In 1975 Pheeroan akLaff made his first music on the New York stages and began a recording career that has produced hundreds of recordings with innovative composers. He is the man behind the set of countless revolutionary artists, contributing four decades of an identifiable drumming language.
Inspired by former drummer of John Coltrane Rashied Ali, whom he met through Robert Ferris Thompson, Pheeroan made his initial music in New York and on international festivals with Wadada Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, and eventually with iconic masters Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman, Sonny Sharrock, Andrew Hill, Tom Pierson, and Yamashita Yosuke.
As a native Detroiter, who also spent a short time living in Ivory Coast and Nigeria, he has integrated this experience into his drum and cymbal orchestrations.
“the exceptionally sensitive drummer, Pheeroan akLaff, (is) free to provide cross-rhythms and textural elaborations…proving that a resourceful modern percussionist can be (should be?) perfectly at home playing both spontaneous jazz and tightly structured dance-floor funk.…..fastidious, percussive perfectionist who plays with crisp, pinpoint definition and always goes for the groove. Robert Palmer, New York Times,
Pheeroan is Executive Director of the Non-Profit arts organization, Seed Artists, and curator at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
He teaches at Wesleyan University, and leads workshops worldwide.