“The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.” – William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice, act 5, scene 1)
On Friday, August 11th, 2017, white nationalists chose the largely liberal town of Charlottesville (Virginia) to stage a protest march. The alt-right, of whom white nationalists and white supremacists are an integral part. met with counter protesters. Violence and bloodshed erupted when an alt-rightist, in an indisputable an act of domestic terrorism, drove a car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring several.
This continued series explores the relation between jazz and Islam. In this installment, I am continuing the presentation of the biographies of Muslim jazz artists.
Idris Muhammad was born Leo Morris in New Orleans (1939-2014). He began playing the drums at age 8. Before he reached the age of 21, he’d recorded with Sam Cooke and Jerry Butler, and was a respected session drummer for record labels such as Imperial, Specialty, and Ace. In the 1960s his music experienced a profound change due to the influence of John Coltrane. This led to a synthesis of R&B and jazz. He worked with Lou Donaldson 1965-67. In 1969-73 He worked as drummer for the Broadway musical “Hair” and 1970-72, he was the house drummer for Prestige Records. His releases as a leader include “Black Rhythm Revolution”, “Peace and Rhythm”, “Kabsha”, “My Turn”, and “Right Now”. Muhammad has performed or recorded with Larry Williams, Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfeild, Sonny Stitt, Charles Earland, Gene Ammons, Pharoah Saunders, Roberta Flack, John Hicks, Randy Weston, Jamil Nassr, John Scofield, Roberta Flack, Johnny Griffin, George Coleman, Randy Brecker, his wife, vocalist Sakinah Muhammad, and countless others.
The following are selected biographies of American Muslim musicians continued from here.
Pianist Sadik Hakim (a.k.a. Argonne Thorton 1919-83) got his start with Ben Webster, and eventually went to New York with him. He stayed with Webster, and also played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He toured with Lester Young from 1946-48, and recorded “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid” in 1947. Around this time, he accepted Islam. From 1951-54 he toured with James Moody and from 1956-60 played with Bud Tate’s orchestra. In 1966 he moved to Montreal, Canada. After a time, he returned to New York, and toured Japan 1979-80.