Jazz Messengers: Islam in American Jazz
Fred Patterson, the archivist at the ARChive of Contemporary Music, is working on a research project called “Jazz Messengers” for Muslim World Music Day. In the 1950s, trumpet player Talib Dawood former a seventeen-piece big band called “The Messengers” composed entirely of Muslim musicians. Members included Yusuf Lateef, Sahib Shihab, Ahmed Jamal and McCoy Tyner. Later one member, Art Blakey, kept a group of the core musicians together as his “Jazz Messengers.”
The Jazz Messengers Project will build a discography of recordings by Muslim-American jazz musicians, and the resulting information will become part of the Muslim World Music Day database. To find out more about the influence of Islam on American jazz and blues and see the discography-in-progress, go to the project website here: The Jazz Messengers.