Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Jamal, Khan (Warren Robert Cheesboro)

Jamal, Khan [Warren Robert Cheesboro], vibraphonist, marimba, percussion, composer; b. Jacksonville, FL, 23 July 1946. His mother was a stride pianist. He moved to Philadelphia as child, and studied at the Granoff School of Music. He also studied vibes and percussion at Combs College of Music. He went to Europe with the army for 2 years. He began on vibes in the mid-'60s. In Philadelphia in the late '60s formed percussion-dominated Cosmic Forces Ensemble, Sounds of Liberation. He added saxophonist B. Lancaster and co-formed the Sounds of Liberation with him in the early '70s for some concerts and recordings. He went to Paris 1973 for concerts and recordings.

He has worked with Sunny Murray, Sun Ra, A. Shepp, D. Burrell, G. Moncur III, F. Lowe, N. Howard, Norman Connors, S. Rivers, Stanley Clarke, Gary Bartz, Calvin Hill, and T. Daniel. He is active in Black studies program in Philadelphia. He performed and recorded with Sunny Murray's Untouchable Factor in the late '70s. He played with Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, in bands led by Joe Bonner and Billy Bang, and headed his own groups in the '80s and '90s. He's played with Bill Lewis, Monette Sudler, Dwight James and Jamaaladeen Tacuma among others. Jamal is a keyboard percussionist, composer, arranger, educator and recording artist who plays the vibraphone, marimba, piano, xylophone, African balafon, and other percussion instruments whose origins can be traced to Africa, Asia and the Americas. As a leader, Jamal fronts his own trio, quartet, quintet, and orchestra. As a performance artist, Jamal has worked with poets Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez and with dancer Rennie Harris. In addition, he has appeared as musical director and collaborator with various theatrical productions with the highly acclaimed Freedom Theatre and the Painted Bride Arts Center. Jamal was chosen as one of the inaugural artists for Pennsylvania Artists on Tour, a collaboration with the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and has received grant awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He leads workshops and master classes, has taught at LaSalle University and is currently on staff at the University of Pennsylvania's Arts in Education Program. Jamal has received numerous awards, including the Downbeat International Critics Award for Vibraphones. For formal music study, Jamal matriculated at the Granoff School of Music, Combs College of Music, and Temple University, all based in Philadelphia. He studied with vibraphonist Bill Lewis early in his career and went on to develop his own identity and original concepts as a musician. Jamal, who has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, is a frequent guest at international jazz festivals. He has appeared on more than 70 recordings, as a leader and as a sideman. Included among the many musicians he has worked with are Grover Washington, Jr., Jamaladeen Tacuma, John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, Archie Shepp, Bill Lewis, David "Sunny" Murray, Philly Joe Jones, and Jo hn Blake. Jamal's internationally renowned recording and performance career has included stints with Grover Washington, Jr., Archie Shepp, Ike & Tina Turner, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Mal Waldron, and Ed Blackwell among others. Jamal was one of the earliest composers to add what is now known as "world beat flavor" to his compositions. Always searching for strong rhythms, Jamal incorporates African and Caribbean style percussion in his compositions and arrangements. In addition to concerts featuring his various ensembles, Jamal also provides meaningful music programs and workshops in the community for children, adults, senior citizens, disabled youth and adults.

Infinity (1982); Dark Warrior (1984); Three (1984); Traveller (1985); Thinking of You (1986); Speak Easy (1988); Don't Take No (1989); Percussion and String Quartet: Cool; Balafon Dance

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