Khalil Shaheed and Mansa Musa at HCA “Mali Meets Jazz”


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Saturday, April 30 | 7 & 9 pm
Healdsburg Center for the Arts
130 Plaza St., Healdsburg

Tickets $25 each show
Available online or at HCA

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is proud present Khalil Shaheed and Mansa Musa in a benefit concert co-presented by the Healdsburg Center for the Arts. This is the third of three “Jazz in the Gallery" concerts this spring. Seating is limited so advance ticket purchases online or at the HCA gallery are strongly recommended.

Khalil Shaheed is a powerful force in Bay Area jazz, not just as a musician and bandleader but as an educator and inspiration. In addition to touring with Buddy Miles for 7 years, He has also performed with Jimi Hendrix and Taj Mahal, John Handy and Billy Higgins, and has been featured as a jazz soloist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony Orchestra. He helped form the Oaktown Jazz Workshop and has thus been a significant force in HJF's education programs.

Mansa-band1000Now in his sixth decade (the prime of life!), Shaheed maintains an active schedule playing with several different bands: Big Belly Blues, Mo' Rockin Project, the jazz improvisation group Open Mind Ensemble, and the Redwood Brass, a classical quartet. Now to this list he's added a new project, Khalil Shaheed and Mansa Musa, a multi-member combo that integrates the music of the West African nation of Mali with jazz's heritage.

Although Mali is one of the poorest nations on earth, it is one of the most musically influential. So-called “world music" artists such as Ali Farka Touré, Salif Keita and Habib Koité hail from Mali, and there have been several musical compilations that link the sounds of Mississippi Blues with its antecedents in Mali. With this band, the linkage is extended to include jazz, which like the blues shares musical roots and antecedents with West Africa.

Mansa Musa, the band, usually consists of Khalil Shaheed (trumpet), Danny Armstrong (trombone), Eddie Marshall (drums), David Ewell (bass), and Richard Howell (saxophone), plus Mali music masters including Yacine Kouyate (guitar/piano), Karamba (djembe/percussion) and Karamo (kora). (Some substitutions in personnel may be necessary due to touring schedules.)

The musical project is named for Mansa Musa, historically one of the most influential African kings of antiquity. As ruler of the wealthy Mandinka Empire, Musa embarked on a hajj (religious pilgrimage) to Mecca in 1324 in a procession of some 60,000 men and slaves, including 60 camels carrying between 50 and 300 pounds of gold each. He generously distributed his wealth on the journey, but the impact of so much gold on local economies led to a regional economic collapse.

Upon his return from Arabia, Mansa Musa brought with him architects, merchants, craftsmen and scholars who reshaped Mali and especially Timbuktu into a center of Islamic scholarship for centuries to follow. He remains one of the most famous kings of West African history whose fame is often invoked to demonstrate the region's once and future glory.

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