Tacuma, Jamaaladeen, bassist of diverse genres, from classical to pop; b. Hempstead, N.Y., June 11, 1956. Tacuma (McDaniel before he converted to Islam) sang doo-wop as a teenager in Philadelphia and started to play the bass at age 13, gigging in R&B bands and making his professional debut in organist Charles Ear-land’s band while still a teenager. When he was 19, guitarist Reggie Lucas introduced him to Omette Cole-man and he was included in Ornette’s groundbreaking Prime Time band from its inception, appearing on the seminal Prime Time albums Dancing in Your Head, Of Human Feelings, and Body Meta. His virtuosic and highly melodic style on his trademark Steinberger (headless) bass was a good fit in Coleman’s democratically organized Harmolodic music, and has also made him a popular session player with everyone from Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, and Nile Rodg-ers to James Blood Ulmer, Olu Darà, Vernon Reid, Julius Hemphill, and David Murray. The bassist even had a pop music fling of his own in the first half of the 1980s, leading the quintet Cosmetic, which released one album and a few rare singles.
Showstopper (1983); Renaissance Man (1984); So Tran-quilizin’ (1984); Music World (1986); Jukebox (1987); Gemini (1987); Boss of the Bass (1991); Sound Symphony (1992); The Night of Chamber Music (1993); House of Bass: The Best of Jamaaladeen Tacuma (1994); Dreamscape (1996).
—David C. Gross/Steve Holtje