Salah Ragab

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Salah Ragab
DiedJuly 2008 age 72
Associated actsSun Ra

Salah Ragab (Arabic: صلاح رجب) was an Egyptian drummer and musician credited with founding Egyptian jazz.[1]


Early life[edit]

A Major in the Egyptian Army through the 1960s, he first attempted to form a jazz band in 1964, with American saxophonist Mac X. Spears. Together with Hartmut Geerken and Edu Vizvari, he founded one of the first Egyptian jazz big bands.

Salah Ragab formed the first jazz big band in Egypt The Cairo Jazz Band in 1968, he was also the leader of the Military Music Departments[2] in Heliopolis, and members of the band included Zaki Osman (Trumpet), Saied Salama (Tenor Sax) - Khamis El -Kholy (Piano) and Ala Mostafa (Piano). On this recording the band consists of five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums and percussion and various other oriental instruments. The opening concert of The Cairo Jazz Band was in Ewart Memorial Hall at The American University 23 February 1969. Salah Ragab accompanied band leader and composer Sun Ra on a Tour in Egypt, Greece, France and Spain in 1984. He also studied jazz theory and improvisation with the jazz musician and composer Osman Kareem, with whom he formed the first jazz quintet in Cairo in 1963, recording with the Radio Service of Cairo. He gave a series of educational lectures about Jazz History at the German Culture 'Goethe Institute'.


His group's first performance occurred at Ewart Memorial Hall of American University in February, 1969, and included compositions by all of the group's founders, as well as arrangements of works by Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley and Count Basie.[1]

Ragab is perhaps best known outside Egypt for two collaborative concerts he performed with Sun Ra, in 1971 and 1983.[3] Ragab's composition "Egypt Strut" (recorded sometime within 1968-1973 and later by Sun Ra in 1983), the title a reference to "King Tut Strut", is referenced in the title of Frank Zappa's 1977 composition Re-Gyptian Strut.

He died in July 2008 in Cairo at age 72.


  • Salah Ragab Meets Sun Ra in Egypt, Leo Records Golden Years.
  • Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band Presents Egyptian Jazz Art Yard LP 006. 2006
  • Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band Presents Egyptian Jazz Art Yard CD 006. 2006
  • Salah Ragab, Side A: A Tribute TO Sun Ra /Side B: Latino in Cairo, Art Yard 45 001. 2007
  • Various Artists - Lagos Shake A Tony Allen Chop Up, 'Ole (Cairo Version)', Track D1, Honest Jons Records HJRLP34


  1. ^ a b "Salah Ragab | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  2. ^ Szwed, John (1997). Space is the Place. Payback Press. pp. 292–293. ISBN 0-86241-722-8.
  3. ^ Szwed (1997), p355

External links[edit]