Horacee Arnold was born September 25, 1937 in Wayland, Kentucky.
Arnold first began playing drums in 1957 in Los Angeles while he was in the United States Coast Guard.
After returning from military service, Horacee began seriously studying the drums and soon began working in bands in the area from Louisville to Indianapolis. At this time, he began performing as “Horacee” and joined a big band led by composer and trombonist David Baker.
He also played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Charles Mingus that year.
Max Roach came to Louisville once again this time with his own band composed of Booker Little, Clifford Jordan, Julian Preister and Art Davis. At the end of his first night’s performance I introduced myself. He was very gracious and accepted my invitation to dinner at my home where he became acquainted with my family. Before leaving he invited me to his rehearsal which I gladly accepted. When I arrived at the rehearsal space he ask me to sit in. I did, and at the end of my sit in he and the band gave me a big smile which I accepted as approval. I recall Booker Little’s smile and comment “A little Max Roach.” Before leaving Louisville, Max privately shared with me some of his technical approaches to the instrument, as well as an explanation of his concept.
Based on experiences and exposure gained on the Alvin Ailey Asian tour, Arnold was eager to explore other musical styles, in different meters, rhythms, and percussive techniques and how to incorporate them without losing the essence of the jazz characteristics or sound. The music of Burma, India, and Africa were foremost in mind.
During the following years, Arnold studied composition with Hy Gubernick, Heiner Stadler and guitar with his close friend Ralph Towner.
Arnold worked with Kenny Dorham, Richard Davis, and Chick Corea with whom he later recorded three albums.
Horacee became a member of the Stan Getz Quartet.
Arnold’s music publishing company Nupenza Music was formed.
He was received grants from the NEA, CAPS, Ford Foundation, Thelma Hill Foundation and Meet the Composer. Arnold was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant that allowed him to form and work extensively with a quartet that included Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman and David Friedman.
Mr. Arnold recorded “Tales of the Exonerated Flea“ which received a five star rating from Down Beat and Rolling Stone magazines and featured Ralph Towner, Art Webb, Rick Laird, Dave Bash Johnson, George Mraz, Sonny Fortune, John Abercrombie, Clint Houston, Jan Hammer Moog, David Friedman and Dom Um Romão.
Horacee began an influential teaching career at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey where he taught future John Scofield drummer Bill Stewart.
While teaching at Drummers Collective, Horacee met and was engaged to personally tutor future Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun. Horacee and Will’s relationship developed into one of mentorship and lifelong friendship.
Horacee performed a number of drum clinics for Yamaha Drums.
Arnold joined the Dizzy Gillespie tour in Cuba for the Havana Jazz Festival.
Horacee begins teaching at the New School for Social Research in NYC.