Jazz percussionist Doug Hammond is a living legend.
Although born and raised in Tampa, Florida, the drummer is indelibly tied to Detroit through his recordings with the renowned independent jazz label Tribe Records, which released his 1975 masterpiece “Reflections in the Sea of Nurnen.”
Hammond has worked with jazz icons like Charles Mingus, Donald Byrd, and Sonny Rollins, but he wouldn’t call his time with them “collaborations.”
“‘Collaboration’ is a new word,” he says. “[It’s a word] that’s attempting to make a new paradigm. When I played with Mingus I was not a collaborator, I was a sideman. I was an employee,” says Hammond. “Collaboration means you have something to say,” he continues.
“If I get a musician in my band, I don’t want to know what he thinks, I want to know what he plays.” - Doug Hammond
Click the audio player to hear Hammond’s conversation with WDET’s Amanda LeClaire and his live performance with the sanza, an African thumb piano.
Special thanks to WDET’s LaToya Cross for help with this interview.