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).


Questions of Practice

The premiere American Impresario article comes from one of the nation’s most adventurous radio producers, WNYC’s John Schaefer, host of Soundcheck, New Sounds, and the New Sounds Live concert series.

Collaborators & Colleagues

A multiple Grammy Award winner, Robert Page is the Paul Mellon University Professor of Music Emeritus in the School of Music and coordinator of the opera program.

Grants & Grantees

Linh Dinh is a poet and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Pang Xiong Sirirathasuk Sikoun is a textile artist and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

The first comprehensive museum exhibition of James Castle’s work consisted of over 300 drawings, text works, and handmade books.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ian Berry is Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

In 2001, saxophonist and Pew Fellow Bobby Zankel founded the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, a big band to perform his compositions and arrangements.

the ICA presents Mouth of Darkness, a performance by musician Travis, organized by Endless Shout collaborator The Otolith Group.

Philadelphia Baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare received support for performances and modern-day premieres of mostly unpublished works by Johann Friedrich Fasch.

Grants & Grantees

A performance and newly commissioned album-length musical composition by Jace Clayton will take its inspiration from the artwork and record collection of Albert Barnes—including a recording which is credited with introducing African American spirituals to the wider world—offering audiences a way to reconnect with and to reimagine the Barnes Foundation collection through sound.

Visual artist and Pew Fellow Benjamin Volta on his belief that art can be a catalyst for social change, the importance of fostering sustaining creative experiences, and more.