ARTISTS | Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

Few percussionists have done as much to further the marriage of jazz, rock and Cuban music as Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez. Through his work with jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Michel Camilo and Latin rock icone Carlos Santana, Hernandez has become Afro-Cuban music's most visible drummer. Growing up in a house filled with music in Cuba, Hernandez was exposed to the traditional music his brother tuned in from nearby Miami radio stations. "El Negro" worked his way up in the Cuban recording and performance community, playing with artists like Rubalcaba, and recording more than 300 records during his time in Havana.

Having built an international reputation via his work with Rubalcaba, Hernandez defected to Italy in hopes of transitioning from there to New York. He spent three years there, teaching in a conservatory and performing regularly in Rome's busy club scene. When the opportunity arose to relocate to NY, he was offered a gig with Latin jazz piano master Michel Camilo. Through his work with Camilo, Dave Valentin and the TropiJazz All-Stars, Hernandez played on the most influential Latin jazz recording of the '90s.

He was introduced to mainstream audience in 1997 having performed with Carlos Santana's multy-grammy award winning hit album "Supernatural". Henandez earned his first Grammy with Roy Hargrove's Crisol recording "Havana", and the second with Michel Camilo's "Live at the Blue Note", which took Best Latin Album in 2003. The Grammy winner Alejandro Sanz's "No es lo mismo" and Eddie Palmieri's "Listen Here!" both featured Horacio "El Negro" in their line up.

Horacio has penned the industry standard method book "Conversation in Clave" published through Alfred Music, and released the timeless DVD Concert "Live At The Modern Drum Festival", featuring John Patitucci, Michael Brecker, Hilario Duran, amd Marc Quinoses, available through Hudson Music. His indipendent releas with Giovanni Hidalgo entitled "Traveling Trough Time", continues to remain a favorite of the percussion community worldwide.
El Negro's debut as a bandleader came in 2003 with the release of "El Negro & Robby at the Third World War" with the drummer Robby Ameen, follow by the self-titled CD "Italuba", resulting in countless gigs and nine European tours over the last three years.

photo: Andrea Boccalini 
Artist's choice
The Montreal Drum Fest 2012 (October 20/21) will feature Horacio Hernandez, Damien Schmitt, and a chance to try the Mark Drum YES kit yourself!