Mickey Hart

Best known for several decades as drummer/percussionist with Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart's innovatory instincts have also led him into bold explorations of many other areas of music, notably playing a significant role in broadening awareness and interest in world music. He is also widely recognised as one of the world's foremost authorities on the history of drums, releasing the landmark 'At the Edge' album in 1990 and assembling many of the world's most celebrated percussionists on 'Planet Drum' the following year, which achieved the first Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. He's also written several books on the history and traditions of drumming and released a series of groundbreaking solo albums. Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 1943, he became fascinated with drums at school, taking after his absentee father Lenny Hart, who was also a drummer featured on old newsreels of the 1939 World's Fair. Hart played drums with a state band and was further inspired by watching the great Latin percussionist Tito Puente perform in a local jazz club, later being mentored by the Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji. Dropping out of school he joined the Air Force and played with a big band - The Airmen of Note - modelled on the Glenn Miller Orchestra. While stationed in Spain he heard and played with jazz greats Count Basie and Gerry Mulligan and it was after meeting Basie's drummer Sonny Payne that he decided on his dreams of being a professional musician. He realised this ambition after joining Grateful Dead in 1967, sharing drumming duties with Bill Kreutzmann, and he soon played a key role in creating the band's famous arrangements. Hampered by drug problems, he quit the band in 1971, releasing his first solo album 'Rolling Thunder' the following year, while adopting ambient styles on his score for the Bruce Lee movie 'The Silent Flute'. He was formally reinstated by Grateful Dead in 1976, remaining with them until their split 20 years later following the death of Jerry Garcia. But he became closely involved with their legacy as a leading light in the various offshoots that followed, working with other members of the band in The Other Ones, The Dead and Dead & Company. During this period his interest in ethnomusicology deepened as he wrote several books, travelled widely, researched folklore at the Smithsonian Institute and the American Folklife Center, and became a significant champion of world music, while fostering one of the world's biggest collections of percussion instruments. In 2010 he launched the 'Rhythms of the Universe' project, featuring music based on astrophysical data in consultation with the University of California and other colleges. Constantly touring and recording, the ever-restless and energetic Hart released a brand new solo album 'RAMU' (Random Access Musical Universe) in late 2017 exploring new technology and sonic patterns.

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Stations Featuring Mickey Hart

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