Stix Hooper

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Nesbert "Stix" Hooper (born August 15, 1938, Houston, Texas, United States) is an American drummer, best known as a founding member of the seminal jazz band, The Crusaders. He and Hubert Laws, who left the group to attend Juilliard in 1960, are the only surviving members of the original group, Jazz Crusaders, which became The Crusaders. Hooper retired from the Crusaders in the early-2000s.

A native of Houston, Texas, Hooper developed an interest in music, drums and percussion at an early age. Starting in junior high, under the direction of George Magruder, the school's band director, Hooper began devoting much of his time to the study of all aspects of music including composition, song writing, etc. Studying at Phillis Wheatley High School, spearheaded by band director, Sammy Harris, Hooper eventually formed a band called the Swingsters, later on the Modern Jazz Sextet. While matriculating at Texas Southern University, Hooper received continual coaching from members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and other local professional musicians. Upon moving to the west coast, he studied music at California State University, Los Angeles, and also received coaching from well-known private instructors and his personal mentors. During this time the Jazz Crusaders were formed eventually becoming the Crusaders.

This intensive musical education helped Hooper polish his artistry and enabled his craftmanship to be so diverse that he has been able to perform and collaborate with a wide range of artists in the mainstream of pop and contemporary music. Hooper has performed, collaborated, composed with and produced for a wide range, including Arthur Fiedler, George Shearing, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, B.B. King, Grant Green, Grover Washington, Jr., Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Wilson, Rolling Stones and many more.

Hooper is credited with creating an original style of drumming that has been incorporated in jazz as well as other musical genres, called "jazz funk." He is a long time endorser, player and contributor to Pearl through its development during the 1960s and 1970s beginning in Chiba, Japan. It's been said,[by whom?] "Stix Hooper should be any drummer's go-to-guy when they wanna learn about "the pocket." (Music Connection) "Drummer Stix Hooper's band, Viewpoint, set the bar high for what was to follow. Paced by Hooper's dynamic percussion work, the group moved easily and smoothly from brisk mainstream jazz to more propulsive grooves." (Don Heckman, The Los Angeles Times; RE: The Playboy Jazz Festival)

In addition, Hooper has contributed much to the world of music and to the Jazz Community through his work with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammy Awards organization), where he served as the National Vice Chairman (the first African American to do so), having previously served three terms as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NARAS (the first ever three term President, and only the second African American President of that chapter).

Among the numerous acknowledgements and accolades, Hooper has garnered are 12 Grammy nominations, No. 1 awards from various music media, named one of the top drummers/musicians by Downbeat, Playboy Magazine and other publications, received an invitation to the White House, keys to major US cities and several international honors.

Discography[edit]

As leader

  • The World Within (MCA Records, 1979)
  • Touch the feeling (MCA Records, 1982 )
  • Lay it on the line (Artful Balance, 1989)
  • Many hats (Stix Hooper Enterprises, 2010)

With The (Jazz) Crusaders

With Joe Williams and George Shearing

With Gerald Wilson

References[edit]