs.
Here are some tracks Ndugu has played on. Sound familiar?!
George Duke- Reach For It (Ndugu is doing the rap or “Narration” as he told me they used to call it!)
Dazz Band- Let It Whip (Co-Written by Ndugu)
And of course…one of the best compositions in history… Michael Jackson- Billie Jean