Yogi Horton was an in demand session drummer from the 70’s and 80’s that played with Luther Vandross and many other great artists of the time. He left us too soon at the age of 33. This is a clip from an instructional video in which he breaks down groove drumming. His words are as meaningful as his playing.
More from Modern Drummer:
Modern Drummer online, along with some of Yogi Hortons closest musical friends, is paying tribute this month to the great R&B drummer, who tragically passed away twenty years ago, in June of 1987. At the time of his untimely death, Yogi was the go-to guy for hundreds of sessions, as well as the touring/recording drummer for the late R&B singer Luther Vandross and legendary singer/songwriters Ashford & Simpson. This online tribute is a continuation from piece we published in the August 07 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.
The History Of R&B/Funk Drumming, featuring Yogi Horton, is one of the very first instructional type videos of its kind. The video, which was produced by Hudson Music founders Paul Siegel and Rob Wallis in association with DCI in 1983, has unfortunately been out of print for sometime now. Pauls recollection is that Yogi came up with a very strong presentation for the concept right on the spot. There wasnt any real discussion beforehand as I recall. He just launched into this spontaneous rap about R&B drumming, particularly Benny Benjamin, the genius drummer at Motown. We were so inexperienced in video production at the time, though, so the audio was recorded very poorly, and the video was rendered almost un-releasable.
Rob Wallis recalls, I first met Yogi in 1980/81, at an Ashford & Simpson rehearsal, through a friend of mine, Pete Cannarozzi, who was their keyboard player. I had already heard about Yogis playing and incredible groove, but had never seen him play live beforeId only heard him on records. When I first walked into the rehearsal room, I remember hearing a huge amount of laughter and soon realized at the center of it was Yogi telling some story or joke.