March 13, 2017
Legendary Bahamian musician King Errisson has recently written a book about his life from childhood in The Bahamas and his climb to fame as a world renowned percussionist. His book “My Life, My Loves” tells the story of his early years of growing up in the beautiful Bahama islands and knowing that one day he would be somebody. His grandmother knew he was special and she called him “King.” He is known worldwide as an illustrious percussionist, composer and actor.
Studio musician King Errisson has led quite an interesting life since his introduction to the entertainment industry. He was born October 29, 1941 in Nassau, Bahamas. Between the ages of 13 and 18, he was a professional jockey and a session drummer for local bands in his native Bahamas.
He left Nassau for drama studies in Canada, formed a jazz band in New York City, and spent a year performing in a Bermuda club where he met Redd Foxx who invited King to appear at his place in Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr. asked King to appear on the Hollywood Palace, and Cannonball Adderly became his mentor in the recording studio.
In 1968, he moved to Los Angeles to become an actor, a career he successfully maneuvered as he appeared in a variety of films and TV shows. King received his first “big break” at the age of 23 when his talent with the congas was prominently displayed in a memorable night club scene in the James Bond thriller Thunderball. He also starred in the Abe Vigoda series Fish.
While in Los Angeles, he met saxophonist Julian Adderly, and the two bonded strongly, eventually recording several albums together.
As a session musician, King has worked with a very diverse group of artists representing a wide variety of musical styles. King has been praised as “the unsung hero behind Motown” by Ray Singleton in her book Berry, Me, and Motown as well as by Berry Gordy in his book To Be Loved for his work with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, the Jackson Five, and many others. He has also worked with Herb Alpert, John Klemmer, Doc Severinsen, Ringo Starr, Blood Sweat & Tears, Jim Stafford, Swamp Dogg, Barbra Streisand, David Cassidy, Bobby Darin, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mathis, OC Smith, Lou Rawles, Hodges James and Smith, Mickey Stevenson, Barry White and The Carpenters.
Between tours, he recorded a few solo albums and managed to appear in a few more films, most notably The Jazz Singer and Tap. He started a fishing resort in The Bahamas while he continued to live outside of Las Vegas to do session work. Errisson also joined Neil Diamond’s band around this time, appearing on most of Diamond’s recordings from the 80s. He recorded one more solo album, 1993’s Man, before returning to session work and on again/off again appearances with Diamond.
Credit: Smith & Benjamin’s ‘BAHAMIAN ART & CULTURE’ | Issue No. 299