Some people say that drums are not a lead instrument. For the most part, I think that’s true. However, some drummers are so exceptional that we justify departing from that rule. Case in point, Buddy Rich. The same can be said of our next guest who, in his own right, is a lead instrument even though most players in his role would not ordinarily be thought of as being one.
Enter Grammy Nominated Luis Conte, percussionist extraordinaire. If you like music, you have probably heard Luis particularly if you listen to the likes of Phil Collins, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Madonna, Colbie Caillat, Herp Albert, Cher, Goo Goo Dolls, Eric Clapton, Enrique Iglesias, Elton John, Ozzy Osborne, and, Barbara Streisand. This Summer you can catch Luis again touring with James Taylor.
For the musicians in the crowd, you also have spoken about our guest. Luis was voted “Percussionist of the Year” in various Modern Drummer Reader’s Polls (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012); he was declared “Percussionist of the Year” in Drum Magazine (2007, 2008, 2009); and he was also named “Studio Percussionist of the Year” in Drum Magazine (2007, 2008, 2009).
I like to think of Luis like this. Have you heard the commonly asked question as to whom you would choose to be stuck with in a difficult situation like a desert island or a foxhole? Well, by way of analogy, if you ask musicians who would they most want to bring on a gig I can see many people saying Luis. Luis struck me as being a down to earth, honest, realistically assessing, multi-faceted musician who would and could take on any gig and make it work out great. Name the effect and he’ll find it; name the sound and he’ll emulate it.
Luis’ diversity is perhaps eclipsed only by the sheer number of instruments he plays. He is the quintessential human encyclopedia of percussion and a joy to speak to and watch perform. I can see why he’s in demand and I feel confident you will too if you did not know that already. Therefore, please join me in taking a look at the world of percussion through the eyes of Luis Conte.
KEN “K BO” BIEDZYNSKI