Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, a world-class drummer whose remarkably wide-ranging talents took him into the worlds of jazz, rock, pop, R&B, funk, disco and even country music, died Feb. 3, as reported by Rolling Stone. Chancler was 65.
If he’d done nothing else, his drumming on Michael Jackson’s 1982 multiplatinum “Billie Jean” would have guaranteed Chancler a place in the music history books. But that barely scratched the enormous surface. In jazz alone, Chancler worked with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk, the Crusaders, Patrice Rushen, Hubert Laws, Stanley Clarke, Eddie Harris, Julian Priester, Joe Henderson, Harold Land, George Benson, Bobby Hutcherson, Jean-Luc Ponty and many others, including Weather Report (1975’s Tale Spinnin’). He recorded and toured with George Duke from 1972-80.