Derek Trucks Band - United States
OverviewCount M’Butu was born Harold L. Jones in Georgia, 1945. As a young boy he sang in the church choir and from that moment on he could see the sun, he knew that music would be in his future. But it wouldn’t be until many years later that the Count would be able to fulfill his dream.
In 1976 the Count studied music at Georgia State University. He then transferred to The Neighborhood Arts Center College in Atlanta, GA where he learned more about African history and music. That same year he was invited to Nigeria to continue his studies. The sights and sounds of Africa’s beautiful green surroundings awakened deep spiritual feelings for the Count. He knew he was on the right path.
While in Africa, the Count not only learned more about playing the drums but he also learned the art of drum making. It was there that he became enthralled with the wide array of percussion instruments. And the drum became his instrument of choice. He also performed in various African ballets, which tell the history of Africa through song and dance.
Upon returning to Georgia, the Count completed his degree in African studies but continued to study under the great Armando Peraza, percussionist for Santana. In 1979 the Count began performing publicly. His first big break was playing percussion on a Nationally syndicated music variety show called "The Memphis Music Store. " Guests included Herbie Hancock, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn and Rufus Thomas, among others. When the show was canceled, the Count went on the road with artists Nancy Wilson, The Manhattans and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
The following year, the Count traveled to Europe and moved around performing for American soldiers stationed overseas. Upon returning to the U.S., the Count, who worked as percussionist at a popular nightspot in Atlanta, met Argentinean beauty Graciela Lopez. Lopez was the lead singer of the band. And as those old-sayings go, the two fell in love and began making beautiful music together. Graciela added Latin flavor to the Count’s African sounds.
In the late eighties the Count met underground legend Col. Bruce Hampton. Col. Hampton has worked with other well-known musicians such as the infamous Frank Zappa and Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones. The first time Col. Hampton met the Count he proclaimed he shall be called Count M’Butu. That was the first of many synchronicities. You see, the family that the Count lived with in Africa was called M’Butu but there was no way that Col. Hampton could have known that. The Count claims that Col. Hampton was like his lucky rabbit’s foot. It was a meeting that was meant to be.
The following five years were dedicated to recording and touring with the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit. The band played in front of thousands of fans all over the U.S. and was a staple on The HORDE Tour, composed of various bands such as Blues Traveler and The Spin Doctors. They garnered critical acclaim from their peers and critics alike. In 1995 the band broke up and the Count pursued a solo career.
During this time the Count was recording for Warner/Capricorn Records. He, along with Graciela Lopez and Harry Case, began working on the making of SEE THE SUN. The album is a variety of melodious jazz rhythms that include a unique and inventive fusion of African and Latin sounds.
In the last few years, the Count has shared the stage with such artists as Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, The Allman Brothers, Phish, and Edwin McCain, among many others. The Count continues to teach his unique style of hand drumming and is also active with the Seminole Indian Tribe in Okeechobee, FL. He can be heard playing the drums on two of Chief James Billie’s CD’s.
In 1999 the Count signed with Terminus Records and finished producing his long awaited solo-debut, SEE THE SUN – featuring Graciela Lopez. This latest accomplishment is due out in March 2001. The record displays the talents of some of the finest musicians in the world. It is the culmination of years of influences and friendships that blend to make rare magic.
This year, the Count played percussion for Debbie Allen’s play "Soul Possessed." Singer James Ingram and the great Arturo Sandoval were part of the repertoire. The amazing play was sold out for two months while it played at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.
Currently the Count is living in Atlanta, GA and is concentrating on the release and promotion of SEE THE SUN.
Contact: Angela Rodriguez
Elka Peterson Malin