Musician, Educator, Drums/Vibraphone Teacher at Azande "Drummin" Cummings Percussion Academy
Five decades after first playing bongos in the subways of New York City, 61 years old percussionist Azande "Drummin" Cummings has managed to still be a well-oiled drumming machine. Now leading the pristine jazz ensemble “The 2013 Ase’ Jazz Band”, featuring pianist Yuki Yamaguchi, saxophonist Herb Lewis and bassist Shelly Spruill . Azande was born on September 1, 1951 in Harlem N.Y. and raised in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. Although bongos was his first instrument, he started studying drumset at the S.U.N.Y at Old Westbury in 1972. By the time Azande was half through, he was already performing professionally with New York finest musicians: Richard Williams, Roland Alexander and Wes Belcamp. After completing his degree in musical performance, Azande relocated to Texas to attend North Texas State University. Azande's burgeoning popularity and fine musicianship was quickly validated by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which awarded him its Jazz Drummer of the Year Award in 1980. It was in 1981, while working with renowned Texan duo, tenor saxophonist Marchel Ivery and pianist Al Malacara, that he met jazz legendary pianist Red Garland. One year later Red Garland asked Azande to join his band. "Red bought me a beer and asked me to join the group and I didn't stop smiling for a week", Azande recollects. In 1983 Azande opted to return to New York City to command the drum chair for the Broadway musical Ain't Mis Behavin at Neil's New Yorker. For the next three decades he has performed in over a hundred Broadway musicals, an Associate Professor of Music at Five Towns College and leads the Ase' Jazz Band. As of late Azande has moved into much deeper territory recording and performing on vibraphone with B-Jazz Duo in collaboration with the pristine pianist Yuki Yamaguchi. Look for the 2013 Ase' Jazz, new release and tour - ambitious project for the drummer for all seasons. Just another stop in what has been shaping up like an impressive Jazz career.