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Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? - Music/Radio - Nairaland

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Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by smartsoft(m): 5:43pm On Oct 31, 2006
guys What do you think huh ? cos me i know in nigerians they don't value all this kind of things who is the best Pianist or Keyboardist in Nigeria And if you know how to play the keyboard how many shows have you been to, How many peeps or Artist have you played for, And What kind of highest Keyboard have you played.

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what do you feel about organising a Drummers Day In nigeria huh ? first of is kind ooo so we know who is who the best drummer in Nigeria.

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Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by duncoles: 3:54pm On Feb 25, 2013
The best keyboardist Nigeria has ever produced is.... Let me paraphrase... one of the very best keyboardist Nigeria has ever produced.. is late now (2002)... he is none other than the Abanobi Echezona who lived in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I cannot begin to enumerate here all what he did on the piano... but the best I can tell you is that you can classify him as a PRODIGY or a GENIUS! Geniuses are way beyond ordinary musicians.

To give you an approximate idea how good this guy was... the first time I met Aba playing the piano was around 1990? or early 1991, when he was a 15 yrs old and I last saw him in 1994. I never could follow his fingers with my eyes while he played... it was like human being of this era trying to comprehend 4th World War when 3rd World War has not been fought! A genius is someone you cannot understand, or placed, while performing, no matter his/her age. This guy, even at 15, was already a great jazz machine... and his favorite keyboard then was Korg M1. He was the first, and maybe the last, pianist to make me shed 'a gallon of tears' while playing.... hearing Aba play, was like standing in the presence of God; the emotions and beauty his cadence produced was beyond comprehension!

When I became a good keyboardist in 1994, (I worked very hard trying to emulate Aba to no avail; although, I was sure no man could copy this guy, verbatim, I decided to evaluate Aba on three major tests: #1: whether my eyes could follow the speed of his fingers while playing; #2: To understand and test his sense of tonality (hearing); and #3:How good was his left-hand? Of course, his right hand was above-board.

To put my doubts to rest about his abilities, Aba took me to the music department (1993) in UNN, where there were grand pianos... insisting that electronic keyboard was a toy made of plastic, that any great keyboardist who failed to play well on the grand piano cannot be labeled a 'pianist'... there and then, Aba played on the grand piano what I titled 'A NEVER ENDING JAZZ'. He just bang and bang on the piano for about 30 minutes non-stop with dazzling cadence, syncopation, way beyond my poor mind. Woefully for me, my eyes couldn't keep track of his speeding fingers and neither could I remember, afterward, what he'd done because it was full of complexities. After that day, I hated myself and became discouraged/disillusioned and refused to touch the keyboard for more than a month.

Do you know why? Initially, I wasn't a keyboardist at all. But seeing a 15yr old dazzling on the piano, it made me to learn the keyboard with such a zest because I thought I was an intelligent guy (I got A1 in Maths to say the least). So I became very good on the piano within 3 months (all I could play today and maybe tomorrow was imbedded in that 3-month hard work)... alas I couldn't improve much further after that. You'd say I peaked too soon! So at my peak in 1994, I estimated that, for me to play that NEVER ENDING JAZZ that Aba had just played, it would take me 8hrs of rehearsal, daily, for 5yrs to meet his speed, accuracy, beauty, and precision. But I may never never catch up with him though. (I once observed Aba from afar rehearsing, personally, on a grand piano in his house from 8:00 am in the morning till 9:00 pm in the night, with occasional breaks in-between, till I left....) So that made me discouraged/disillusioned to the extent that I have made up my mind never to compete with any upcoming keyboardist because there was an Aba I may never meet up with!

