Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Garden of Alaadeen 

Cooling down with jazz master Ahmad Alaadeen

Ahmad Alaadeen has spent the better part of his life playing music, starting his professional career at age 14. Alaadeen has played with Ella and Miles. He has toured the world with his tenor and soprano saxophones, and he has performed every shade of blues between Billie and Smokey.

Alaadeen is dynamic and electric, yet he exudes the kind of cool vibe one expects from a seasoned jazz musician. Even 235 miles away, with signal loss and cordless-phone static, he sounds as assured as his music, a man well practiced in staying loose.

"I'm not big on getting things down to the nth degree," Alaadeen says. "I like the creativity and the chance for mistakes. For instance, I never rehearse the same tune until it gets tiring. I get 'em right on the edge, where (the players) almost know it.

"Then," he laughs, "I say, 'Let's go to something else.' That way, when they get on the bandstand, they are really listening for what they didn't get."

It's a real-time exercise in improvisation. Part of the beauty of jazz is that no two ensembles, gigs, players -- or even the same player, constructing the same tune on different nights -- are the same. That's also what makes a live performance such a treat.

"I'm constantly changing (the music)," Alaadeen says. "I'll tell 'em, 'Hey, man, this time let's leave out this part. Leave out this, this and this.' That way, although it's the same tune, it's always fresh."

Fresh. Like the rare summer breeze on a humid July night in the bountiful greenery of the Garden.

Ahmad Alaadeen concludes this summer's Whitaker Jazz Festival with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, in the Cohen Amphitheater, Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd. Admission is free. Call 314-577- 9400 or 800-642-8842 for more information.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in Night & Day

More by Darren A. Owens

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation