An Interview with Norman Hedman

Veteran percussionist, bandleader, created unique blend of tropical jazz.

Omaha, Nebraska – Norman Hedman, one of the most accomplished percussionists in the world, passed away Monday, September 29th, in New York.

A master congero, bandleader, and sideman, he had been diagnosed with leukemia while rehearsing for a recent tour with the Alicia Keys band.

Norman Hedman was a veteran congero and bandleader with numerous number one recordings to his credit. His rhythms graced the albums and tours of Gary Bartz, Chico Freeman, John Hicks, Arturo Sandoval, Hilton Ruiz and many others. With his 1996 album Flight of the Spirit, Norman expanded from congero to bandleader, establishing himself as a composer and producer. His 1997 release Healing Hands spent four weeks on the Gavin charts, peaking at Number 14. His band, Norman Hedman's Tropique, created an unforgettable mix of Tropical/ R & B/Latin Jazz and has been warmly received by fans. Whether opening for Santana, Take Six, Kenny Garrett, or as a headliner, Norman's live appearances found audiences moving to his music. Norman Hedman's Tropique performed twice in Lincoln, Nebraska to receptive audiences.

The final record from Norman Hedman's Tropique was Garden of Forbidden Fruit. The band, lead by Norman Hedman on Congas and Percussion, included Willie Martinez on Timbales, Ron Monroe on Bass, Misha Tisganov on Piano, Alexei Tsiganov on Vibes, Craig Rivers on Flute, Sam Furnace on Saxophone, and several guest vocalists including Kendra Shank. Garden of Forbidden Fruit delivered more of the music Norman Hedman fans love: Latin Jazz played with passion and gusto.

In Spring 2006 Hedman visited KIOS with his manager Dawn DeBlaze for an in-studio interview. Click on the link above to listen to that interview. Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen.

Hedman's healing music will be the core of his legacy.

"I think music heals, and Tropique's music falls into that category; whether you're a teen or 80 years old," said Hedman.

Visit the artist's website at