Abdullah, Ahmed

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Abdullah, Ahmed

Abdullah, Ahmed, trumpeter, composer, leader; b. Harlem, May 10, 1947 (some authorities give his birth year as 1946). He started playing at age 13, and when he was 16 his parents moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He attended Brooklyn Tech. H.S., Queens Coll., and Kingsboro Coll., and privately studied composing and arranging with Cal Massey and trumpet with Carmine Caruso, Chris Capers, and James Stubbs. Abdullah’s first professional experience was with a band called The Master Brotherhood. During the early 1970s he backed Solomon Burke, Little Johnny Taylor, and Wilson Pickett as part of Cliff Driver and the Ram Rods, and worked with Joe Simon and Lonnie Young-blood. He also played with Massey, King Rubin and the Counts, Earl Coleman, Lynn Oliver, and The Brotherhood of Sound. Abdullah’s work in the Melodic Art-Tet (with Charles Brackeen, Ronnie Boykins, and Roger Blank) led to an association with Sun Ra from May 1975 through 1997. In 1986 he founded The Group with Marion Brown, Billy Bang, Andrew Cyrille, and Sirone, and together they toured Europe.

In 1972 he formed his own group, Abdullah, which recorded one track in 1976. He worked and recorded with Ed Blackwell in 1979 and toured in The Ed Blackwell Project in 1991. Abdullah has also recordedwith Arthur Blythe and Billy Bang, and he worked from 1973 to 1983 with choreographer and dancer Dianne Mclntyre and was a soloist with New York Dancemo-bile. In 1987 he formed The Solomonic Unit (later Sextet) around the talents of Charles Moffett. In October 1991 they toured Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey under the auspices of the U.S. Information Agency; they toured Germany a year later. In 1995 through June 1996, Abdullah and his wife, Monique Ngozi Nri, produced concerts in Manhattan by The Sun Ra Arkestra and his own group. With the death of Moffett in 1997, the name of the group was changed to Diaspora. Abdullah has also taught in programs offered by Young Audiences, Orch. of St. Luke, and Carnegie Hall, and with dancer/choreographer Mickey Davidson. His performances at the Skopje (1971) and Leverkreusen (Germany, 1972) jazz festivals were televised.


Live at Ali’s Alley (1978); Life’s Force (1978/79); Liquid Magic (1987); Solomonic Quintet featuring Charles Moffett (1987); Dedication (1997).

—Lewis Porter