Don Alias and Miles Davis
M'tume just didn't draw from Afro- Cuban or Latino roots in percussion, though he had his own unique sound. Miles wanted both M'tume's sound and mine in his music, so I tried to compliment M'tume's music with my Afro- Cuban roots, but it was sometimes difficult to make the sounds compatible. I really wanted it to work, but it was hard because he had some sort of challenge going on with me. If I mentioned that I was going to play three conga drums, he would arrogantly tell me that was what he was going to do.
During that time, I played conga drums without any small percussion instruments aside from the occasional cowbell, so M'tume and I were really trying to make our conga sounds merge. Later on Miles had Airto Moreira, who was one of those percussionists; along with Nana Vasconcelos,who was well-schooled in Brazilian hand percussion. They really changed the course of fusion by introducing new textures and sounds to percussion.
On parts of Live/Evil (Columbia, 1971) he used Airto, and I have to say that he was the one who showed hand drummers like me about the small hand percussion and textures. I had shied away from smaller percussion instruments for a long time because I didn't want to deal with it. I was a conga player. For the time being however, M'tume and I were really concentrating on congas. As well, M'tume and N'dugu were really concentrating on being as African as an American could be.
Contrary to certain individual's belief, there are a lot of soulful people of many colors out there who can play percussion and drums. People of Africa and of African descent have a certain indigenous thing that lets us say this in our music, but if you travel the world, you will find out that there are a lot of other people out there that can play our music.
Page 1, Miles Davis: Anthony Barboza
Page 2, Don Alias: Melanie Futorian