Free jazz bassist and Philadelphia native Jamaaladeen Tacuma will play a show at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts this Saturday, November 17. Part of PNC Arts Alive presents Jazz Cultural Voices concert series, Tacuma will be accompanied by his Gnawa Soul Experience Band for the show, which includes Philadelphia musicians alongside musicians from Morocco.
Tacuma got his start in Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time ensemble and went on to release over a dozen solo albums since the early 80s, most recently 2017’s Gnawa Soul Experience. He’s become renowned for his blend of ancient African Gnawa musical tradition with his own musical themes and production, covering genres from jazz to funk. Continue reading →
While you should listen to jazz every day of the year, April is Jazz Appreciation Month and with it the City of Philadelphia’s Philly Celebrates Jazz, a spotlight on our deep and fascinating connection with the music and culture. This includes lectures, exhibitions, films, and of course live performances. It was all kicked off a week ago in City Hall with the presentation of the annual Benny Golson Award to acclaimed electric bassist and North Philly native Jamaaladeen Tacuma.
Tacuma’s storied career is intertwined with Philadelphia and the jazz scene here. The Thomas Edison High School graduate passed on a scholarship to Berklee School of Music to start playing with local organist Charles Earland and then go on an extended European tour with the great Ornette Coleman and his band Prime Time. This was in 1975, when Tacuma was just 19. He recorded with Prime Time and other Coleman bands for the following decade, cementing his tight relationship with the late saxophonist and his music. Continue reading →
Prolific Philadelphia bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma makes an appearance at World Cafe Live tonight, sharing the stage with Saxofour. He got his start almost 40 years ago in the Prime Time ensemble with jazz great Ornette Coleman, and released a string of boundary-pushing solo albums in the 80s and 90s that abstractly dabbled in a variety of styles, from abstract free jazz to funk. In the late aughts he teamed up with guitarist Vernon Reid of Living Colour and drummer G. Calvin Weston in the trio Free Form Funky Freqs. Tickets and more information on tonight’s show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Few rhythm section tandems have lasted as long or adapted to so many drastically different musical situations as Philly avant-funk-jazz duo Jamaaladeen Tacuma and G. Calvin Weston. With a partnership stretching back nearly four decades, the pair continues to create an off-kilter groove unlike anyone else, funky but loose-limbed and amorphous.
Tomorrow, the pair will be joined by California-based guitarist Ross Hammond for one of the final shows at the soon-to-be-defunct Highwire Gallery, presented by Fire Museum and the Archer Spade Performance Series. The bill also includes a duo performance by saxophonist Heath Watts and drummer Mike Szekely.
Hammond is a prolific member of the Bay Area improvising scene, a collaborator with the likes of saxophonist Vinny Golia and drummer Alex Cline. This weekend he joins a long list of artists who have combined forces with Tacuma and Weston, including fellow guitarists Vernon Reid, Marc Ribot and Derek Bailey and saxophonists James Carter and Ornette Coleman.
Bassist Tacuma and drummer Weston met when both were in their late teens and playing with funk bands in North Philly clubs in the late Seventies. Tacuma was the first to join Coleman’s band, recommending Weston when the legendary saxophonist was looking for a drummer that could combine modern funk grooves with Coleman’s harmolodic approach. Tacuma and Weston thus formed the elastic, shape-shifting backbone for Coleman’s electric Prime Time band. While both enjoy busy careers on separate paths, their sounds are inextricably linked and together they create a tight but elusive foundation. Go here for more information and tickets to the show. Below, watch an interview with Jamaaladeen talking about how he got started and the inspiration for his music.