Juma Santos at the 4th Street Photo Gallery, early 90s
Juma Santos at the 4th Street Photo Gallery, early 90s

Juma Santos, also known as James P. Riley and Dr. Juma Santos (January 15, 1948 - September, 2007) was a percussionist and master drummer known for his extensive work over four decades with African music, caribbean music, jazz, fusion, and R&B artists.

Born James P. Riley, Juma Santos served time in prison in upstate New York twice, was homeless for a time, and lived in Harlem and Brooklyn before moving to Detroit in 2000. He also spent time in Ghana.

He combined and fused styles and playing techniques on varied African musical instruments, experimenting with rhythms, songs, and chants with modern jazz harmonies and melodic forms and structures. His career included performing with many noted artists on projects of historical significance, including recording on more than 75 albums.

Santos recorded on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and toured with Davis for a year. He also toured and recorded with Nina Simone, David Sanborn and Taj Mahal. Other performance residencies include stints with Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Pee Wee Ellis, Jack DeJohnette, Gato Garcia, Don Alias, Freddie Hubbard, The Fabulous Rhinestones, Harvey Brooks, Roy Ayers, Don Moye, and his own groups, Rosewater Foundation, Afro Jazz Messengers, The Pan-African Drum Ensemble, The Juma Society, and Sounds of the Urban Forest.

He died in September, 2007, in Chicago, apparently of complications from malaria, at the age of 61