An insider and an outsider: Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Philadelphia-native Jamaaladeen Tacuma achieved his greatest popularity in the 1970s and 1980s when as part of the Punk-New Wave-Jazz scene he played regularly in New York in groups with tenor saxophonist David Murray and others, most especially as part of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman‘s band. But as the electric bassist tells Philadelphia Weekly’s A.D. Amorosi, he never left Philadelphia and is always featured in the city’s annual Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival. While some of the stories he tells about growing up in the racially divided city may be a little too Philly-centric, Tacuma, who now also plays acoustic bass, offers a quick rundown of how the city’s demographics have changed over the years. His early bands were ones of the first to adopt the same hippie attire and attitude as white rock bands. Today there’s more integration between African-American and White artists, to the extent that even his interest in regularly adding continental African sounds to improvised music is accepted.