Shafi Hadi

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Shafi Hadi
Birth nameCurtis Porter
Born (1929-09-21) September 21, 1929 (age 91)
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Associated actsCharles Mingus, Hank Mobley

Shafi Hadi (born Curtis Porter, 21 September 1929) is an American jazz tenor and alto saxophonist known for his recordings with Charles Mingus and with Hank Mobley.


Hadi was born Curtis Porter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1][2] At age 6, he received piano lessons from his grandmother.[2] Later, he studied musical composition at Howard University and University of Detroit.[2] Hadi performed with rhythm and blues artists such as Paul Williams, Ruth Brown, and the Griffin Brothers.[2]

Hadi recorded with bassist Charles Mingus between 1956 and 1958.[2] He also recorded with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley.[3] Hadi improvised the soundtrack music for John Cassavetes's film Shadows, then returned to Mingus's group in 1959.[2][4] He also collaborated with Mary Lou Williams on her 1977 composition "Shafi", although the extent of Hadi's contribution is unclear.[5][6]

During the 1950s, Hadi was also active in painting.[2]

Playing style[edit]

Brian Priestley describes Hadi's performance style as a "distinctive mixture of bop and blues, combined with a very individual tone."[5] Martin Williams, writing in 1958, described Hadi's playing as being "both contemporary and a reflection of an apprenticeship in rhythm and blues bands."[7]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Langston Hughes

With Charles Mingus

With Hank Mobley:


  1. ^ a b arwulf, arwulf [sic]. "Debut Rarities, Vol. 3". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-29. Discographical indexes list the band under the name of the Shafi Hadi Sextet.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (1999). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford: Oxford UP. p. 283.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  3. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Shafi Hadi: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  4. ^ Giddins, Gary (2004-09-20). "Shadows: Eternal Times Square". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  5. ^ a b Priestley, Brian (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides, Ltd. pp. 321–322. ISBN 1-84353-256-5. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  6. ^ Dutch Jazz Orchestra. "Mary Lou Williams - Dutch Jazz Orchestra CDs". Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  7. ^ Williams, Martin (1992) [1958]. "The Weary Blues and Other Poems Read by Langston Hughes". Jazz Changes. p. 196. ISBN 9780195359367. Retrieved 2011-08-10.