PERUGIA, Italy--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DL Media is proud to announce that multi-Grammy Award winning drummer extraordinaire, improvisational composer, and leader of a cutting edge Cuban-born, Italian-based quartet,Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, will be awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music on Thursday, July 15 in recognition of his extraordinary musicianship and many career achievements. The honorary degree will be presented on the main stage of the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy by Berklee's vice president, Larry Monroe.
Berklee, the world's largest college of music, was founded on two revolutionary ideas: that musicianship could be taught through the music of the time; and that their students needed practical, professional skills for successful, sustainable music careers. Through the years, Berklee has presented doctorate degrees to many important figures who embodied the spirit of their mission, including luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, William "Count" Basie, Quincy Jones, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Chick Corea, and many others.
El Negro has been the power behind the most popular and influential Latin music of the past decade. Since leaving Cuba and arriving in New York, he's driven the efforts of Grammy Award-winners Listen Here (Eddie Palmieri), Live at the Blue Note (Michel Camilo),Supernatural (Carlos Santana), No Es Lo Mismo (Alejandro Sanz), and Crisol (Roy Hargrove). El Negro has also recorded with Chucho Valdes, Paquito D'Rivera, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Robbie Ameen, among others. His performance Live at the Modern Drummer Festival 2000 (Hudson Music), with Allman Brothers' percussionist Marc Quiñones and late saxophone great Michael Brecker, lives on explosive video footage.
With a family that has always had a rich musical heritage deeply rooted in traditional Cuban music and American Jazz currents, the immense talent that El Negro possessed became evident early on in his musical life. At the age of twelve, El Negro was accepted by the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte, where he majored in drums and percussion. There he studied with the finest Cuban teachers, including Fausto Garcia Rivera, himself a student of Laurence Stone and Henry Adler; Enrique Pla, the drummer for the ground breaking group, Irakere; and Santiago Reiter, the most influential of modern Cuban drums and percussion.
As a follow up to their last recording, Italuba II (Cacao Musica), El Negro's band will be releasing Italuba III, a double album melding World Jazz with the legacy of Latin Music. The first disc will present Italuba celebrating the Afro-Cuban big band legacy, as the quartet performs both stateside with the Arturo O'Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and in Rome, Italy with the Parco Della Musica Jazz Orchestra, turning in big band arrangements of Italuba and Italuba II repertoire. The second disc will offer new material performed by the original Italuba quartet, with each track featuring a different percussion maestro of El Negro's generation: Marc Quiñones, Luis Conte, Karl Perazzo, Luisito Quintero, Richie Flores, and Giovanni Hidalgo. The album, produced under his own record label, "El Negro and Reusing Records, Inc.", will hit the streets in late 2010.
El Negro has appeared as the cover of over fourteen of the major percussion publications worldwide in countries that include the United States, Brazil, China, South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Italy, and more.