Photo: T.K. Blue | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.
The next show will air on Sunday, July 23, 2017 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast features leader, composer, arranger, alto and soprano saxophones, flute, mbira, sanza, and lukembi player T.K. Blue.
T.K. Blue, also known as Talib Kibwe, was born in New York City of a Trinidadian mother and Jamaican father. T.K. began playing music at the age of 8 years old on trumpet. After two years his interest shifted to academic and athletic endeavors… He returned to his musical studies in High School while playing the flute.
He took lessons from Billy Mitchell, the legendary tenor saxophonist with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, eventually pursuing music as a career after receiving a full academic scholarship to New York University, where he began playing soprano & alto saxophone. He earned a bachelor’s degree in both music and psychology. T.K. Blue went on to earn a master’s degree in music education from Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
After touring with Abdullah Ibrahim for three years, T.K. Blue moved to Paris, France to quench his cultural thirsts. Living in Paris afforded Blue numerous opportunities in traveling and performing in Africa.
T.K. Blue toured Europe with Sam Rivers and his eleven-piece saxophone choir called The Winds Of Manhattan. This group did a recording for Black Saint Records in Milan, Italy.
In Paris, T.K. connected with a group from Senegal called Xalam. He toured and recorded with Xalam for three years with the culmination in a feature film by Michel Blanc called Marche A’ L’Ombre.
In Paris T.K. Blue recorded his first project as a leader called Egyptian Oasis. This recording garnered many great reviews and eventually led Blue to tour Africa on three occasions for the USIA State Department, where he visited over 25 countries.
T.K. Blue met the great, iconic pianist during his stint with Abdullah Ibrahim. NEA Jazz Master Dr. Randy Weston was living in Annecy, France at this time. T.K. re-established his working relationship with Dr. Weston after moving to Paris. He went on to become Randy’s chief saxophonist/flutist, arranger, and musical director for over three decades. This union led to countless tours, recordings, concerts, clinics, radio, and television appearances.
T.K. Blue is the musical director and arranger for Dr. Randy Weston.
After moving back to NYC, T.K. debuted as Dr. Weston’s musical director during the recording of Spirit Of Our Ancestors on Verve Records. This project featured many jazz giants: Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Idrees Sulieman, Benny Powell, Billy Harper, Dewey Redman, Alex Blake, Jamil Nasser, Idres Muhammad, Big Black, and Azzedin Weston.
While residing in Paris, T.K. Blue was blessed to meet the incredible poet Jayne Cortez in London during an international book fair organized by the late writer and activist John La Rose. He went on to become a member of Cortez’s backup band called the Firespitters, which recorded and toured internationally.
Blue has taught at Long Island University, but left the music faculty in 2014 to concentrate on performance, adjudication, clinics/workshops, and lessons for his private students.
T.K. Blue signed a new recording contract with Dot Time Records and his new CD is titled Amour.
(Bio adapted from http://www.tkblue.com/biography)
This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
T.K. Blue will be at Harlem’s Farafina Café on July 24. He’ll also be in Brooklyn on July 28 at Medgar Evers College’s Jazzy Jazz series for a free outdoor performance. He leads a quartet for the Jazzmobile series in Harlem on August 1 and appears at Jazzmobile’s popular Grant’s Tomb concert on August 23.
Watch T.K. Blue in this 2017 live clip.
Watch T.K. Blue play the blues standard “Stormy Monday” with Nazzz Jazz in this 2014 live clip.
Watch the video preview for T.K. Blue’s Amour release.
Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.