Thursday, July 10, 2008

R.I.P. Salah Ragab

Allah yarhamu. I just got word (via the Sun Ra list), of the death of Salah Ragab. Here's what Ragab's collaborator Hartmut Geerken wrote:

Salah Ragab, drummer and founder - together with Hartmut Geerken and Edu Vizvari - of the first Egyptian jazz-bigband, died beginning of July in Cairo, aged 72.

Since his introduction to Jazz by Malik Osman Karim Yaqoub alias Mac X Spears in the early 1960, Salah Ragab performed with many important American and European jazz musicians. His collaboration with Sun Ra in the 1980 marked a significant time in his artistic life. As composer and bigband leader he introduced Arabic harmonies and rhythms to jazz.

Discography:
(The Sun Ra Arkestra meets Salah Ragab in Egypt, Leo Records GY.
Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band present Egyptian Jazz, Art Yard LP 006. (For a good review, go here. Hopefully this album will soon be out on CD as well.)


Sun Rise in Egypt. Sun Ra & Salah Ragab, the Historic Nights & Concerts of the Arkestra in Cairo Egypt 1984, Vol. I - III, Sphinx Records ECD 25735)

I only own The Sun Ra Arkestra meets Salah Ragab in Egypt, which is a great album, and the tracks featuring Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band really swing. Salah Ragab was one of the few non-USers to perform with the Sun Ra Arkestra. If memory serves, I believe that the only other was Talvin Singh.

Check out this video (composed of stills) of Salah Ragab and Sun Ra, set to the tune, "Egypt Strut":


And this one, with black-and-white footage of Sun Ra and his Arkestra, fully costumed, frolicking at the site of the Great Pyramids, Giza, Egypt:



Addendum, July 11: Here's a good bio of Salah Ragab by Joslyn Layne, on allmusic.com.

1 comment:

Mike Khoury said...

Ted,

Thanks for writing such thoughtful words. Salah will surely be missed. He did have a couple of other titles available.