Prolific session musician and producer Leon Ndugu Chancler, who played drums on classic tracks ‘Billie Jean’, ‘P.Y.T.’ and ‘Baby Be Mine’, died on Saturday at the age 65. The cause death is not yet known at this time.
During his six decade long career Chancler performed or collaborated with a host legendary musicians, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Weather Report, Hugh Masekela, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Richie, James Brown and Tina Turner, among others.
Roots drummer Questlove posted a tribute on his Instagram where he broke down Chancler's contribution to Michael Jackson’s tracks ‘Billie Jean’, ‘P.Y.T.’ and ‘Baby Be Mine’ in 1982:
"In my opinion, the 'Billie Jean' intro is the greatest example something so simple that you take it for granted. But if you truly dissect it. It's a complex compelling performance. The tone is spot on. Enough snap on the snare but not too thin that it enters Ska/James Brown crack snare territory.
"The performance] literally gives MJ his DNA. You know what it is one second in. Its creator, Jazz/funk great #NduguChancler (mind you on a gazillion other hit songs) passed away today. Giving all due respect and praise to the drummer that sparked a revolution dance madness breakbeat mania."
Read about the impact Michael Jackson had on the art world , check out a posthumous project called 'Scream' and watch his first ever moonwalk
View Questlove's tribute below.