Roger Biwandu, a self-taught drummer, is one of the greatest jazz musicians of his generation.
Roger 'Kemp' Biwandu was born on 25th December 1972 in a taxi in Bordeaux. He was bitten by the drum bug at the end of the 1970s after the emergence of groups like The Police and Toto, whose drummers, Stewart Copeland and Jeff Porcaro, revolutionised drum playing at the time.
He went on tour at a very young age with Biréli Lagrène (only 16 years old), Pierre Vassiliu (18 years old) and Jacques Higelin (22 years old), and has also been involved with local groups like Post Image, who celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2007, and Tribal Jam (Roger is the musical director).
After gaining a reputation nationwide, particularly with Chic Hot (Mario Canonge on the piano), Roger was subsequently invited to play with two of France's leading jazz fusion groups, Sixun and Ultramarine, filling in for the iconic drummers, Paco Séry and Mokhtar Samba, who were committed to projects elsewhere.
Having had the chance to record with performers like The Hansons, Narada Michael Walden, Chris De Burgh, I Muvrini, Carole King, Kéziah Jones, and the great Jeff Beck, Roger saw his reputation as a big time drummer confirmed when the legendary Joe Zawinul (RIP) invited him on four tours, one of which included the presence of no less than Bobby McFerrin. The last of these tours took place in the US during October/November 2006.
Roger Biwandu has also worked with Frank McComb, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Marcus Miller, Michel Jonasz, John Beasley, Andy Narell, Womack & Womack, Mark Tuner, John Stubblefield (RIP), James (RIP), the dancer, Hamid Ben Mahi (Hors Série company), etc.
While on a world tour with the Malian singer, Salif Keita, from October 2005 to July 2009, Roger finally fulfilled his dream of recording an album of his own music. Influences, the album by Roger 'Kemp' Biwandu, finally saw the light of day in 2007. With this album we can truly appreciate his undoubted talents as a drummer, composer and arranger, and his passion for rugby.
In 2009, his second album, From Palmer, was released (Palmer is the part of Bordeaux where Roger grew up). He then moved into the progressive Hard Bop jazz style, in the footsteps of his friends and mentors, Jeff 'Tain' Watts and Branford & Wynton Marsalis - have a listen to their new album.
In the beginning, Roger was a great admirer of Stewart Copeland and Jeff Porcaro and still is, but since then we have to add these maestros to his list: Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Vinnie Colaiuta, Les All Blacks, James Taylor, Phillip D. 'Fish' Fisher, Wayne Shorter, Omar Hakim, Le Stade Toulousain, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Kenny Kirkland and Sting, to name but a few.