Photo via @derekandsusan on IG

Percussionist Count M’butu died on July 25, bringing to close a career that consisted of exquisite rhythm work with the likes of Derek Trucks Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit and more.

M’butu was born in 1945 as Harold L. Jones and later studied African History and Music at Atlanta’s Neighborhood Arts Center. He was mentored by Santana percussionist Armando Peraza and eventually toured with the likes of Nancy Wilson and Parliament Funkadelic.

He was christened as Count M’Butu by Colonel Bruce Hampton, and quickly became engrained in Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit band. Following his singular solo LP, 2000’s See The Sun, M’Butu joined the Derek Trucks Band.

M’butu is the latest of Trucks former bandmates to pass away – multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge succumbed to an ongoing heart issue in February 2019, followed by drummer Yonrico Scott who passed in September 2019.

A statement from the Tedeschi Trucks Band Facebook account reads, “We are deeply saddened to report the passing of our dear friend and bandmate in The Derek Trucks Band, Count M’Butu. The Count’s brilliant percussion and inimitable style won him respect and admiration from his musical peers and audiences around the world. Our condolences go out to his wife Graciela and to all who knew and loved him. We’re proud to call him a friend and will miss him deeply. Rest In Peace Count M’Butu!”