Pheeroan akLaff

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Pheeroan akLaff
Pheeroan akLaff.JPG
Pheeroan akLaff with the Oliver Lake Trio, Saalfelden, Austria, 2009
Background information
Born (1955-01-27) January 27, 1955 (age 67)
Genres Jazz
InstrumentsDrums, percussion

Pheeroan akLaff (born Paul Maddox January 27, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. [1] [2] [3] He began playing in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan and Ann Arbor, with R & B keyboardist Travis Biggs, funk keyboardist Nimrod “The Grinder” Lumpkin, The Ebony Set and The Last Days. He moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and formed a group with saxophonist/flautist/percussionist Dwight Andrews. He debuted with saxophonist Bill Barron in 1975, followed by a tenure in Leo Smith's ‘New Dalta Ahkri’ (1977-1979). [4]


akLaff developed a longstanding association with saxophonist and poet Oliver Lake starting in 1975, which included writing for their fusion ensemble, ‘Jump Up’. [4] He recorded with Lake on and off from 1980-1992. His extensive work as a session musician includes collaborations with prominent jazz musicians Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, Julius Hemphill, Henry Threadgill, Mal Waldron, Sonny Sharrock, Anthony Davis and Reggie Workman. [5] In 2006 he co-founded Seed Artists in Brooklyn. In 2009, he reestablished his creative partnership with Wadada Leo Smith after thirty years, and has recorded with him since, including Ten Freedom Summers, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013. akLaff currently teaches music at Wesleyan University.


As leader

  • 1983: Fits Like a Glove (Gramavision)
  • 1989: Sonogram (Mu Works)
  • 1998: Global Mantras (Modern Masters)

As sideman

With Geri Allen

With Anthony Braxton

With Oliver Lake

With Henry Threadgill

With Jay Hoggard

  • The Right Place (JHVM, 2003)
  • Something 'Bout Believing (Twinz Records, 1999)
  • Love Is the Answer (Muse, 1994)
  • Riverside Dance (India Navigation), 1985
  • Love Survives (Gramavision, 1983

With Craig Harris

With Ray Anderson

  • What Because (Gramavision, 1989)

With Don Byron

With Anthony Davis

  • Hidden Voices (India Navigation, 1979) – with James Newton
  • Variations in Dream-time (India Navigation, 1980)
  • Episteme (Gramavision, 1981)
  • Hemispheres (Gramavision, 1983)

With Julius Hemphill

With Uwe Kropinski

  • First Time in Manhattan (ITM, 1993)

With Roscoe Mitchell

With Amina Claudine Myers

With Sonny Sharrock

With Wadada Leo Smith

With Mal Waldron

With Reggie Workman

With Yōsuke Yamashita

  • Kurdish Dance (Verve, 1993)
  • Dazzling Days (Verve, 1993)
  • Fragments 1999 (Verve, 1999)
  • Spider (Verve, 1996)

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  1. Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "akLaff, Pheeroan". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. pp. 22–23. ISBN   1561592846.
  2. Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 5. ISBN   0-141-00646-3.
  3. "About Pheeroan". Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  4. 1 2 Yanow, Scott. "Pheeroan akLaff: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  5. "Iridium Jazz Club Presents Historic Jazz Concert Thursday & Friday October 26 & 27 The Cecil Taylor Trio Featuring Henry Grimes And Phreeroan akLaff". All about jazz. 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2010-04-14.