At my request, on the chords Aba was holding, he slowed down and showed me, for the first time in slow motion, what he was holding and that made me scared to say the least... Aba had large fingers and was able to hold up to 7-note chords, as often as he wished! When I asked him, in amazement, how he was able to hold up to 7 notes with 5 fingers, Aba simply increased the number of notes he was holding for each chords, all played in progression and without stopping. He showed me, slowly, that he could hold two notes with only one finger, if need be, that could amount to 8, 9 or 10 note chords (just with only five fingers). After that I dare not ask this guy anything... I was really baffled! I realized that this guy was not ordinary and he was way ahead of his generations in matters pertaining to music and thereafter I relinquished the thoughts of trying to fathom what he was doing...

What about Aba's sense of tonality??!! I came to the conclusion, when I read recently in a BBC documentary that autistic genius in music (and very few individuals) often attain to 'perfect pitch' in the test of tonality (hearing). According to this documentary, it is a very rare phenomenon in life that happens among few musicians or individuals, maybe, in a ratio of 1 : 50, 000. A person with a sense of 'perfect pitch' can distinguish and identify by hearing alone the keys, notes, or chords of any musical instrument struck, even after many days. I think, going down memory lane, Aba had a 'perfect pitch' sense of tonality... a phenomenon, which was not understood by us in those days... but which I am drawing your attention to in a special way. And Aba maybe somewhat autistic too because he stammers very badly, a thing that runs in his family... (moreover, his dad was the first professor of music in Nigeria also reputed as the greatest pianist Nigeria have ever seen).

A professor of music was playing a classical piece on the grand piano in his house and my friend (the professor's son) and Aba were standing outside the house listening to him. My friend asked Aba to ascertain what key his father was playing that piece of music, and Aba (who stammers a lot) replied immediately: "On key E...and if you doubt me, go and check it out". And my friend went and check the keys his father was playing that piece on, and to his surprise, it was key E as Aba had said. When I heard that story, I decided not to test Aba on the issue of tonality, moreover as I have ascertain over and over again how good he was on that issue (he was the keyboardist in our campus fellowship and had demonstrated repeatedly on stage, how perfect he was on the issue of tonality... when someone was singing before he started playing, Aba would simply glide his fingers to the right keys... never ever striking the wrong note and he never fail to modulate immediately with a singer who suddenly goes off-key... Aba would follow him or her automatically to the next key as though it was a well planned event. Nevertheless, what made me marvel the most about Aba having a sense of 'perfect pitch' was when I asked him how good he was on the issue of tonality or hearing... he told me that he knows the sound of every key or note and that of every chord you may play on any octave!.. That meant that, if you are playing a minor sixth chord on key B and you are holding the first inversion of that chord on the fourth octave of a keyboard, and you blindfolded Aba, he would go straight to the fourth octave, and hold exactly the same chord and its inversion on key B without hesitation, after you uncover his eyes.

As you can see, that explained why Aba, was able to reproduce whatever he hears (verbatim) no matter the complexity of that music because he'd hear it once and remember it many days afterward. At the age of 15, Aba met a guy who was rehearsing a difficult classical piece in the music department, U.N.N (Aba was still in secondary school then), this guy claimed he had worked on that piece for 21 days. Aba just heard him played it once, casually, and played it far better and marvelously than even the original composer himself could have done, and walked away! There was also this jazz piece I spent many weeks working on and perfecting on E flat... I played it before Aba only once and very rapidly like the way he does. My idea was just to impress him and test his sense of tonality. Aba gave me the shock of my life.... he told me to repeat that piece of jazz again, and I purposefully refused to do that...nevertheless, Aba went ahead and played it accurately up to about 60% before stopping, abruptly. What marveled me about this whole affairs was that he'd played it verbatim up to 60% on a different key! I played it on Key E flat and he reproduced it on Key F! This was a handicapping scenario whereby I made sure Aba heard me only once, as I played a complicated piece of jazz very rapidly that took me days to score... and he was able to reproduce it 60% on a different key made me never to doubt his capabilities again! I knew very well what would have happened if I had played it very slowly, even once!

