Few musicians leave their audiences with a feeling that they have truly witnessed something amazing. Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma does just that. This native Philadelphian has always stretched the old mold of what and how a bassist is supposed to play by simply redefining his instrument’s artistic potential. In the mid-1970s, his creative free approach to the bass caught the eyes and ears of legendary saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Tacuma became a member of Coleman’s electric band, Prime Time, and played on some of Coleman’s historic recordings, such as “Dancing In Your Head,” “Body Meta” and “Of Human Feelings.”
Tacuma’s latest recording, “For The Love Of Ornette,” features his 80-year-old musical mentor in a stellar creative alliance. “The album comes from an idea that I had to give something back to Ornette Coleman, something that he basically gave to me in terms of knowledge about music and as something you take serious,” said Tacuma. “On my first album, he wrote a piece for me called, ‘Tacuma’s Song’ and so for him I wrote a piece called ‘For the Love of Ornette,’ which has different musical movements under it.”
Tacuma has collaborated with a diverse and talented roster of artists from guitarists Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana to saxophonists Pharaoh Sanders and Grover Washington Jr. He has worked with orchestras led by Anthony Davis at Carnegie Hall, has recorded and performed with The Roots, DJ King Britt and DJ Logic. The bassist has shared the stage with Bill Cosby at the JVC Jazz Festival and appeared on ‘The David Letterman Show’where Tacuma was band director for the night. He has even written music for the hit TV show, “The Cosby Show”. Staying true to his artistic and experimental approach to music, Tacuma is consistently bringing musical happiness to fans around the world while maintaining roots in his beloved hometown.
“There is so much inspiration here in Philadelphia coming from all the musicians, the artists,” said Tacuma. “It’s a town that’s very critical, but at the same time there’s a lot that flows through in terms of creativity. A lot of times, people that have that creativity leave for whatever reason. Because of family, I feel the need to stay and I hope that by staying I can continue on with that creative flow and not only inspire not only myself, but also others.”
Art-Live at Vivant Art Collection features Jamaaladeen Tacuma on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. on Gallery Row, 60 N. 2nd St. The evening will include live musical performances with Jamaaladeen on bass and special guests Wadud Ahmad, Yoichi Uzeki and Terry Atkins, along with a special live painting performance by Bariq Cobbs. Art-Live, a monthly after work Wine and Jazz affair, is presented by WRTI’s J. Michael Harrison, host of “The Bridge” and Florcy Morisset, owner of Vivant Art Collection. For more information, call (310) 612-4636 or visit vivantartcollection.com.