Michael Craden (percussionist, painter, graphic artist) was born in 1941, passed away in 1982. He was best known for his work with Paul Horn & Nexus. In 1976, Paul Horn album “Altitude of the Sun”, 1976 Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass “Jazz Album”. He also played percussion on Moe Koffman’s, “Master Session” in 1973.
Craden was especially creative when it came to improvisations on drums and “toys”. However, Craden’s real passion was graphic art, which brought him to the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Through friendships with Emil Richard, Don and Rowena Preston, Paul Beaver, and later Harry Partch, Craden began to synthesize his art with a passion for music. Exposed to Indian rhythms by New Delhi tabla and sitar musician Hari-Har-Rao, he began to assimilate and process numerical patterns, mathematical ratios micrtonal tuning, and rhythm as inherneltyrelated to art before his move to Toronto, where he became acquainted with the members of Nexus.
PAS Hall of Fame member Emil Richards credits Craden as being “one of the forbearers of the free-form art movement of the early ’60’s.” In remembering Craden, Richards wrote in 1996: “My favorite memory of him is that most of his artwork made me laugh. There was such humor in his art. And there was nothing he couldn’t do rhythmically. In the indian system, we never had to worry about quarter notes, eighth notes, any of that. All we did was play these elaborate patterns of numbers. he started to get into art with his rhythms, too, toward the end. He was a very talented man.”