Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 26 Sep. '40, Baltimore MD) Reeds, keyboards, composer, sometime singer. Studied at Juilliard at 17; his parents took over a Baltimore jazz club '60 and he got priceless experience at being a leader, as well the chance to go with Art Blakey '65--6. Worked with Max Roach '68--9 (Members Don't Get Weary on Atlantic), on albums with McCoy Tyner (Expansions '68, Extensions '70 on Blue Note), with Miles Davis '70--71 (Live/Evil), then formed his own Ntu Troupe '72 (a Bantu word meaning unification of physical and spiritual). Own records: Libra '67, Another Earth '68, Home! '69, Harlem Bush Music: Taifa and Uhuru '70--71, all on Milestone; Juju Street Songs '72, Follow The Medicine Man '72, I've Known Rivers And Other Bodies '73, Singarella: A Ghetto Fairy Tale '73--4, The Shadow Do '75, all on Prestige; then with the exception of more work with McCoy Tyner '76 and on Woody Shaw's last Columbia dates '79--81 he disappeared further into unrewarding funk fusion on Capitol and other labels, coming back to the hard stuff with Monsoon and Reflections Of Monk: The Final Frontier '88 on Steeplechase, followed by West 42nd St and There Goes The Neighborhood on Candid, Shadows on Timeless and Episode One: Children Of Harlem on Challenge, The Red And Orange Poems '95 on Atlantic. Nowadays he concentrates on alto and soprano sax, and surprisingly chooses the alto as more challenging: the soprano may be difficult to play in tune, but the alto's range is more like that of the human voice.