Idris Muhammad

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Idris Muhammad
Idris Muhammad playing with Reggie Workman and Pharoah Sanders, c. 1978
Idris Muhammad playing with Reggie Workman and Pharoah Sanders, c. 1978
Background information
Birth nameLeo Morris
Born(1939-11-13)November 13, 1939
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedJuly 29, 2014(2014-07-29) (aged 74)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Idris Muhammad (Arabic: إدريس محمد‎; born Leo Morris; November 13, 1939 – July 29, 2014) was an American jazz drummer who recorded with Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, Pharoah Sanders, and Tete Montoliu.[2]


Born Leo Morris in New Orleans, he grew up in the city's 13th Ward.[3] He showed early talent as a percussionist and began his professional career while still a teenager, playing on Fats Domino’s "Blueberry Hill".[4]

He toured with Sam Cooke, and later worked with Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield, mostly working in R&B until the mid-1960s, before going on to work more frequently in jazz.[citation needed]

Muhammad was an endorser of Istanbul Agop Cymbals.[5]

He died aged 74 in 2014.[6]

Personal life[edit]

He changed his name to Idris Muhammad in the 1960s upon his conversion to Islam. Speaking of his name change, he later noted in an interview with Modern Drummer magazine, "One guy told me that if I changed my name, I was going to have a problem because no one would know that Leo Morris and Idris Muhammad were the same guy...But I thought, well, if I stay the same person, then people will know it’s me. And it worked like that. Everybody knew right away that it was me, because of my style of playing.”[3]

In 1966, he married Dolores "LaLa" Brooks, a former member of the Crystals. She converted to Islam with him and went for a time by the name Sakinah Muhammad. They separated in 1999. Together, they had two sons and two daughters, and he had one daughter from a previous marriage to Gracie Lee Edwards.[6]


Idris Muhammad is probably best known for his 1974 album Power of Soul, including the track "Loran's Dance", which received considerable airplay on jazz radio stations.[citation needed]

As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Nat Adderley

With Eric Alexander

With Gene Ammons

With George Benson

With Walter Bishop, Jr.

With Bobby Broom

  • Modern Man (Delmark, 2001)

With Rusty Bryant

With George Coleman

With Hank Crawford

With Paul Desmond

With Fats Domino

With Lou Donaldson

With Charles Earland

With Grant Green

With Johnny Griffin

With Roy Hargrove

With Benjamin Herman

  • Get In (1999)

With John Hicks

With Andrew Hill

With Richard "Groove" Holmes

With Freddie Hubbard

With Bobbi Humphrey

With Willis Jackson

With Ahmad Jamal

With Bob James

  • Touchdown (Tappan Zee, 1978)

With J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding

With Etta Jones

With Rodney Jones

  • Soul Manifesto (1991)

With Keystone Trio

With Charles Kynard

With Joe Lovano

With Johnny Lytle

With Harold Mabern

With Jimmy McGriff

With Tete Montoliu

With Tisziji Munoz

  • Visiting This Planet (Anami Music
  • Hearing Voices (Anami Music)

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Don Patterson

With Houston Person

With Ernest Ranglin

  • Below the Bassline (Island, 1998)

With Roots

  • Stablemates (In+Out, 1993)

With Pharoah Sanders

With John Scofield

With Shirley Scott

With Lonnie Smith

With Melvin Sparks

With Leon Spencer

With Bob Stewart

With Sonny Stitt

With Gábor Szabó

With Stanley Turrentine

With Randy Weston

  • Portraits of Duke Ellington (Verve, 1989)
  • Portraits of Thelonious Monk (Verve, 1989)
  • Self Portraits (Verve, 1989)
  • Spirits of Our Ancestors (Verve, 1991)

With Reuben Wilson

With Roberto Magris



  1. ^
  2. ^ Idris Muhammad at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b "Idris Muhammad Dies at Age 74". Modern Drummer Magazine. 2014-07-31. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  4. ^ a b Morton, Brian (August 8, 2014). "Idris Muhammad: New Orleans jazz drummer who played as a teenager on Fats Domino's hit single 'Blueberry Hill'". The Independent.
  5. ^ "Istanbul Agop 22" Signature Idris Muhammad Ride Cymbal", Memphis Drum Shop.
  6. ^ a b Chinen, Nate (August 8, 2014). "Idris Muhammad, Drummer Whose Beat Still Echoes, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Fats Domino. "Blueberry Hill". Discogs page, revealing actual date to be 1965. Retrieved January 11, 2018., .
  8. ^ Allmusic Heart Beats review
  9. ^ Allmusic Newklear Music review
  10. ^ "Paul's Boutique Samples and References List".

External links[edit]