Sahib Shihab

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Sahib Shihab
Birth name Edmond Gregory
Born (1925-06-23)23 June 1925
Origin Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died 24 October 1989(1989-10-24) (aged 64)
Genres Jazz
Hard Bop
Occupations Saxophonist
Instruments Baritone saxophone
Alto saxophone
Years active 1940s - 1980s
Associated acts Gene Quill, Phil Woods, Hal Stein

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 first played alto saxophone professionally for Luther Henderson at age 13[1] 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, although he remained a conscious African-American still sensitive to racial issues.

In the Eurovision Song Contest 1966, Shihab accompanied Lill Lindfors and Svante Thuresson on stage for the Swedish entry Nygammal Vals.

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.[2]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Art Blakey

With Brass Fever

With Donald Byrd

With Betty Carter

With John Coltrane

With Tadd Dameron

With Art Farmer

With Curtis Fuller and Hampton Hawes

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

With Johnny Griffin

  • Lady Heavy Bottom's Waltz (1968)
  • Griff 'N Bags

With George Gruntz

  • Noon in Tunisia (1967)

With Milt Jackson

With Philly Joe Jones

With Abbey Lincoln

With Thelonious Monk

With Phineas Newborn, Jr.

  • Phineas Newborn Plays Jamaica (September 7, 8 & 9, 1957) - (RCA Victor LPM 1589)

With Tony Scott

With Mal Waldron

With Randy Weston

With Phil Woods