About the artist
Rocky Maffit has had a long and varied life in music. He began playing music professionally in high school. He signed his first recording contract with Rick Jarrard (who produced Nilsson, Jefferson Airplane, and Jose Feliciano) in 1971 when he was nineteen.
In his early twenties he embarked on a musical journey, studying drumming from around the world, most significantly with Brazilian and African percussionists. During that time he performed with a variety of musicians including Paul Winter, Richie Havens, David Bromberg, Brother Jack McDuff, Dizzy Gilespie, and Gary Burton. He also served as percussionist in residence at the American Dance Festival.
In the early eighties Rocky joined the R&B group Champaign which signed with Columbia Records. Their first release, How 'Bout Us, was a big hit around the world. They went on to make three more albums. Rocky's songwriting collaborations for Champaign and Freddie Jackson earned gold and platinum records. At the same time he made forays into the world of film music writing songs with Michael Day and Thom Bishop for About Last Night and Def By Temptation.
In the late eighties his life changed with the births of his two sons and for a period of time his primary creative focus was on his family. Rocky collaborated with his wife, the noted dancer and educator Kate Kuper, on a number of projects. During this time he rediscovered his love of world percussion and performance. He developed a unique solo drumming and vocal concert. His performances in this arena led to the writing and publication of his award-winning book Rhythm & Beauty: The Art of Percussion in 1999, which was republished in paperback in 2005 by Billboard Books.
Since then Rocky has recorded Everytown and Sun and Shadow, performed as a guest artist with a variety of ensembles and choirs and in solo, duet and group settings. Rocky is currently collaborating with a number of artists and songwriters including Nick Milo (Joe Cocker) and Greg Adams (Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, etc.).
He is also the event curator for Day Of The Drum, a world percussion festival that was first held in February 2009 at The Krannert Center For The Performing Arts in Urbana IL. The next festival will be held Saturday, March 10 2012.
Rocky is currently at work on his second book, a memoir.