This trumpeter composed a jazz standard that seems more like a desirable address, "Bop Alley," married singer Dakota Staton, and in 1959 retired from the music business to run an African import shop in New York City. Talib Dawud was an import himself, from the British West Indies to the United States. His original name was Al Barrymore and he was taught the horn by his father, likewise a trumpeter. Dawud's dad played in marching bands; his mother was a singer who provided her own piano accompaniment. Dawud also learned both banjo and organ prior to coming to America.
His high-school and music-school years were spent in New York City — Juilliard in the latter case. The trumpeter began performing in the Big Apple perhaps as early as 1939, joining Tiny Bradshaw the following year and subsequently moving through a variety of high-profile ensembles, including the bands of Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Roy Eldridge. A pair of two-year periods with Dizzy Gillespie, one beginning in 1947 and the other a decade later, resulted in recorded documentation that dominates Dawud's discographical neighborhood like a large mansion. Perhaps this is only appropriate, since Gillespie was Dawud's favorite trumpeter. Dawud and Staton were wed in 1958.
by Eugene Chadbourne
Courtesy of All Music