Siddik Rasul

RASUL SIDDIK A BIOGRAPHY Born in St. Louis, Siddik first heard Miles Davis when he was six years old. That was the day he knew he wanted to play trumpet. The young boy was studying the instrument by the time he was ten, and was already influenced by Lee Morgan, John Coltrane, as well as Miles and others. In the early sixties, his exposure to the Black Artist Group (Bag), began to shape Siddik’s musical concepts. Meeting musicians like Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Lester Bowie, Joseph Bowie, Baikida Caroll and John Hicks was one more step in a lifelong learning process. The apprenticeship continued when the young man moved to Chicago and enrolled as a music student in the Malcom X College. While a student, Siddik was also a working musician, going on the road with the Emotions soul group, appearing on the same stage as The Temptations, Gladys Knight, Bluenotes and other headliners. During this period he was involved with the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), co-leading the BLACK ARTIST GROUP OF CHICAGO with reedman Sabu Zawadi. The Chicago experience further stretched Siddik’s creativity, as he often performed with Joseph Jarman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill and other demanding artists. One of the fruits of these many collaborations was the formation of the NOW! SEXTET with drummer Tani Tabbal. In 1975 Siddik moved to the West Coast, where the NOW! ARTET was born. Despite his work with other groups- such as the WATTS TOWERS CREATIVE MUSICIANS, who played at Festac in Lagos in 1977, most of Siddik’s attention was given to the NOW! ARTET, which soon included James Lewis and Ghasem Batamuntu. Playing in many club and festival venues, they attracted a great deal of attention among the public and players alike, often enjoying the presence of musicians like Pharoah Sanders and Julius Hemphill, who would sit in with the band. By 1979, Rasul Siddik was living the life of a commuting artist, playing and recording in Europe and the States with THE ST. LOUIS CREATIVE ENSEMBLE and DEFUNKT. The travel schedule became even more complex as he added constant trips to New York, playing with the HENRY THREADGILL SEXTET, David Murray’s many groups, MICHELE ROSEWOMEN’S NEW YORUBA, and John Hick’s bands, only to name the most familiar. By 1986 he moved to New York, where he added recording dates and tours with LESTER BOWIE’S BRASS FANTASY, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, and the playwright Ntzake Shange in duo performances. Outside his work in jazz, for which he’s best known, Siddik has worked extensively with many African, Salsa, and other World Music groups. These varied influences led to the formation of THE CHARACTERS. After a tour in France for the “Banlieues Bleues” Festival, Rasul reconnected with the other Now Artet band members, (James Lewis and Ghasem Batamuntu,) and decided to stay in Europe. While living in Europe, Siddik has collaborated with David Murray on several projects, including his Hommage to Duke Ellington, his Octet plays Trane, his Creole Project, now the internationally acclaimed David Murray and the Gwoka Masters. Since the mid 1990’s to the present Siddik has been working and recording with such greats as Bobby Few, Archie Shepp, Kirk Lightsey, Katy Roberts, Sunny Murray, Joe Lee Wilson, and Steve Mc Craven's Group “BLACK STUDIES”. He also formed a new group, “The Power Trio” with the bassist James Lewis and the legendary drummer Oliver Johnson. Siddik's more recent performances include the Art Ensemble of Chicago, 2006 and 2007, (Austria and France), the AACM Orchestra, 2008, (Paris), and Archie Shepp Chuck D Project, 2008, (Paris). He recently performed at the Vision Festival in NYC , (June, 2008), with Sabir Mateen and Henry Grimes Quartet. His latest recordings include a quartet with Tani Tabbal A Magic Ensemble and a new recording with the Katy Roberts Quartet. He has recently finished his first recording as a leader, the "RASUL SIDDIK NOW! ARTET" to be released shortly this year on the Philology Label, a major Italian jazz label! THE CHARACTERS, THE NOW! ARTET and THE POWER TRIO are available for recording and concert work, offering what Siddik says is a “music which must and will be heard.”