Storyville Records

Shihab, Sahib

Sahib Shihab (born Edmund Gregory; 23 June 1925, Savannah, Georgia – 24 October 1989, Nashville, Tennessee) was an American jazz saxophonist (baritone, alto, and soprano) and flautist. He was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He first played alto saxophone professionally for Luther Henderson at age 13[2] and went on to study at the Boston Conservatory and to play with trumpeter Roy Eldridge. He played lead alto with Fletcher Henderson in the mid forties. He was one of the first jazz musicians to convert to Islam and changed his name in 1947. During the late 1940s, Shihab played with Thelonious Monk. During this period, he also found time to appear on many recordings by artists including Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham and Benny Golson. The invitation to play with Dizzy Gillespie's big band in the early fifties was of particular significance as it marked Sahib's switch to baritone. In 1958, Sahib was one of the musicians photographed by Art Kane in his A Great Day in Harlem picture. In 1959, he toured Europe with Quincy Jones after getting fed up with racial politics in USA and ultimately settled in Scandinavia. He worked for Copenhagen Polytechnic and wrote scores for television, cinema and theatre. In 1961, he joined The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band and remained a key figure in the band for the 12 years it ran. He married a Danish lady and raised a family in Europe. In 1973, Sahib returned to the United States for a three-year hiatus, working as a session man for rock and pop artists and also doing some copywriting for local musicians. He spent his remaining years between New York and Europe and played in a successful partnership with Art Farmer and died in Tennessee.

Recordings

Sahib Shihab: Sentiments - Remastered

Sahib Shihab’s career started in the late 1930’s where he would play for the likes of Luther Henderson and Roy Eldridge while studying at the Boston Conservatory. During the 1940’s Shihab played with many of the greats from this period, including Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Miles Davis and many more. Especially his work with Monk proved to be important as it marked the switch from alto to baritone saxophone.

By 1963 Shihab moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he would play with The Danish Radio Group. During this period he also recorded and released music under his own name, and this is where Sentiments came to be. Sentiments features an all-star group consisting of Shihab on sopran and barytone sax and alt flute, Kenny Drew on piano and organ, Niels-Hennig Ørsted Petersen on bass and Jimmy Hopps on Drums. The sheer talents of the musicians shines through on the album, which comes across as a groovy well composed record where all notes and rhythms seems natural and nothing seems forced.