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Milford Graves

Milford Graves (August 20, 1941 – February 12, 2021) was an American jazz drummer, percussionist, Professor Emeritus of Music, researcher/inventor, visual artist/sculptor, gardener/herbalist, and martial artist. He made significant contributions to avant-garde music in the 1960s and is considered a pioneer of free jazz. Graves liberated percussion from its traditional timekeeping role and his innovative approach influenced many musicians. John Zorn described him as a "20th-century shaman."

Throughout his career, Milford Graves collaborated with notable artists such as Paul Bley, Albert Ayler, and the New York Art Quartet. His unique style and experimental techniques set him apart in the jazz scene. In addition to his musical endeavors, Graves was also an accomplished visual artist and sculptor.

Beyond his artistic pursuits, Milford Graves had a passion for gardening and herbalism. He integrated these interests into his holistic approach to life and creativity. Additionally, he practiced martial arts which further shaped his discipline and focus as an artist.


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