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Milford Graves

Milford Graves was into his own version of World Music long before there was the term. His individualistic approach to the rudiments of drumming and its rhythmic pulses were light years ahead of most musicians. Yet he found musical colleagues and an audience for his forays into the deep end of free jazz.

A native New Yorker, and exposed to Latin rhythms, he started out as a child on congas, then became a teenage timbales player in a Latin band from 1959 through the early ‘60’s, Graves switched to a trap set after seeing Elvin Jones with Coltrane. From 1964 he was an essential member of the New Thing movement in New York City, and backing up Amiri Baraka's Harlem poetry readings.

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