Legendary session drummer Ndugu Chancler, who worked with many of musics’ most notable acts over a 50-plus year career passed away on Saturday (Feb. 3) at 65-years-old.
Born Leon Chancler in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1952, Ndugu provided the grooves for the likes of Thelonius Monk, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Richie, and perhaps most famously, Michael Jackson. The drummer crafted the legendary intro to one of Jackson’s biggest hits 1983’s “Billie Jean.” Chancler is also co-credited as a songwriter on Dazz Band’s Grammy-nominated 1982 record “Let It Whip.
Fellow musicians hit the social sphere to express their condolences and praise the groove-maker. The Roots drummer Questlove composed a lengthy ode to Chancler on Instagram, breaking down his impact on pop music and Michael Jackson’s musical DNA.
Chancler’s wife confirmed his death to Rolling Stone, although a cause of death has not yet been revealed.