M’Boom was the brainchild of Max Roach, the late percussionist, visionary, and one of the seminal innovators of modern jazz. In 1970, Roach gathered six notable drummers – percussionists to explore and compose for the myriad instruments in the percussion family and named the group “M’Boom.” M’Boom or (Bwoom), comes from the mythology of the people of Kuba (now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and can also be found in regions of eastern Nigeria). The deity of M’Boom is symbolized by “Royal Masks”, known as M’Boom, or Bwoom masks.
The M’Boom was also a governing council of elders existing in the various provincial tribes and regions of that part of Africa.
The concept of drummer collectives is not new; various percussion troupes exist all over the world; i.e. Dou, Dou Mtu-Senegal; Koto Drummers of Japan; French Six of Europe, etc. M’Boom Re-Percussion grew out of “Rise and Fly”. “Rise and Fly” probably existed during the very beginnings of professional Jazz bands and orchestras; four to five notable drummers would perform first individually with a four to five piece “back-up” band; then they would collectively take the stage with the “back-up” band in a kind of “drum battle” finale; an absolute “killing”, crowd pleasing show. I personally witnessed several Gretsch Drum Nites at Birdland in the late 1950’s, and early 1960’s.
When Max Roach called me in the summer of 1970, I initially thought that we were going to pursue the “Rise and Fly” concept; but Max said, “No, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to explore percussion.”
Percussion has the widest range of timbre (tone color) than any family of instruments associated with ensembles in western culture, i.e. wider than (reeds) in a jazz orchestra, wood winds, brass or strings in a modern Symphonic Orchestra.
Percussion directly connects to “world music” as it embodies instruments, musical forms and elements from Africa, Caribbean, Asia, South America, and Europe.
Beginning in September 1970 and continuing through September 1971, M’Boom rehearsed every Saturday discovering and learning all categories and combinations of percussion. In the summer of 1972, M’Boom embarked on its first European tour. Subsequent tours followed; France, Belgium, Netherlands in 1973; Germany in 1974; Italy, Spain and France in 1977 and 1978. The 1980’s was particularly productive period with tours continuing to Europe and college campuses and beginning of recording activity; the first album entitled M’Boom Re-Percussion, RVC-RVJ6001, in 1980; M’Boom, Columbia Records-1981; College Soul Note 1984; M’Boom live at S.O.B.s Mesa Blue Moon-1992; After Max Roach’s death in 2007, and the death of three other members, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith and Ray Mantilla vowed to fulfill the vision originally planned for M’Boom.
Joe Chambers has worked with some of the most influential jazz figures of the last several decades and is a recognized performer and composer whose works have been performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a sideman and leader, Chambers has recorded more than 500 albums and CDs. He has performed and recorded with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Andrew Hill and many more. Chamber’s credits include Hubbard’s “Breaking Point,” Hutcherson’s “Components,” Shorter’s “Schizophrenia.” and “Etcetera,” Hill’s “Compulsion,” and Tyner’s “Tender Moments,” as well as Archie Shepp’s “New Thing at Newport,” Charles Mingus’ “Like a Bird,” Chick Corea’s “Tones for Joan’s Bones,” and many others. Chambers’ compositions have been covered by Hutcherson, Hubbard and M’Boom; he has also contributed to soundtracks for several Spike Lee films, including “Mo’ Better Blues.” Chambers is the first Thomas S. Kenan Distinguished
Professor of Jazz in Department of Music at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His most recent recording is “Joe Chambers moving pictures orchestra live” of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City, Savant 2120, released May 2012 and was nominated for a Grammy in 2013.
Ray Mantilla entered the international spotlight in 1960 with flutist Herbie Mann, and later embarked on a series of national tours with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in Europe and Japan. In 1977, Mantilla became the first North American Latin musician to play in Cuba since the Cuban Revolution. Mantilla has recorded on more than 200 albums. Some of his credits include Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Ray Barretto, Gato Barbieri, Sonny Stitt, Bobby Watson, Herbie Mann, Tito Puente, Cedar Walton, and Freddie Hubbard. In 2003, Mantilla signed with Savant Records and released his first record for the label, “Man-TiYa.”
Warren I. Smith has performed extensively in the studio and on Broadway. As the 1960’s and 70’s progressed, Smith found himself working amid a flourishing mass of creative personalities in the Motown music scene, empowering his already articulate voice within the jazz community; live performances, recordings, and tours with figures like Dionne Warwick, Nat King Cole, Harry Belfonte, and Aretha Franklin all became part of Smith’s credits through 1978. Concurrently, Smith began teaching at Adelphi University in 1969 and alter at the State University of New York in Old Westbury from 1971-1996. He has also recorded with Quincy Jones, Barbara McNair, Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Gil Evans, Johnny Richards, and Nancy Wilson. He has performed on Broadway in “Lena Horne, the Lady and her Music,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Guys and Dolls.” He has remained a prominent percussionist and drummer within the jazz world.
Bobby Sanabria is an American drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, educator of Puerto Rican descent who specializes in jazz and Latin jazz. An 8X Grammy nominee as a leader, he is the musical director of Quarteto Aché, Sexteto Ibiano, Ascensión, and his Multiverse Big Band. Sanabria is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Seven of Sanabria’s albums have been nominated for a Grammy Award: Afro-Cuban Dream: Live & In Clave!!! (2000), 50 Years of Mambo – A Tribute To Damaso Prado (2003), Big Band Urban Folktales (2007) Kenya Revisited Live!!! (2009), Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! (2011), Multiverse – nominated for two Grammys (2012), West Side Story Reimagined (2018).
This presentation attempts to expand upon M’Boom’s initial concept of a single instrument family to collaboration with strings (string quartet, bassist), reeds (saxophone and flute player), and vocalist.
Mavis Swan Poole
Crowned “Little Ella” by legendary tromobonist Curtis Fuller, award winning vocalist/composer/lyricist Mavis “SWAN” Poole is generating quite a buzz on the music scene. Swan is graced with an unrivaled brilliance of shattering barriers with her rich and smoky sound, and effortlessly amalgamates jazz, R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop. This sassy, soulful, fiery SongBird is often compared to vocalists like Erykah Badu, Ella Fitzgerald, Jill Scott, Dinah Washington, and Abbey Lincoln.