Jazz Messengers

Fred Patterson, the archivist at the ARChive of Contemporary Music, is doing a essay/research project called “Jazz Messengers” for the Muslim World Music Day. The title is taken from a 1950’s group put together by Talib Dawood, a seventeen piece big band composed entirely of Muslim musicians called “The Messengers.” Members included Yusuf Lateef, Sahib Shihab, Ahmed Jamal and McCoy Tyner. Later one member, Art Blakey, kept a core together as his “Jazz Messengers.”

Here’s an informative passage from Muslim Voices in America: The Making of a Modern Music Scene by Hussein Rashid, Hofstra University, “In the mid-20th century, Islam was identified as much with a Black political identity as it was a religion. It was consciously part of the African-American experience once more, and had a deep impact on the jazz world. Dizzy Gilliespie’s biography, To Be or not to Bop, is littered with references to his musical peers who were Muslim, or admit to being influenced by Islam.”

So this is the starting point. Here is a link to a list of Muslim Names in Jazz compiled by Michael Fitzgerald (ended 2005). Below is a initial list of Muslim-American Jazz musicians we have identified and are building discographies for based on holding at the ARC. We hope other will correct our work and contribute to this list and the forthcoming discography. This data will later be rolled into the massive discography of Islamic music that will be at the core of Muslim World Music Day.

ArtBlakey

Artist’s professional name is in bold, and is usually a link to a source document.

Abrams, Muhal Richard
(birth name ?)
piano

Abdul-Malik, Ahmed
(Sudanese descent, no name change)
bass, oud

Barrymore, Alfonso
Talib Ahmed Dawud (Dawood)

trumpet
Was born in the West Indies but operated in U.S.

Bishop, Walter, Jr.
Ibrahim Ibn Ismail
piano

Blakey, Art
Abdullah Ibn Buhaina)
drums

Byard, John (Jaki)
Jamil Bashir
piano, trumpet, saxophone

Clarke, Kenny
Liaquat Ali Salaam
drums

Ted Curson
(Muslim name ?)
trumpet

Dixon, Ben
Qaadir Almubeen Muhammad
drums

Fournier, Vernel Anthony
Amir Rushdan
drums

Graham, Leonard
Idrees Sulieman

trumpet

Gregory, Edmund
Sahib Shihab

saxophone
also see…

Greenlee, Charles
Harneefan Mageed
trombone
also see…

Gryce Jr., George General (Gigi)
Basheer Qusim
saxophone

Omar Hakim
(only Muslim name)
drums

Billy Higgins
(Muslim name ?)
drums
also see…

Hope, Lynn
El Hajj Abdullah Rasheed
saxophone

Huddleston, William Emanuel
Yusef Lateef

saxophone, flute

Jones III, Charles
Olu Dara

trumpet, vocal

Jones, Frederick Russell (Fritz)
Ahmad Jamal

piano

McDaniel, Rudy
Jamaaladeen Tacuma

bass guitar

McIntyre, Maurice
Kalaparusha Ahra Difda
saxophone

Jackie McLean
Omar Ahmed Abdul Kariem
saxophone

Frank Morgan
(Muslim name?)
saxophone
see also…

Morris, Leo
Idris Muhammad

drums

Patterson, Robert
Rashied Ali

drums

Patterson, Raymond
Muhammad Ali

drums

Powell, Rudolph (Rudy)
Musheed Karween
saxophone

Smith, Leo
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith

trumpet

Staton, Dakota
Aliyah Rabia
vocal

Argonne Thornton
Sadik Hakim

piano

Tyner, Alfred Mcoy
Sulaimon Saud
piano

Ulmer, James Blood
Damu Mustafa Abdul Musawwir
guitar

Williams, Pinky
Aleem Kareem
Saxophone

Young, Larry
Khalid Yasin
organ

Some folks we’re looking into :
Ted Curson trumpet
Jimmy Heath saxophone

Further reading and sources :
Muslim Roots of the Blues by Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writer, Sunday, August 15, 2004

Dizzy Gillespie on Muslim musicians

Malik, the Meccan Warrior, has also posted a list of Muslim musicians

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