Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Carlos Nino and multi-instrumentalist and composer/arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, have been working together on a wide variety of projects over the last several years. It all started when Nino hired Atwood-Ferguson’s string quartet, Supernova, to perform on the record Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio LOVE IS THE ANSWER (Ninja Tune). It was during the pre-production of this project, in 2004, that Nino would first meet, befriend, and license music from, one of his heroes, and Aquarian brother, James “Jay Dee/J Dilla” Yancey. It’s fair to say, that Atwood-Ferguson, classically trained as a violist, (from the age of 4 years old,) first consciously came into contact with Dilla’s music from being a part of this ground-breaking collaboration.
Fast forward two years – after Nino & Atwood-Ferguson completed work on the highly acclaimed indie records Ammoncontact WITH VOICES (Ninja Tune,) and The Life Force Trio LIVING ROOM (Plug Research) – in February, 2007, several days after his 32nd birthday, Dilla passed away due to Lupus related complications. After his untimely death, the two chose to pay tribute to Dilla by continuing the musical conversation that he had started, in the contemporary chamber music style that Atwood-Ferguson had been developing. On, what would have been, Dilla’s 33rd birthday, February 7, 2007, Nino & Atwood-Ferguson sent their version of Common’s “Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World,)” to DJs, producers and fans, for free, via the internet.
On February 7, 2008 they released their version of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Find A Way,” and have just recently completed an E.P., entitled SUITE FOR MA DUKES. On September 27, 2008, Atwood-Ferguson was flown to Amsterdam, Netherlands to play viola in the world premier performance of his Dilla Arrangements, as part of the Metropole Orchestra’s 30 minute tribute to this great Hip-Hop-Soul master, at The Boost Festival.
Having produced albums for Build An Ark (Kindred Spirits,) Mia Doi Todd (City Zen,) Grace Woodroofe (for Executive Producer Heath Ledger,) Ariana Delawari (alongside David Lynch,) as well as a duet album entitled Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson FILL THE HEART SHAPED CUP (Alpha Pup,) these two have kept a very busy work schedule. Still, no matter how many live performances and recording sessions Atwood-Ferguson books, with everyone from Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Dre, Ray Charles, John Williams, and many others, as well as having at least 5 different production and arranging projects going at all times, and no matter how much Nino is creatively up to, they find time to connect in the essence of Dilla. It is there that they celebrate Maurice Ravel, Bernard Herman, Charles Stepney, James Brown, The Bomb Squad and so many others, all at once!