Prod·i·gy /´prädəjē/ noun: a young person who is unusually talented in some way.

vir·tu·o·so /ˌvərCHəˈwōsō/ noun: a person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit

- Merriam Webster

The Prodigy Years

A 4 year-old prodigy. Awe inspiring. An ear for music envied by many. The dexterity of professional drummers in the hands of a child. That was Larry "LD" Darrell. Born in Austin, Texas, LD did what many 4 year olds did for play – make noise. When visiting his grandmother in Memphis, Tennessee, his favorite thing to do as a small child was to find a space to sit on her kitchen floor, surround himself with pots and pans, take a wooden spoon in hand and play. LD's "play" wasn't the frivolous play stuff expected of children. No. LD's "play" was special. His grandmother took notice. When he moved to St. Louis, Missouri at age 5, everyone in his church took notice too.

One day in church, LD purposefully propped himself on the seat behind Reginald Thefford's drum kit while the church band was playing his favorite song sans Reginald, and started to play. But LD didn't just play. He shocked the congregation with his skills with the sticks but his feet couldn't reach the floor pedals. After recovering from the shock of watching a prodigy in action, Reginald pulled up a chair behind LD and worked the foot pedals for him. From that Sunday forward, until LD was tall enough to work the foot pedals alone, Reginald played with LD and LD wowed the congregation with his drum proficiency.

LD, who was soon known in the church community throughout St. Louis as "the Lil' Drummer Boy," became a professional drummer a mere 5 years later. Mattie Moss Clark & the Clark Sisters invited the Lil' Drummer Boy to play for them in front of tens of thousands of people at the national COGIC convocation. With an extraordinary ear for music, LD already knew all the music of Mattie Moss Clark & the Clark Sisters as he had watched them perform on several occasions and taught himself all of their songs and arrangements. So impressed by his gift and talent, The Clark Sisters had him play with them at the National COGIC convention for the next 2 years.

The Lil' Drummer Boy had become well-known in the gospel music community. At age 14, LD was asked to demonstrate his drumming proficiency while sitting in on rehearsals for James Cleveland's exclusive drummers, C. Von Parchman and James "Butch" Galloway. LD's lick by lick accuracy impressed the drummers. They then recommended LD to Gospel star James Cleveland, which led to his playing for him during the annual James Cleveland Convention and other performances.

LD: The Virtuoso

Having honed his foundational skills as a drummer in the world of gospel music, LD transitioned into secular music. No longer the Lil' Drummer Boy, the adult LD moved to Los Angeles where the secular music community soon learned of his unique skills on the drums. In 1995, LD landed his first R&B tour with vocalist Christopher Williams. It didn't take long for music industry insiders and platinum selling artists to take notice. They marveled at LD's ability to comprehend complex rhythms and lead a group of musicians with ease. His impeccable ear for music and his amazing timing and accuracy quickly put him into the spotlight.

In 1996, based on a friend's referral, LD became a session musician/writer for Death Row Records. At Death Row, he demonstrated his expansive skills sets. He programmed, played drums and wrote tracks for Tupac Shakur, including Tupac's final single before his untimely death, "Hail Mary."


LD's proudest achievement to date was his work as musical director and drummer for the legendary Rick James from 2002 until his passing. LD remembers Rick fondly:

"He was the first person I played for that every song he penned was a hit! I was his favorite drummer from Stone City Band and became his right hand man. With Rick, I learned how to direct a large band and make sure everything ran smoothly. He was a joy to be around and it was fun to play drums for him. I MISS HIM STILL!!"

As fate would have it, LD joined the Teena Marie tour as her drummer in 2008. This experience holds a special place in his heart because of the kindred connection between Rick and Teena. With their statures as true music icons naming LD as their "go-to" drummer of choice solidified LD's reputation and status as a stellar, once in a lifetime musical talent.

LD also worked with other iconic musicians, George Johnson and the late "Thunder Thumbs" Louis Johnson of the legendary Brothers Johnson, who called LD they're favorite drummer too.

Recently, LD worked as musical director and drummer for the Michael Baisden Show: Baisden After Dark. He continues to work as drummer and/or music director for a number of contemporary R&B recording artists.

Stripped to his essence, LD is a world class professional musician. He is a drummer; composer; director and lover of great music. His professionalism permeates throughout his professional and personal lives. Larry "LD" Darrell summarizes his past and future trajectories: "I've survived the game over the years. I'm looking forward to continue doing what the legends taught me – keep everybody dancing; keep everybody grooving in the arenas."

Tours or Performances

(Music Director)

Rick James & The Stone City Band, Angie Stone, Ledisi, Leela James, Vivian Green, Will Downing, Rhonda Smith & Karma Deuce, Howard Hewett, Nancy Wilson, Paul Brown, Johnny Gill, Rahsaan Patterson, Dwelle, JaSiri X, Maysa, Emily King, Donell Jones, The Mary Jane Girls Feat. Val Young, Musiq Soulchild, Debra Cox, Karen Briggs, Con Funk Shun, N'dambi, Elisabeth Withers, Anthony David, Gordon Chambers, Conya Doss, Betty Wright, Blu Cantrell, Eric Roberson, The Brothers Johnson, Peabo Bryson, Christopher Williams, Bobby Brown, Aaron Hall, Guy, Jesse Powell, Shanice Wilson, K-Ci, Al B. Sure, Kurtis Blow, Shai, Midnight Starr, Chubb Rock, Ali Woodson formally of the Temptations, Tank, Darius McCrary.


Teena Marie, Goapele, Kenny Lattimore, Tamar Braxton, Norman Brown, Faith Evans, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Russ Freeman, Joey Sommerville, David Benoit, Bobby Lyle, Ken Navarro, Brenda Russell, Everette Harp, Paul Taylor, Mike Apollo, Dave Koz, Coolio, Ron Brown, Jessica Simpson, Kirk Whalum, Stephen Simmonds, Rebbie Jackson, Monica, Rome, Billy Porter, El Debarge, Eric Benet, Daryl Coley, Tramaine Hawkins, Walter Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins, Miki Howard, D.J. Rodgers, Al Green, James Cleveland, Alex Bugnon, Chris Botti, Julie Dexter, Divinity Roxx, Chingy, David Peaston, Doc Powell, Albertina Walker, Bobby Jones, Mattie Moss Clark, The Clark Sisters, The O'Neal Twins, Betty Griffen Keller, Ronald Wilson, Charlie Wilson & The Gap Band, Ester Smith, Charles Ford, Donald Vails, , Theopolis Peoples of the Four Tops, Della Reese, Ricky Grundy, Junko, Rodney Posey, Mark Allen Felton, Ce Ce Peniston, Tim Kepler, Blu Cab, Lina.


Rhonda Smith RS2 Slowine Music
Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Gospo Centric
Daryl Coley He's Right On Time Sparrow Records
The O'Neal Twins "Live" A.I.R. Records
Aaron Neville I'm Falling In Love A&M Records
Smooth Anything I Like A&M Records
Charlie Wilson Building My World Play Yo Song Records
Charlie Wilson Owe It To Myself Play Yo Song Records
Tupac Shakur Makaveli Deathrow Records
Betty Griffen Keller Self Title Sparrow Records
Ron Brown Christmas Jazz ManKind Records
Michal' Michal' Sony Records
Tim Kepler Just As I Am New Day Records
Carmello Nasty A Kiss of Hemlock Independent Records
The Gap Band No Color Lines
See Ya Later
Big Trax / Mercury
A Combat Radio Christmas:
The Album, Vol 1
God Rest Yeah Gentlemen Arsenal Pm


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