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Mino Cinelu is a Frenchmarker musician, born in 1957 in Saint-Cloud in the suburbs of Parismarker.

He plays multiple instruments; is a composer, programmer and producer; and is most widely known as a percussionist.


Cinelu was involved with music from childhood (his father and two brothers were musicians) and started spending time and playing in various concert halls (such as the Chapelle des Lombards) in the suburbs of Paris. He became interested in various styles of music such as jazz, rock, salsa and even in more esoteric varieties like Egyptian chants and Romani music. He would later expand his repertoire to include fado, flamenco, African music, Japanese music, and Slavic music..

The first instrument that Cinelu took to was the bongo drums, which led him to decide to try and live from his music. He often played the bongos in the streets where he first experimented with improvisation. At the end of the 1970s he became more and more interested in the French jazz fusion scene where he made many connections with other musicians and members of the music industry. At varying times he worked with Jef Gilson, Chute Libre, and Moravagine. Shortly thereafter he began playing with artists such as Bernard Lavilliers, Colette Magny, Gong, and Toto Bissainthe.

In 1979 he moved to New Yorkmarker. After a difficult start he met several musicians living in and around the city such as George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Barron, and Cassandra Wilson. He continued to learn new instruments in different contexts; for example he played the bass in a gospel choir and earned some money by giving drum lessons. In the beginning of the 1980s he met Miles Davis while playing in a soul band at the New York club Mikkel's. Miles offered him a job as percussionist in his group, playing alongside the group's drummer Al Foster. After a month of rehearsals, Cinelu went on tour with Miles Davis' band.

After his big break with Miles Davis, Mino Cinelu became much more in demand. During a concert at the Hollywood Bowlmarker, Joe Zawinul contacted him to join Weather Report as percussionist. For Mino Cinelu it was an opportunity to work with the quintessential jazz fusion band; he accepted the invitation. He immediately joined the group without even a single practice session. He continued to improve his percussion skills by playing with the drummer Omar Hakim. Also during this period he began composing music with the help of the band members Wayne Shorter (saxophone) and Joe Zawinul (piano).

Cinelu also played with Michel Portal after Michel saw him play at the Théâtre du Châteletmarker with Miles Davis.

Starting in the 1990s Cinelu began working on a solo career. His first solo album self-titled Mino Cinelu was released in 2000. He followed it up with Quest Journey in 2002 and La californie in 2006.

Mino Cinelu is considered by many in the jazz community as one of "the greatest drummers in the world".

Mino is the father of the pop singer and actress Angelique Cinelu.


With Gong

With Miles Davis

With Weather Report

Solo career

With other artists

External links



  1. Souvenirs d'un homme de mains, article take from Jazz Magazine, September 2007. A portion of the biography is sourced from an article in Jazz Magazine.
  2. Mino Cinelu, élevé en batterie: radio interview with Mino Cinelu by Réseau France Outre-mer

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