[photo of Alaadeen from Facebook]
Heaven’s jam sessions just got a little better – but what a rough week for jazz lovers. Abbey Lincoln passed on Saturday at age 80. Village Voice and JazzTimes critic Nat Hentoff shared his thoughts on the iconic singer with NPR.
Kansas City jazz elder statesman, saxophonist, bandleader, mentor and all-around stellar human being [Ahmad] Alaadeen passed away yesterday at 76 after a battle with cancer.
One of the last links between Kansas City’s storied past and the current scene, Alaadeen was a tremendous performer and friend to many. Among other times I met him or watched him perform, I had the good fortune to hang with Alaadeen for about 10-15 minutes – alone – outside the Mutual Musicians Foundation one afternoon. He was such a presence, a personality, and one of the most tremendous musicians I’ve ever encountered. I’ll have to give “Grace” from his New Africa Suite a spin tonight in tribute. A full press release on Alaadeen’s life and details on his memorial service can be found here.
If you’ve seen an image of a smoke-filled club with a rapt audience sitting and admiring a legendary performer – Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald – Herman Leonard probably took it. The photographer died on Saturday at age 87. I’m sure he’ll be shooting the jam session this week as those who left this earth join the souls and spirits making beautiful noise above the clouds.