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Interviews

Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez : One Size Fits All

By Published: February 23, 2004
Now he makes his living mixing and matching musical situations, making others look good, he hopes. He doesn't consider himself a jazz drummer, particularly, just a musician. A percussionist who brings to the table what is necessary in a given circumstance. "I think it's many different styles. They call it now World Music. But of course the Afro-Cuban influence may be my main vein, sort of," he says.

It's not complicated to El Negro. He loves the diversity and doesn't have any preference for what type of music is being played. That's life. "The biggest pleasure is to be able to be able to play with other musicians that really know what they are doing. There's two kinds of music: there's good music and bad music. So, when you play with people that know the style and they have a big experience making music, it's really a big pleasure. Even when you're playing on the street."

"It's been great. The last three years have been totally crazy," he says with satisfaction.

He still teaches some, about four weeks out of the year, but his focus is on playing. He's in demand and capitalizing on it, and he's excited about the impending CD.

"We're making a CD of two drummers, Robby Ameen and myself. We are sort of in the mixing process now. We're very happy the whole thing is coming out. As a matter of fact we had a gig last night at the Knitting Factory, we played with the band for the first time," says El Negro. "We have a million guests. Reuben Blades does a song. Jack Bruce. John Beasley. We had the chance to have so many friends to help us in this project, that it's really sounding good."

El Negro is still driven. A thirst for knowledge and new experience is behind that drive.

"That's the beauty of the music. Nobody knows nothing at the end. Every day playing with every musician is always like going to school. The thing that I enjoy more, maybe, is learning."

Where will his place be as a drummer? It's not a question that's on his mind. "I don't know. Maybe I have something. Maybe the variety of styles and the possibility to adapt to what the leader wants out of a drummer. Somebody that makes his music the best he hears it, and that doesn't bother him," he says tongue-in-cheek.

"I always say I wish I was more busy. There's been lots the last three years now. I hope it doesn't go down," he chuckles. "I will keep trying."

Visit Horacio "El Negro Hernandez on the web at www.elnegro.com .



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