Jamaaladeen Tacuma

2011 PEW FELLOW
Updated
30 Nov 2016

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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).