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Artist Profiles

Sahib Shihab: Seeds and Sentiments

By Published: March 10, 2004
Despite Sahib’s more relaxed environment, his marriage to a Danish lady and raising a family in Europe, he remained a resolutely conscious African-American, still sensitive to racial issues. Danish friends regarded him as a mild mannered gentle man, unless riled by the issues of racial inequality and injustice. On the evening of the death of Malcolm X Shihab played an engagement with the CBBB in Cologne. As his turn approached to solo he stood and fingered the notes as vigorously as ever but refrained from making a note with his horn. Producing only an angry hissing noise, for the duration of his chorus. Making his anger, frustration and bitterness abundantly clear.

In 1973 Sahib Shihab 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. Sahib Shihab died in Tennessee in 1989.

A shadowy fugitive from his home in the land of jazz, Sahib Shihab remains a true unsung figure, worthy of more attention. With his equally expert technique on Baritone, Flute, Alto and Soprano saxophones and his capacity to adapt easily to a variety of musical settings. His warm, individual, singsong sound in improvisation and his unusual and interesting compositions mark him out as a hidden treasure in the dusty corners of jazz archive.

Selected Discography
With Theolonius Monk – Complete Blue Note recordings (1947)
With Art Blakey - Theory of Art (1957)
With CBBB – Calypso Blues (1999)
Sahib Shihab – And All Those Cats (1999)



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