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Herlin Riley NYC Show to Go On Without Herlin Riley

The drummer's recent surgery will keep him out of a Feb. 21 "Sounds of Cuba and New Orleans" performance

Herlin Riley
Herlin Riley at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: Alan Nahigian)

A concert in the Appel Room this Friday (Feb. 21) at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) is billed as “Herlin Riley Presents: Sounds of Cuba and New Orleans.” But any attendees looking for Riley himself there will look in vain. Yesterday afternoon in an email sent by JALC to ticket holders for the show, the lauded drummer announced that due to recent surgery, he will not be able to perform. However, the show will go on in his absence.

“While I’m optimistically on the road to recovery,” Riley wrote, “I regret that I can’t make the concert. I’ll be there in spirit – and will be watching the livestream [at jazz.org] too!”

Riley added that he had been working on organizing the show for more than a year, “and I’ve invited a few of my great musical associates, including my protégé on drums, Joe Dyson; my longtime friend and fellow New Orleanian, Nic Payton; and Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez, to carry on in my absence. Not to worry – this will be the exact same show, concept, artists and all, as you would have experienced had I been able to attend.”

No further information about the nature of Riley’s surgery was available at press time.