A genre-bending trumpeter known for his ability to bridge distinct styles, Khalil Shaheed had a passion for music matched only by his desire to teach.
That passion kept him active despite the toll lung cancer was taking on his body. Three weeks ago, the Oakland resident was teaching at Oaktown Jazz Workshops, the youth music program he founded in 1994. He kept doing it as long as he could," said his widow, Kate Shaheed.
The renowned jazz musician died Friday at his home in Oakland. He was 63.
Remembered by friends as a quiet, observant man with a wicked sense of humor, Shaheed accomplished much after his diagnosis a few years ago.
He continued to teach music workshops between chemotherapy treatments and traveled to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the hajj pilgrimage.
Last year, he opened a performance space in Jack London Square to showcase Oaktown jazz students and named it Nadine's in honor of his mother.
And despite a slowdown in his professional career playing in a number of ensembles, including the Khalil Shaheed Quartet and Mo' Rockin Project, he went right back to work just weeks after a surgery to remove some tumors.
He wanted kids to have access to music and hearing jazz," Kate Shaheed said. They were the seams of his adult life."
His own interest in music started early. Born in 1949, Shaheed — then known as Thomas Howard Hall — spent much of his childhood in jazz clubs in Chicago's South Side, where his family had relocated from Pittsburgh, Pa