Horace Arnold has been successful in both mainstream and early jazz-rock circles. He started playing drums in 1957 while stationed in Los Angeles as a Coast Guard member.
He added an extra "e" to his name as a stage gimmick shortly before joining Dave Baker's big band in 1959. From there came stints with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Charles Mingus before he joined a trio with Cecil McBee and Kirk Lightsey in 1960. Arnold moved from music to dance in the early and mid-'60s, backing Henry Grimes and Bud Powell at one point, and touring Asia with Alvin Ailey's company at another. Arnold played for two years with the duo of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, then studied composition for a year with Heiner Stadler and guitar and composition with Hy Gubenick and Ralph Towner. He founded the Here and Now Company in 1967, and led it for three years. The group was a far-reaching, daring, but unprofitable exercise, but many top players passed through, including Sam Rivers, Karl Berger, Joe Farrell, and Robin Kenyatta. Arnold's greatest visibility came in the early '70s; he was part of the first jazz-rock wave, musicians genuinely interested in trying to find a fresh, fertile middle ground between jazz improvisation and rock energy. Arnold made his own albums, performed with Return to Forever and Stan Getz, then later toured Japan with Archie Shepp. He co-founded Colloquim III with fellow drummers Billy Hart and Freddie Waits in the late '70s, an instructional and performance ensemble that also conducted workshops at the New York Drummers' Collective. Arnold taught at William Patterson College of New Jersey in the '80s, did freelance studio and recording sessions, and played in a trio with Dave Friedman. ~ Ron Wynn, Rovi