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Kofi "Guy Warren" Ghanaba,

Kofi "Guy Warren" Ghanaba

Other NamesKofi "Guy Warren"
Date of Birth0000-00-00

Detailed Biography

Guy Warren was one of the first "New Percussionists" that I have come across in my research. Information on him is difficult to find, especially recordings that he made. I've put what I found on him here in this web site in honor of his innovations.

Born in Ghana in West Africa, Guy Warren, who is also known as Kofi Ghanaba, was a jazz drumset player and palyer of traditional Ghanaian percussion. He also played piano, flute, would sing, and was trained in Western style composition. He was fluent in wiritn and arranging jazz compositions as he composed most of the pieces on his recordings.

He first came to prominence with the great highlife musician of Ghana, E. T. Mensah. Warren played drumset in 1937 in the Accra Rhythmic Orchestra and then played drumset and sang with E. T. Mensah and His Tempos Band in 1947 (and also Kenny Graham's Afro-Cubists in UK 1948). The Mensah band did not make its first recordings until 1952 after Warren had left.

Warren was a big fan of American jazz and eventually made his way to England and finally the USA in 1955. He worked in Chicago and New York having befriended Charlie Parker, Max Roach, and Thelonius Monk among others.

Warren was uncompromising in the kind of music he wished to play. His idea was to combine his traditional Ghanaian percussion and rhythms with the jazz aesthetic. He incorporated the African talking drum in jazz ensembles and played both the drumset and traditional hand drums in unusual ways.

He was the first African to come to the US and record in jazz, and wrote a book about his life in 1962. The work of Guy Warren pre-dates the work of Babatunde Olatunji. Warren's Afro-Jazz recordings include:

USA Released:

UK Released: