Fredy Studer, Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang

FREDY STUDER was born on June 16, 1948, in Lucerne (Switzerland), where he also lives today. Studer began playing the drums at the age of 16, after four years of "Basel drumming". He is an autodidact with a highly diverse spectrum of music styles, encompassing march and dance music, as well as beat, folk, rock, psychedelic, blues, jazz rock, rhythm 'n blues and be-bop, free jazz, free funk and improvisation. Studer's music performances since the early seventies have been as eclectic as his freelance activities with musicians, ranging from "A", as in John Abercrombie, to "Z", as in John Zorn.

Fredy Studer founded "OM", the electricjazz-freemusic group, together with Urs Leimgruber, Christy Doran und Bobby Burri in 1972. The Brazilian percussionist Dom Um Romao has been a part-time member of the band since 1977.

Fredy Studer was also the drummer for both the "Franco Ambrosetti Quartet" and the "Franco Ambrosetti-George Gruntz Quintet" (together with Joe Henderson and Miroslav Vitous or with Larry Schneider and Dave Holland) and for "Percussion Profiles" (with Jack DeJohnette, Pierre Favre, Dom Um Romao, David Friedman and George Gruntz).

During the eighties, Studer performed with the following trios: "Brüninghaus/Stockhausen/Studer" and "Red Twist & Tuned Arrow" (with Stephan Wittwer and Christy Doran); in the percussion ensemble "Singing Drums" (with Paul Motian, Pierre Favre and Nana Vasconcelos); in the "Charlie Mariano Jasper van't Hof Group"; and in the "Bourquin/Francioli/Studer" trio. In addition, he was the drummer for "Hand in Hand", Hardy Hepp’s band.

In 1987, Studer worked as a member of the "Robyn Schulkowsky Ensemble" and interpreted pieces by such composers as Charles Ives, Steve Reich, Edgard Varèse and John Cage for the first time.

During the nineties, Studer was the drummer in the "Doran/Studer/Burri/Magnenat" band (later "Doran/Studer/Gerber/Magnenat"), for the "Doran/Studer/ Minton/Bates & Ali (later "Doran/Studer/ Minton/Ali & Cora) play the music of Jimi Hendrix" project, as well as with "Doran/Studer/Tacuma/Jenny-Clark".

From 2000 to its disbandment, Studer was a member of the "Four in Time" drum quartet (with Daniel Humair, Pierre Favre and Fritz Hauser) and played for more than 25 years together with Pierre Favre as a duo under the name "Drum Orchestra".

Fredy Studer has performed at festivals, has given concerts and workshops, has recorded for radio and television, as well as music for dance productions and radio plays, theatre and film music in Europe, Africa, Japan, Central and South America, the Caribbean, in Taiwan, India, Russia and in Canada and the USA. He has been honoured with numerous prizes and awards.

MICHAEL ZERANG was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.

Michael has collaborated with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in collaboration with Redmoon Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000.

As a percussionist and composer, Michael has over eighty titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 34 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of collaborators.

Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link's Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. Michael has been a Board Member of Links Hall Since 1989. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 - 2005.

Michael has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer/Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House.

Michael currently tours and holds workshops in improvisational music, and teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.

By the close of the 1990s, HAMID DRAKE was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in improvised music.

Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson, and Ken Vandermark, among others.

Hamid Drake was born in Monroe, LA, in 1955, and later moved to Chicago with his family. He ended up taking drum lessons with Fred Anderson's son, eventually taking over the son's role as percussionist in Anderson's group. As a result, Fred Anderson also introduced Drake to George Lewis and other AACM members.

Drake also has performed world music; by the late '70s, he was a member of Foday Muso Suso's Mandingo Griot Society, and has played reggae.

Hamid Drake has been a member of the Latin jazz band Night on Earth, the Georg Graewe Quartet, the DKV Trio, Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Octet/Tentet, and Liof Munimula, the oldest free improvising ensemble in Chicago.
Drake has also worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Mahmoud Gania, bassist William Parker (in a large number of lineups), and has performed a solstice celebration with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang semiannually since 1991.

USA / Switzerland