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Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor

Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor is a multi-award-winning soul-funk-jazz singer, songwriter, pianist and producer.

About Me

Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor [Mwalim *7)]is a multidisciplinary, master artist and teacher. As a musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and producer, he is the type of NDN Jazz/ soul - funk - jazz artist who embodies the time-honored tradition of the musical storyteller. A vibrant and prolific figure in the underground soul and dance music scene, Mwalim notes, “I never made a killing, but I've always made a living.” Nicknamed ‘DaPhunkee Professor’ by a former student; Mwalim is a tenured professor of English and Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Playing Carnegie Hall before he turned 14, Mwalim began his career in the 1980's, while attending Music & Art High School. Hanging out in the fabled 251 West 3oth Street music building led to doing session work at Planet Studios and Rogue studios; later doing session work at Jazzy Jay Recording Studios when it was located in the Bronx. Nicknamed “The String Guy” for adding violin, viola and cello parts to songs, he also played keyboard on a number of early hip-hop, r&b and dance music recordings in New York City and eventually Boston, MA.

He went on to attend Boston University as a music composition and history major, where he continued his work as a studio session player. He also joined New African Company -the oldest professional Black theater company in New England- initially as a composer in residence, but also received formal training in theater arts and arts education. Upon completing his undergraduate work, he continued as a film student, earning a MS in Film Production.

Mwalim came into his own as a producer, arranger and remix artist, lending his talents to projects by a myriad of major and independent labels and artists before emerging as a solo soul and spoken-word artist in the late 1990s in the east coast small club circuit. As an underground soul artist, his style and sound was part of the foundation for the 'neo-soul' trend. A mentor to many up and coming artists, he is considered the 'Godfather of the South Coast Soul Movement' (referring to the Southern region of New England). After a bad stint with a major record label, Mwalim re-organized his own independent label, Liberation Music – MGM from the imprint that he formerly used, Midnight Groove Recordings/ Multimedia.

Winner of the 'Best Male Jazz Artist' category at the 2010 and 2012 New England Urban Music Awards, Mwalim has opened for and/or performed with Musiq, The Four Tops, Angie Stone, The P-Funk All-Stars, The Last Poets, KRS –ONE, and N’Dambi. His CD, “The Liberation Sessions” (Liberation Music – MGM) scored the club hit, DEM BIG GIRLS and earned multiple top nominations from the Urban Music Awards as well as two Top nominations from the 2010 Native American Music Awards (NAMMYs). After a stint at a major label as an artist and producer, Mwalim helped form Liberation Music - MGM in 2007, launching their first release in 2008; the critically acclaimed “Sketches of a Neighborhood” as The Bass Mint Bros.

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Follow Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor on Twitter @mwalim

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2016-11-17

I love jazz because it is the music from which all other forms flow. It is the true musical form of this continent, combining the music of Africans and Native Americans with some French influences. I met Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Harris, Horace Silver, Wynton Marsalis, Charnett Moffett, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Gomez, Ron Carter, Maceo Parker, and a bunch of other legends. The best show I ever attended was... my own ;-) The first jazz record I bought was Chicken Shack by Jimmy Smith. My advice to new listeners start with "The Corner" and work your way back.

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