Hamid Drake & Jesse Stewart

Peter Hum’s Jazz Blog: Chicago percussionist Hamid Drake will be a very busy man in Ottawa later this week. The avant-garde jazz icon will be performing, recording and teaching, having been brought to Ottawa by Carleton University professor and drummer Jesse Stewart.  Read: Five Questions for Jesse Stewart about Hamid Drake

March 15, 2013
two performances: one at 7:00 pm and one at 9:00 pm
admission: $25,  for advance purchase call 613-729-0693, or cash at the door.

“Hamid Drake is Equally adept at scaring forth a sustaining, multidirectional rhythmic support or stepping to the fore for a solo that makes use of seemingly every limb and joint at his disposal at once, his percussive acumen knows no limits.” Derek Taylor, One Final Note

“Jesse Stewart is one of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today.” One Final Note 2002.

BIO for Hamid Drake 

Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring various countries throughout the world.

He first became known for his work with Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Drake was one of the founders, along with Foday Musa Suso and Adam Rudolph, of The Mandingo Griot Society. His other frequent collaborators include New York bassist William Parker, saxophonist David Murray, composer and percussionist Adam Rudolph, German free jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, fellow drummer Michael Zerang and Chicago free jazz saxophonist Ken Vandermark.

In recent years, Drake has frequently appeared with Jazz legend Archie Shepp in various configurations but the most common is the group Phat Jam along with human beat boxer and rapper Napoleon Maddox. drake also works with Maddox in the Jazz hip Hop group ISWAHAT. Drake also performs with Hungarian jazz groups, recording with musicians like Viktor Tóth and Mihály Dresch. In addition to the drum set, Drake also performs on the frame drum, the tabla, and other hand drums.

Hamid Drake credits two people as being very inspirational to his music and life on a deep and personal level. One is Fred Anderson who gave him the chance to deeply explore the world of creative expression. The other is his life-partner and best friend, Clay Chalupa, whose many years of encouragement continues to bring and to transform daily life into a much needed voice of healing and truth and joy.

BIO for Jesse Stewart

Jesse Stewart is an award-winning composer, improviser, percussionist, visual artist, instrument builder, researcher, writer, and educator dedicated to re-imagining the spaces between artistic disciplines.

As a musician, he works primarily in the areas of jazz, new music, and free improvisation.  He has performed with many internationally acclaimed musicians including George Lewis, Roswell Rudd, Evan Parker, Bill Dixon, William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Joe McPhee, Gordon Monahan, Maggie Nicols, Evan Ziporyn (of the Bang on a Can All Stars), Jah Youseff (master Malian musician), Michael Snow, and many others. He is a member of Stretch Orchestra (with virtuoso musicians Kevin Breit and Matt Brubeck), a group that won the 2012 “Instrumental Album of the Year” JUNO Award for its self-titled debut recording. Jesse also performs regularly as a soloist and with the Jesse Stewart Ensemble, a group formed to play his own compositions for instruments of his own design. His music has been performed at festivals throughout Canada, in Europe and in the United States at festivals including the Open Ears Festival, the Atlantic International Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Blues Festival, and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and many more.

His playing has been described as “truly exciting” (Musicworks 76), “exceptional” (Cadence Oct. 2002), “phenomenal” (Cadence Nov. 1999), and “ingenious” (Exclaim! June 2006).  In a 2002 review, Texas-based music critic Frank Rubolino described him as “…one of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today” (One Final Note Summer/Fall 2002).


 “Performing with finesse and sensitivity, Stewart quietly opens the door for us to a limitless world of delicate sonic beauty.”  (Musicworks 97 Spring 2007)

 “He gave a demonstration of his drum playing by which professional drummers in the audience were in the vernacular blown away. He plays like four drummers all playing a different style but simultaneously.”  (Scene and Heard, August 2006)

 “Stewart’s gift stems from his visionary curiosity and his willingness to expand upon the accidental clunks humans create with all of their stuff. …Music for Found Objects is an endlessly fascinating exploration of sound.”  (Exclaim! June 2006)

“Watching Stewart perform is a magical experience, as he coaxes both familiar and otherworldly sounds from marble marimbas, seashells filled with water and even a deconstructed drum kit, the instrument he considers home base.”  (Night Life 15 June 2006)

“Jesse’s relentless experimentations on drums, found objects, and sculptures of his own design are an impressive and fascinating demonstration of the richness of sound waiting to be discovered in the most unlikely places. His music isn’t just demonstrative, it’s also truly exciting art.” (Musicworks 76 Spring 2000)

“phenomenal” (Cadence Nov. 1999)