The Early Years

Young Peoples Concert seriesBorn in 1937, Horacee Arnold began playing the drums in 1957. The Kentucky native was studying art and music at Los Angeles City College when he heard Max Roach in concert–an experience that cemented his decision to set aside art and architecture for music.
He immersed himself in drumming and worked with composer and educator, David Baker, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Back in Kentucky, Max Roach invited “the little Max Roach” (as band members called him because of the Roachlike phrasing and use of space) to sit in with his band. In 1960, Roach also lined up some New York gigs for his protégé with Sarah Vaughan, Alvin Ailey, and Charles Mingus.
New York, in my formative years was teaming with a variety of jazz musicians. Many having unique playing styles, people like drummers Al Foster, Henry Jenkins, Pianists Albert Daley, Gil Coggins (Pianist with Coltrane, Miles, Jackie McLean, Lester Young, Art Blakey and Sonny Rollins), and there were many others. It was a prolific time for jazz. So many styles so much variety and encouragement  from the musicians, young and old.
I consider myself fortunate to have had Max Roach as my mentor. I was taught and coached in the early 60’s by, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus, Oliver Nelson Booker Little and a host of others. Not only in the skills of performance, but also the social and historical legacy passed on through this special line of Artist.  In many cases first hand and word of mouth, with special emphasis on a high level of creativity, innovation and respect for the tradition.

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