About Aba left hand??! My good friend had been boasting that since he was left handed (his father and Aba's father were music professors and contemporaries in U.N.N) he was better than Aba on his left hand. I thought otherwise... I warned him that it was of no use trying to match up with a prodigy... but my good friend would not listen to me and went ahead thrilling me with his left-hand. Me knowing full well that Aba is never shy of a fight, I went and informed Aba about it, so we now came to my good friend's house.

At the sight of Aba, my good friend heart failed him and he refused to challenge Aba ('cos Aba was hot tempered too)! But when Aba saw he wasn't ready to play, Aba nevertheless went into his parlor and mounted the grand piano there and began to play only with his left hand... to say the least, it was like a nightmare watching this guy on the piano... he did the very impossible... strumming, thumping, scaling, improvising, and at the same time holding chords with his left hand... all at blinding speed.... never slowing down but getting better and faster with each seconds. It seems as if a millisecond is enough time for a grand master pianist like Aba to play many many things.

The last and final test I gave Aba was on one of Ron Kenoly's song. Me and my good friend has worked for months on some of his songs, so that we believe that not even Aba can do better than us. But in the presence of Aba, all our courage just evaporated. My good friend who is also from a music family like Aba, wouldn't dare him. As for me, I had nothing to lose... they all know that I was learning from them (learning from my good friend as Aba couldn't teach you anything... he stammers a lot and he is not too friendly to people trying to learn from or copy him)... so I decided to play the Ron Kenoly's song in Aba's presence on a keyboard nearby, for it would have been a bad idea playing on a grand piano in the presence of Aba as I never could have mastered that device like him or my good friend... so I settled for the keyboard.

Aba took over and played the song himself... we were dumbfounded! It was nothing like we ever dream of or imagined... it was like there were 7musicians accompanying him to play. It was like, we were hearing so many instruments at once.. maybe a guitar, a piano, a drum, and trumpet and so. When Aba left the keyboard and went away. Me and my good friend rushed to look at the voice effect Aba selected and used in the keyboard... behold it was the jazz organ! We checked it over and over again (for we have noted that after Aba selected the voice, he did not change it till he left)... so it beat our imagination that only a jazz organ (no splitting or dual voice was used) could produce such array of sound under Aba's finger.

Let me stop here. The only keyboardist I have heard online that sounds and play as fast as Aba, is the all time greatest jazz pianist ever... the man that was reputed to revolutionized jazz with speed and improvisation, the all time great..ART TATUM himself. He lived from around 1920's to 1954 and he was somewhat blind! He stormed the whole world at the age of 24 in 1933 at a competition for pianist (on stride piano) in USA. He presented two songs 'Tea for Two' and 'Tiger Rag' that made him won the competition by storm!

You can google and watch it being played on You-tube... it will give you an approximate idea how fast Aba was and his dexterity in playing. There is no song, whether the hardest classical piece, that takes Aba more than once to hear and play!

Watch one very good keyboardist play the Art Tatum 'Tea for Two' on You-tube here, which took him 4yrs to practice on and off (of course more slower and less precise than the master himself)..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWy1AQ5-R1U
this good keyboardist of a guy said it took him 4yrs of practicing Art Tatum 'Tiger Rag' on-and-off to master it... yet he didn't play as good and as fast as Art Tatum himself! That was how Aba was to me and all the very good keyboardists in Nigeria in his time... it would take you about 4 to 5 yrs as I rightly surmised in my time, to work on only one piece of Aba's music 'A NEVER ENDING JAZZ'! So hear the master himself, Art Tatum, play it on You-tube here (it would give you an approximate idea how complicated the music of geniuses like Aba are):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnm_qOY_rm0 and here too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5qWC6VjCS0

As an after thought, I decided to add this story: someone told me around 1994 that there was someone who could play the piano as good as Aba or even better. I was wondering how good that person could be, but the guy insisted that I should ask Aba himself! And who was the surprise Nigerian that can play as good as Aba or even better? It is none other than a guy simply identified as 'Kola'.

