Jamaaladeen Tacuma

2011 Pew Fellow

Jamaaladeen Tacuma, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“My approach has evolved to be adaptable to just about any musical situation. I don’t want to be that kind of musician that is completely locked into one particular idea.”

Jamaaladeen Tacuma (b. 1956) is considered a living legend among jazz circles. A musician-composer-arranger-producer, he is credited with redefining the potential of the electric bass. In the mid-1970s, his creatively free and funky approach caught the eye and ear of legendary saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Tacuma became part of Coleman’s electric band, Prime Time, toured with the group, and played on historic recordings of Dancing in Your Head, Body Meta, and Of Human Feelings. Over the years, Tacuma has collaborated with a diverse and talented roster of artists, including guitarists Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Marc Ribot, and James Blood Ulmer. He has also performed and recorded with saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington, Jr., Odean Pope, and James Carter. He ranges from high culture to pop, working with both orchestras at Carnegie Hall and hip-hop/rap artists such as the Roots. Tacuma’s release, For the Love of Ornette (November 2010), was published on his own label, Jam-All Productions. It revisits his collaboration with Ornette Coleman, who also features in the mix of players. His most recent recording is Bon Vivant (2001) with Free Form Funky Freqs, a trio consisting of Tacuma with Vernon Reid (guitar) and G. Calvin Weston (drums). Support from the Center enabled Tacuma to attend his first-ever artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony (spring 2012) and the Headlands Center for the Arts (fall 2012).


John Harbison sets the poetry of Louise Glück, Jessica Fisher, and Eugenio Montale to music and conducts this premiere performance.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since 2001, Rena Zurofsky has been an independent consultant with three primary areas of specialization: as a strategic planner, a retail planner, and an interim director.

The Center’s 2015 Year in Review highlights the outstanding accomplishments of our grantees, and the broad scope of the Center’s funding.

One of this country’s oldest choruses, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia seeks to advance the development of choral music as an art form.

We are deeply saddened by the news that Nicholas Kripal, 1999 Pew Fellow, passed away on September 30, 2016.

Jazz Bridge presents a concert featuring two musical duos: saxophonist Jimmy Heath and his brother, drummer Tootie Heath, and trumpeters and brothers Duane Eubanks and Robin Eubanks.

Grants & Grantees

The Academy of Vocal Arts produced French composer Jules Massenet’s opera in recognition of the centennial of his death.

Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe visited the Center in fall 2011 to speak with Pew Fellows about using creative solutions to renovate old homes to revitalize a community.

Informed by first-person accounts of the Women, Infants, and Children (W.I.C.) nutritional assistance program, this mobile exhibition and series of public programs will explore the lived experience of welfare and expand the Philadelphia Public History Truck’s programmatic focus.

Grants & Grantees

Founded in 2002 by two composers, Chamber Music Now provided the Philadelphia community with original concert productions.

Grants & Grantees

This large-scale performance piece revealed unique insights into Fryderyk Chopin as both a historical figure and a masterful composer, as the piano parts for two concerti were replaced with powerful spoken monologues constructed from fragments of Chopin’s letters and biographies, performed in Polish by actress Barbara Wysocka and accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

Philagrafika presented The Graphic Unconscious as the thematic centerpiece of Philagrafika 2010, a citywide festival.