A1. Ma’Nee (S. Shihab)
A2. The Call (S. Shihab)
A3. Rue De La Harpe (S. Shihab)
B1. Sentiments (S. Shihab)
B2. From Me To You (S. Shihab)
B3. Extase (S. Shihab)
B4. Companionship (S. Shihab - Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen)

Black vinyl / 505mcn with gloss lamination paper / PVC outers / original artwork.


Of all the American jazz artists who relocated to Europe and Scandinavia in the 1950s and 1960s, Sahib Shihab remains one of the most highly regarded and versatile, yet least celebrated. Although mostly known as a key member of the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, Europe’s leading big band of the 1960s, Shihab had a career that lasted 40 years characterised by an adaptability and individuality that marked him out as a player of exceptional skill on the baritone, alto and soprano saxophones as well as flute.  
Born Edmond Gregory in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, he started out on alto and some of his earliest professional dates include sessions with Roy Eldridge and Fletcher Henderson in the mid-forties. He was originally billed under the name Eddie Gregory before converting to Islam in 1947 – amongst the first American jazzmen to do so -   assuming the name Sahib Shihab, meaning ‘Possessor of a Meteor’.
As an alto player he was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker and worked with beboppers like Thelonious Monk, laying down the original version of ‘Round About Midnight’.  By the early 50s Shihab was working with Dizzy Gillespie and made the switch to baritone, the horn with which he would become most immediately associated. Other artists he performed and recorded with in the 50s included Miles Davis, Donald Byrd, Curtis Fuller, Art Blakey and Benny Golson and he features on John Coltrane’s first date as leader, Coltrane, recorded in May 1957 for Prestige.
As racial tensions became increasingly strained in the United States throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, many African-American jazz artists looked to escape the seemingly endless discrimination and harassment dealt by the police, club owners and society in general.  To that end Shihab joined Quincy Jones’ band and toured Europe in 1959, staying on after the tour finished and eventually settling there.  The newly found freedom, both cultural and political, was invigorating for Shihab.
In a 1963 interview for Downbeat magazine, he said: “I wanted to get away from some of the prejudice. I don’t have time for this racial bit. It depletes my energies.”
Finding a creative home in the freer atmosphere of Europe and Scandinavia, Sahib made Denmark his home and he soon became an active member of the local musical community writing for television, movies and theatre and he secured a position at Copenhagen Polytechnic. In 1961 his career underwent a significant development and he joined the Clarke Boland Big Band, the roaring jazz international supergroup co-led by fellow expatriate and bebop legend Kenny Clarke and Belgian composer/pianist Francy Boland.
Members of the Clarke Boland Big Band were drawn from the USA and several European nations including the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and former Yugoslavia. They included  Fats Sadi, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Ronnie Scott, Kenny Clare, Carl Drewo, Albert Mangelsdorff, Tony Coe, Derek Humble, Nat Peck, Ake Persson, Dusko Goykovich, Stan Sulzmann, Ack van Rooyen, Johnny Griffin, Muvaffak “Maffy” Falay, Idrees Sulieman, John Surman, Jimmy Deuchar, Manfred Schoof, Erik van Lier, Ron Mathewson, Benny Bailey, Jimmy Woode Jr, Art Farmer, Shake Keane, Herb Geller, and were joined on occasions by Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz and others.
In 1969 Shihab married a local Danish lady, Maiken Gulmann, and although Denmark was his home base during these key years, he also spent considerable time working in Sweden, Germany and other parts of Europe, touring and recording in cities across the continent.
Shihab lent his distinctive time and voice to the Clarke Boland Big Band for 12 years and whether he be on rasping flute or growling baritone, his presence provided a solid centre for the ensemble as well as the various smaller orbiting units that spun off from its central critical mass.
The various albums Shihab recorded as leader have become highly collectible, featuring as they do some of the highest calibre European and Scandinavian jazz artists as well as key American in Europe.  Albums such as Sahib’s Jazz Party/Conversations, Summer Dawn, Seeds and Companionship showcase Shahib’s dexterity and range as a player and composer within a variety of ensemble settings and capture a moment in time when American and European jazz worked in creative unison.
Sentiments was recorded in Denmark in March 1971 and was originally released on the Danish Storyville label. The album features Shihab alongside Danish super-bass man Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and two fellow Americans, drummer Jimmy Hopps and pianist Kenny Drew (like Shihab, Drew also settled in Denmark and recorded extensively for Danish label Steeplechase). Sentiments was Shihab’s last album as leader, although he did go on to record projects as co-leader with the likes of fellow American Phil Woods and French pianist/composer Jef Gilson.
Despite the recording opportunities and critical reception he received in Denmark, by the early 1970s Shihab felt that his musical fortunes were waning. So in 1973 he returned to America for three-years, working for the Ramada Inn hotel chain. He was soon joined by his family and, with things seemingly going well, he bought a house. However, quite suddenly, their fortunes changed and the Ramada Inn chain went bust, forcing Shihab and his family back to Denmark. Fortunately, they still had a house there and for the next decade he travelled and worked between Europe and the United States until, in 1989, he fell seriously ill. After a short period of illness, he died of liver cancer on October 24th, 1989 in Tennessee.
In recent years there has at last been recognition of Shahib’s legacy. It seems as though people are finally realising not just what a gifted artist he was, but what a gift he was to all of us.


Sahib Shihab (ss),(bs), alto flute; Kenny Drew (p);
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (b); Jimmy Hopps (dm)

Extra Credits:
Photos: Jan Persson
Layout: Chris Olesen 

Thanks go to:
Mona Granager from Storyville Records, Gerardo Frisina for archive advice.