Perhaps the city's most exciting percussionist, The New York Times recently raved about Drake's ability to incorporate pattern-based drumming into free jazz. "But," says Chicago Reader critic Neil Tesser, "this skill probably isn't as important to his success... as his deep swing and extraordinary ear for shading and color."
Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader) adds that Drake "can play anywhere from deep in the pocket to way out in space."
Drake has been a regular musical companion of a wide-ranging group of musicians including saxophonists Fred Anderson, Peter Brotzmann and Pharoah Sanders. He is comfortable from reggae to world music to free jazz. Played (with Jim Baker's trio) at the 1996 Chicago Jazzfest, and an afternoon set with the DKV trio at the 1999 'Fest.
Check out especially the semiannual solstice celebrations with fellow rhythmatist Michael Zerang which have been going on since 1991 -- warning, tickets now sell out long in advance. You can hear a small fraction of his collaboration -- albeit a studio take of a suite dedicated to Edward Blackwell -- with Drake on the 1996 Okka Disk release Ask the Sun.
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