Began playing professionally at age 16. Recorded first record with Martha & Vandella's (Motown) at age 17, working in the Apollo Theatre house band, under the direction of Quincy Jones.
Worked his way through college (Aldelphi University- Garden City, New York) playing jazz six nights a week. Graduated 1965. B.A. Degree.
Went to Africa for three years--performing with various African bands (e.g. Guy Warren, Fela Ransome Kuti, Alpha Jazz Band, Leone Starrs, Black Star Tour) for the governments of several African nations including Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Congo, Morocco and Egypt.
First jazz musician to receive first of several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, under the chairmanship of Nancy Hanks