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 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.
The music here has never been released before on CD, and is comprised of 2 extremely rare LP’s: “Sahib Shihab & the Danish Radio Jazz Group” (recorded in 1965) and “Sentiments” (recorded in 1971). Joining saxophonist Sahib Shihab on these two sessions are the best musicians on the Danish scene in the late 60’s, including Bent Jædig on tenor sax, Palle Mikkelborg on trumpet, Torolf Mølgaard on trombone, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass, Alex Riel on drums and the famous American pianist Kenny Drew. The musical style is jazz, sometimes blended with an Eastern, North African or American Indian influence and – on one tune – even rock music. This CD is packed with exciting compositions and wonderful performances; check out Kenny Drew’s moving ballad “Extase”, among many fine examples.