Idrees Sulieman

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Idrees Sulieman
Idrees Sulieman.jpg
Background information
Birth nameLeonard Graham
Born(1923-08-07)August 7, 1923
St. Petersburg, Florida
DiedJuly 23, 2002(2002-07-23) (aged 78)
St. Petersburg, Florida
Genres Bop
Hard bop
Occupation(s) Trumpeter
Instruments Trumpet
LabelsPrestige, Blue Note, Atlantic, Verve, others
Associated acts Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Howard McGhee, Lionel Hampton, Thelonious Monk

Idrees Sulieman (August 7, 1923 – July 23, 2002) was an American bop and hard bop trumpeter. [1]



He was born Leonard Graham on August 7, 1923, later changing his name to Idrees Sulieman after converting to Islam. [2] He studied at the Boston Conservatory, and gained early experience playing with the Carolina Cotton Pickers and the wartime Earl Hines Orchestra (1943–1944).

On October 15, 1947, on what was Suliman's second recording date (source: liner notes by Michael Cuscuna to The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Thelonious Monk ) he played on Thelonious Monk’s first recording for Blue Note Records. Sulieman was closely associated with Mary Lou Williams and for a time and had stints with Cab Calloway, John Coltrane, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. Sulieman recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1957) and gigged with Randy Weston (1958–1959), in addition to appearing in many other situations.

He toured Europe in 1961 with Oscar Dennard, and stayed, settling in Stockholm at first, and then moved to Copenhagen in 1964. A soloist with the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band from the mid-'60s through 1973, Sulieman frequently worked with radio orchestras. His recordings as a leader were for Swedish Columbia (1964) and SteepleChase (1976 and 1985). In 1985, he was among the performers on Miles Davis' album Aura , which was not released until 1989. Sulieman's career slowed down considerably in the 1990s.


He died of bladder cancer on July 23, 2002 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.


As leader

As sideman

With Gene Ammons

With Art Blakey

With Clifford Brown

With Teddy Charles

With the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band

With Don Byas / Bud Powell

With Miles Davis

With Eric Dolphy

With Tommy Flanagan

With Dexter Gordon

With Coleman Hawkins

With Joe Henderson

With Bobby Jaspar

With Thad Jones

With Carmen McRae

With Thelonious Monk

With Horace Parlan

With Max Roach

With Sahib Shihab

With Mal Waldron

With Randy Weston

With Ernie Wilkins

With Lester Young

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  1. "Idrees Sulieman". Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  2. "Obscure Trumpet Masters #9 – Idrees Sulieman". Retrieved April 4, 2016.