Reggie "A.R." Ferguson
Born in Manhattan NYC Harlem Hospital in 1941, as Reggie Ferguson aka Ali Rahman affectionately known as A.R.…is a percussionist extraordinaire. His first gig was in his teens on tv approx. 1957 - Eddie Albert…”Nothing But The Best” with Eddie Albert, backing up Louis Armstrong - made $75 in 1957…and the same year on “Spotlights on Harlem” at the Apollo Theater, with Ralph Cooper.
He played Latin music all through the 50’s with some of the finest architects of latin music…Tito Puente, Willie Bobo, Patato Manuel, Eddie Palmieri, etc…..In the 1960’s showcases a flurry of a who’s who in music too many to name….
While playing a show with Jimmy Castor at Trudy Heller’s in NYC - Reggie was invited to join Johnny Hollyday, (Europe’s equivalent to Elvis Presley) along with his wife, Sylvie Vartan) for a series of shows with the Beatles (one of the week-long opening acts) at the Olympia Theater in Paris, France and European tour. On that tour, Reggie hung out, partied and shared his professional skills and musical knowledge with the musicians there who were extremely curious about American culture like Ringo Star and John Lennon.
By 1964, Reggie became the full-time house drummer for the NYC's Apollo Theater, which meant he worked with the who's who of music.... Patti Labelle & The Bluebells, Solomon Burke, Jerry Butler, Jackie Wilson, King Curtis, etc...and especially the Motown acts...like The Four Tops, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Supremes, etc...and Marvin Gaye - who he would later tour with.
He also toured with Odetta, Sam & Dave, The Manhattan's, The Four Tops, Lionel Hampton (who threatened to fire him for not wanting to indulge in Uncle Tom foolery at a Republican function honoring Vice President Hubert Humphrey, which most successful black artists felt they had to do to appease the white establishment), then came Herbie Mann, Hugh Masakela, Letta Mbula, Esther Morrow, and many more trailblazers....
In 1967, after performing many times at the Apollo, the ultimate Soulman, Otis Redding, really wanted Reggie to join his band. They were scheduled to rendezvous in Atlanta, Ga after Otis' Midwestern dates. But that was sadly not to be....while Reggie was preparing to leave - a fellow musician advised him to turn on the TV as the news was alerting the world of Otis' fatal airplane crash. This saddened him.
The 80's came and Reggie Ferguson retired and would later reinvent himself as A.R. - the resident washboard and percussionist with "The finest Black String Band In America!" - The Ebony Hillbillies. His sense of timing and swing is unparalleled. All his many years of time-keeping for the best - nobody does it better!