Jamaaladeen Tacuma

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Jamaaladeen Tacuma
Jamaaladeen Tacuma Vienna2008.jpg
Jamaaladeen Tacuma (Vienna 2008)
Background information
Birth name Rudy McDaniel
Born (1956-06-11) June 11, 1956 (age 60)
Hempstead, New York
Genres Jazz, free jazz, free funk, jazz fusion
Instruments Electric bass
Years active 1975–present
Labels Gramavision

Jamaaladeen Tacuma (born Rudy McDaniel, June 11, 1956) is an American free jazz bassist born in Hempstead, New York. He was a bandleader on the Gramavision label and worked with Ornette Coleman during the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in Coleman's Prime Time band.

Tacuma showcased a unique style of avant-garde jazz on Coleman's 1982 album Of Human Feelings, and became widely viewed as one of the most distinctive bassists since Jaco Pastorius. He formed his own group, and recorded albums that incorporated commercially accessible melodies while retaining Prime Time's elaborate harmonies.[1] His 1988 album Jukebox was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1989.[2]


Tacuma, raised in Philadelphia, showed interest in music at a young age, performing with the organist Charles Earland in his teens. Through Earland Tacuma came to know the record producer Reggie Lucas, who introduced Jamaaladeen to Ornette Coleman in 1975 at age 19. As the electric bassist for Coleman's funky harmolodic Prime Time group, Tacuma rose to prominence quickly; guitarist Bern Nix was another band member. While with Prime Time, Tacuma relied mostly on traditional technique, picking with his fingers. His later work showcased a more rhythmic, thumb-slapping funk approach.

The first three Prime Time recordings (Dancing in Your Head, Body Meta, and Of Human Feelings, all recorded in the late 1970s) feature Tacuma's work on a Rickenbacker bass, a model popular among progressive rock musicians but rarely used on jazz recordings. He switched to a Steinberger bass in the 1980s, an instrument that helped him create his readily identifiable sound.

Tacuma's work with Prime Time landed him his most high-profile gig to date: an appearance with the band on Saturday Night Live on April 14, 1979, which Tacuma later cited in Musician magazine as his "best live performance ever". Besides the work with such musicians as James "Blood" Ulmer, Walt Dickerson, Chuck Hammer, and David Murray, he collaborated with the upcoming artists of the New York Downtown scene like Kip Hanrahan, David Moss, Bill Laswell and Anton Fier (The Golden Palominos, 1983) that further heightened his reputation. Tacuma's first solo album, Show Stopper, came in 1983 on the Gramavision label; the album grew out of the jazz-funk style he developed in his work with Coleman. His other works as leader at Gramavision followed that formula.

In the 1980s Jamaaladeen started to perform in a relatively straightforward funk/R&B setting with his group Cosmetic. He was frequently featured in music magazines thanks to his aggressive, driving playing style and his angular fashion sense. In 1981 Tacuma received the highest number of votes ever for an electric bassist in the "talent deserving wider recognition" category of the Down Beat magazine critics poll.

Since the early 1990s, he has remained active but has maintained a lower profile. He has made numerous solo and collaborative recordings, including several CDs of duets with saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig. AllMusic cited Mirakle, a recording that features Tacuma, drummer Grant Calvin Weston, and guitarist Derek Bailey as one of the "most important recordings of year 2000." In 2006, he returned to the jazz spotlight with an appearance on the World Saxophone Quartet's Political Blues.

In 2007, he joined with Weston and guitarist Vernon Reid (known for his work in Living Colour and with Ronald Shannon Jackson) to form the power trio Free Form Funky Freqs. He has also recorded two albums with Basso Nouveau, a group that features multiple bassists playing together on a variety of instruments, including electric bass, upright bass and acoustic bass guitar, and that also includes bassist Gerald Veasley.[3]

In 2011, Tacuma was selected for a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Show Stopper (Gramavision, 1983)
  • Renaissance Man (Gramavision, 1984)
  • Music World (Gramavision, 1986)
  • Jukebox (Gramavision, 1988)
  • Boss of the Bass (Gramavision, 1991)
  • Sound Symphony (1992)
  • with Basso Nouveau: The Night of Chamber Music (Moers Music, 1993)
  • Dreamscape (DIW, 1996)
  • Groove 2000 (P-Vine, 1998)
  • Brotherzone (P-Vine, 1999)
  • Flavors of Thelonious Monk Reloaded (Extraplatte, 2007)
  • Coltrane Configurations (Jazzwerkstatt, 2009)
  • For the Love of Ornette (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010)

with Cosmetic[edit]

  • Cosmetics / New Complexion (12", Rough Trade, 1981)
  • Get Ready (/ Put It On) (12", Gramavision, 1982)
  • (In the) Nightlife (/ (In the) Nightlife (Instrumental)) (12", Gramavision, 1983)
  • So Tranquilizin' (Gramavision, 1985)
  • So Tranquilizin' (Dance Mix) (/ N-Er-Gize-Me) (12", Gramavision, 1985)

As co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

with Ornette Coleman[edit]

with Wolfgang Puschnig[edit]

  • Pieces of the Dream (Amadeo, 1988)
  • Gemini-Gemini – The Flavors of Thelonious Monk (ITM, 1991)
  • Alpine Aspects (Amadeo, 1991)
  • Mixed Metaphors w/ Ernst Jandl (Amadeo, 1995)
  • Journey Into the Gemini Territory (ITM Pacific, 1996)
  • Roots & Fruits (Amadeo, 1998)

with Sean Noonan Boxing Dreams (Songlines, 2008) There's Always the Night (noonansmusic, 2014) with Red Sun and Samul Nori

  • Red Sun/Samul Nori (Amadeo, 1989)
  • Then Comes the White Tiger (ECM, 1994)
  • Nanjang – A New Horizon (Amadeo, 1995)

with Linda Sharrock

  • Linda Sharrock & The Three Man Band (Moers Music, 1991)

with others[edit]

with James Carter

With Walt Dickerson

with James Blood Ulmer

with Kip Hanrahan

  • Coup de tête (American Clavé, 1981)
  • Desire Develops an Edge (American Clavé, 1983)
  • Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed (American Clavé, 1985)

with Nona Hendryx

  • Nona (RCA, 1982)

with The Golden Palominos

with David Moss

with Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters

  • There It Is (Bola Press, 1982)

with Cashmere

  • Let the Music Turn You On (Philly World, 1983)

with Veronica Underwood

  • Veronica Underwood (Philly World, 1985)

with Khan Jamal

with Grant Calvin Weston

  • Dance Romance (In+Out, 1988)

with Fool Proof

with James Watkins

  • Intense (ITM, 1989)

with Courtney Pine

with Pink Inc.

  • Alex Deutsch 's Pink Inc. (DIW, 1991)
  • Keys 2 the Kastle (Sweeca, 1995)

with Bazillus

with Fredy Studer and Christy Doran

  • Half a Lifetime (Unit, 1994)

with Sylk 130

  • When the Funk Hits the Fan (Ovum, 1997)

with Ben Schachter

  • Fractals (Ben-Jam, 1999)

with Peter Murphy

with Marc Ribot


External links[edit]