Friday, April 6, 2012

Khalil Shaheed (1949-2012)

Like the rest of the local jazz community, I was shocked to hear of the passing of trumpeter and educator Khalil Shaheed on March 23. He was a superb musician who had worked with artists from Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles to Woody Shaw, and in addition to his own Quartet, he co-led the terrific Mo’Rockin Project with Moroccan multi-instrumentalist Yassir Chadly. I’m happy to say I saw this band on several occasions and thought their combination of jazz and North African melodies was brilliant and inspired.

Anyone who dedicates himself to the noble cause of jazz education should be celebrated, but Shaheed’s commitment went beyond dedication— it was his calling and the driving force of his life. He did outstanding work with SFJAZZ, San Jose Jazz Society and Stanford Jazz Workshop among others, and his own Oaktown Jazz Workshops grew to be a vital institution over the last 18 years. Its new location in Jack London Square remains a crucial resource for students and fans, and much support must go to Shaheed’s family and bassist Ravi Abcarian, who has stepped up as Interim Director.

I know our publicist, Marshall Lamm, and Education Director Rebeca MauleĆ³n can also speak to the importance of Mr. Shaheed’s work. Fortunately, his influence will live on in the students who were fortunate enough to fall under his tutelage, and OJW, SFJAZZ, the JazzSchool and other institutions in the Bay Area will continue the cause of jazz education in his spirit. He will be greatly missed.

Here’s the track “Dance of Guinea” from the Mo’Rockin Project’s Tajine album, featuring Shaheed and Chadly along with saxophonist Richard Howell, pianist Glenn Pearson, bassist Ron Belcher, multi-instrumentalist Bouchaib Abdelhadi and drummer Deszon Claiborne.

Oaktown Jazz Workshops
SF Weekly Blog
SFGate Article


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