Ahmed Abdul-Malik

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Ahmed Abdul-Malik
Birth name Jonathan Tim, Jr.[1]:92
Born (1927-01-30)January 30, 1927
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died October 2, 1993(1993-10-02) (aged 66)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Double bass
Labels Prestige
Associated acts Art Blakey, Earl Hines

Ahmed Abdul-Malik (born Jonathan Tim, Jr.; January 30, 1927 – October 2, 1993) was a jazz double bassist and oud player.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Abdul-Malik claimed that his father was from Sudan and moved to the United States. Research by historian Robin Kelley, however, indicates that Abdul-Malik was born to Caribbean immigrants and changed his birth name:

Ahmed Abdul-Malik was born Jonathan Tim Jr., (sometimes spelled "Timm") on January 30, 1927, to Matilda and Jonathan Tim Sr. – both of whom had immigrated from St. Vincent in the British West Indies three years earlier. They also had a daughter, Caroline, born a little more than a year after Jonathan Jr. Jonathan Tim Sr.'s death certificate not only confirms his birth in St. Vincent, it indicates that his father – Abdul-Malik's grandfather – James Tim, and his mother, Mary Daniels, were both from the Caribbean. City directories for Brooklyn, as well as the American Federation of Musicians Union Local 802 directory, confirm the bassist's birth name as Jonathan Tim Jr.[1]:92

The family lived at 545 Hopkinson Avenue, but moved to 1984 Atlantic Avenue before their son started school.[1]:93 Jonathan, Jr. had violin lessons from his father, who was a plasterer and general laborer.[1]:93 Aged seven, Jonathan, Jr. attended the Vardi School of Music and Art, "to continue his violin training, and over time took up piano, cello, bass, and tuba."[1]:93 His parents divorced in the late 1930s, and he went to live with his father and new wife, at 2117 Dean Street, but his father died on February 9, 1941, from a bleeding gastric ulcer.[1]:93 Jonathan, Jr. continued studying, including having lessons with local bassist Franklin Skeete,[1]:93 before joining The High School of Music & Art in Harlem.[4] There, "his skills on violin and viola earned him a spot in the All-City Orchestra."[1]:93

Later life[edit]

In the mid-1970s, Abdul-Malik was a substitute teacher at Junior High School 281, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, as well as the strings instructor at Junior High School 117 in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, teaching strings under the supervision of Andrew Liotta. While seeking a teaching certification, in addition to study under Liotta in orchestration and composition, Abdul-Malik also taught Sudanese in the junior high school language department. In the late 1970s he taught individual students private instruction in jazz improvisation at New York University.[citation needed] In the late 1980s he taught orchestra at Seth Low Junior High (I.S. 96) in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.[citation needed]

Abdul-Malik is noted for integrating Middle Eastern and North African music styles in his jazz music. He was the bassist for Art Blakey, Earl Hines, Randy Weston, and Thelonious Monk among others.[5] As an oud player he did a tour of South America for the United States Department of State and performed at an African jazz festival in Morocco.[citation needed]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Art Blakey

With John Coltrane

With Walt Dickerson

With Earl Hines

  • 'Fatha': The New Earl Hines Trio (1964)
  • The Real Earl Hines (1964)

With Jutta Hipp

With Odetta

With Herbie Mann

With Ken McIntyre

With Thelonious Monk

With Dave Pike

With Randy Weston


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kelley, Robin D. G. (2012), Nathan I. Huggins Lectures: Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times. Harvard University Press.
  2. ^ Allmusic biography
  3. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 1. ISBN 0-141-00646-3. 
  4. ^ Weston, Randy, and Willard Jenkins (2010) African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, p. 25. Duke University Press.
  5. ^ Curry, John (2002). "Abdul-Malik, Ahmed". In Barry Kernfeld. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 3. ISBN 1561592846.