Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
When James Brown died almost exactly two years ago, I still lived in Tokyo, Japan. His death was a shock for me because he was one of the few musicians I loved to play with.
Other musicians were Elvin Jones (John Coltrane’s drummer) whom I met in Tokyo where he invited me and my sax to his birthday party at BB KING’s. However, due to my mother’s illness, I was unable to attend. The next year, Jones left the world unexpectedly.
Another musician I wanted to meet and play with was the Malian “desert” blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure. I missed my chance to meet him in Mali in 2004, when Salif Keita invited me to appear with him at a concert – commemorating his appointment as UN ambassador for Culture and Sport. Unfortunately, I was so busy with Keita that I had no time to make the trip to see Ali Farka Toure in Timbuktu. Two years later he died too – in the same year as James Brown.