So my second greatest Keyboardist and perhaps the very best KEYBOARDIST Nigeria has produced, since Aba is late now, is Kola (even though I have never met or seen Kola myself). I learn he owned and managed a studio in Lagos (called 'CLINT STUDIO'? I am not too sure of the name) for a long while before he left Nigeria for U.K.

I heard enough about him in 1994 while at UNN to determine that he was of the talent and skills of Aba or even better. So as that guy, who told me that Kola was even better, insisted I confronted Aba himself to verify and ascertain whether this fact was true. Aba has never admitted or acknowledged that he has met or know any person that can play the piano like him. But on that fateful day, When I spoke about Kola to Aba, he just kept quiet for a while... that was when I suspected that there could be more to this Kola story.

Aba said "When Kola was schooling in UNN in the 1980's I was barely a six or a seven year old boy, and I was too small to know what he was doing or be of a challenge to him. It was after Kola graduated and left UNN that I matured and became good as I am today!"

So I asked him further: "Have you met with Kola recently? Does it mean you can play better than him now? Or are you acknowledging that Kola is better than you or is very good for that matter?"

Aba replied, and I observed that he chose his words very carefully, unlike him: "Yes I have met with him recently. I went to Lagos to his studio, but he was so busy that we saw only briefly. There was no time for him to listen to me play. Well I have not played against him since I matured on the piano so I cannot tell! But if you are to ask me of my own personal opinion, I will say that I am playing better now."

So from Aba's reply, and from that guy's testimony, I ascertain that Aba may have actually been inspired by Kola to become the genius he was then. Actually no prodigy is an island of his own. But there is news circulating about Aba's late father being the best piano player Nigeria has ever seen in his time... apart from the fact that he was the first music professor to bag a master and a phd degree in music in Nigeria, and the starting founders of the music department of UNN and their H.O.D of the music department of UNN till he passed away in 1984.

It must be that Kola, also, was another music genius who, according to Aba, wasn't his contemporary... 'cos Kola was way ahead of Aba in terms of age. There was a story circulating in UNN in my time about one of Kola's exploit as a musician... that apart from playing the piano so well, that he was very good on the flute too! On one fateful day, two menacing dogs decided to attack him while he was returning from lectures; he bent down and blew the flute for them to hear and those dogs, maybe due to the beauty of the sound emanating from the flute, became whimpering and tamed animals, howling and wagging their tails to the sound of the flute!

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Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by elganzar(m): 9:32am On Mar 06, 2017
Tobechukwu is the best,he stays in Abk
Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by topcracker: 1:31pm On Feb 22, 2018
Well to the best of my knowledge, there are a lot of very good keyboardists out there in Nigeria. Its hard to say which is the best, because they all have unique styles and techniques and it would be very naive to judge and say anyone's the best. Here are a just a few of them:

Sunday Nweke (MasterKraft)
Wole Oni
Emmanuel Juzzy
Chibuzor (D'Elect)
Lucky Benjamin (Eljamin)
Samuel Giveson (MasterKraft's Prodigy)
Allwell Obi (Chord4bid)
Chiggy Jazz (Shadrach)
Simon Keys
Rotimi Keys
Yemi Keys (Allwell's Prodigy)
Onyema Jazz (Extraordinary dude)
Scojo (Samuel Giveson's Prodigy)
and my humble self Chigozie Orunta cheesy cheesy wink

Honestly the list is in-exhaustive...

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Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by DrPureheart(m): 11:53pm On May 20
impressive
Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by Chapelbeatz(m): 3:15pm On May 21
Damn
Re: Who Is The Best Drummer Or Keyboadist/pianist In Nigeria ? by Hahjascho(m): 8:58pm On May 23
Everyone is best at his own style or genre of music he enjoys playing to.

If you're looking for the best, with what standard are they based on? ..instrumentalists are gifted differently... the one who chooses to be the best at local styles may be average at foreign or contemporary styles..and vice versa...
Everyone is King in his own town.

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