Famoudou Don Moye, (born May 23, 1946) is an American jazz percussionist and drummer. He is most known for his involvement with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and is noted for his mastery of African and Caribbean percussion instruments and rhythmic techniques.
Moye was born in Rochester, New York and performed in various drum and bugle corps during his youth, as well as church choir. Moye has commented that he really “didn’t have an affinity for the bugle … and just kind of gravitated towards drums.” He also took violin lessons during this time. Moye was exposed to jazz at an early age since his mother worked for a local social club that had a jazz club next door that hosted musicians such as Kenny Burrell and Jimmy McGriff. His family was also musically inclined; his uncles played saxophones and his father played drums. Also, his mother used to take him to various performances as a child, such as “opera under the stars” and to see Mahalia Jackson.
Moye went on to study percussion at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Moye lived in a building with trumpeter Charles Moore, who became his mentor. Moye also played in the groups African Cultural Ensemble, which included musicians from African countries such as Ghana, and Detroit Free Jazz, which was Moore’s band. It was at this time that he first encountered the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) due to the revolving door of musicians in and out of Moore’s residence. In early 1968, Moore’s band traveled to Europe and Moye decided to live there for the next couple of years, touring and visiting the continent as well as Northern Africa.