Jazz drummer Idris Muhammad died on Tuesday. Muhammad, born Leo Morris, is probably my favorite drummer of all time. He has played on so many incredible recordings by some of my favorite jazz artists like Lou Donaldson, Grant Green, Lonnie Smith, Bob James and many many more. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, soul, funk, or hip hop, you’ve definitely heard his funky, groove-oriented beats. The genre he helped create, “Soul Jazz”, in the mid to late 60’s is my absolute favorite little pocket or sub-genre of music by far.
Although I’m reluctant to mention it on a jazz blog, I play drums on occasion in a soul-jazz band here in Pittsburgh, called Cadillac Club (actually named after Lou Donaldson’s live LP, The Scorpion: Live At The Cadillac Club, which features Muhammad on drums). Words cannot express how deeply I’ve been influenced and entertained by his playing.
Here are just a few of my favorite tracks featuring Muhammad throughout the years.