Cellist who gave his instrument a new, original and influential voice in the world of jazz music
Despite occasional valiant efforts, the cello was among a group of European concert instruments – such as the bassoon, the oboe and the French horn – that long struggled to find a place for itself within jazz. The emergence in the 1970s of Abdul Wadud, who brought a fine classical technique to bear on a knowledge of the idiom’s latest developments and its deepest roots, gave the instrument a new, original and influential voice.
Wadud, who has died aged 75, initially came to attention through a series of remarkable small-group recordings in which the saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill sought inspiration in the sounds and rhythms of Africa, particularly the Dogon people of Mali.
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