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Master percussionist, quintet perform

Submitted photo.

Master percussionist Babatunde Lea and his quintet will perform a concert of African rhythms, Afro-Caribbean spiced music, and straight ahead jazz on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

Lea has performed with a diversity of artists, such as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston, Van Morrison, Oscar Brown Jr. and Pharoah Sanders. His inventiveness and showmanship behind the trap drum kit that he plays simultaneously with a surrounding array of congas and percussion (an innovative set up which he calls a traponga) delights audiences and routinely inspires standing ovations.

The way that music connects with audiences and with the rhythms of our everyday lives is essential to his musical philosophy. Lea explains, “I draw a lot from African culture, and one of the main things Iíve come to understand is that music is functional; in African culture, music accompanies everything ... from birth ceremonies to funerals. The music is there to open people up to the deepest experiences of life.”

The members of the quintet have impressive credits.

--Richard Johnson, piano, was a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, played with the Russell Malone Quartet and Irvin Mayfield’s Quintet, and has performed around the world.

--Anthony Cox, acoustic bass, performed in the New York jazz scene as well as the international jazz scene beginning in 1981 and continues to tour nationally and internationally.

--Soloman Parham, trumpet, has played with such well respected musicians as Delfeayo Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Eric Kamau Gravatt, saxophonist Eric Alexander, and bassist Christian McBride, to name a few.

--Peter Whitman, tenor sax, has performed with such distinguished ensembles and musicians as the Minnesota Orchestra, Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the JazzMN Orchestra, JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet, Laura Caviani, and the X-tet. Tickets are $24 for adults and $17 for students of all ages. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at (715) 386-8409 or online at