By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in improvised music.
Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson, and Ken Vandermark, among others.
Hamid Drake was born in Monroe, LA, in 1955, and later moved to Chicago with his family. He ended up taking drum lessons with Fred Anderson's son, eventually taking over the son's role as percussionist in Anderson's group. As a result, Fred Anderson also introduced Drake to George Lewis and other AACM members.
Drake also has performed world music; by the late '70s, he was a member of Foday Muso Suso's Mandingo Griot Society, and has played reggae.
Hamid Drake has been a member of the Latin jazz band Night on Earth, the Georg Graewe Quartet, the DKV Trio, Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Octet/Tentet, and Liof Munimula, the oldest free improvising ensemble in Chicago.
Drake has also worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Mahmoud Gania, bassist William Parker (in a large number of lineups), and has performed a solstice celebration with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang semiannually since 1991.
Hamid Drake recorded material is best represented on Chicago's Okkadisk label.