Born to West Indian parents and raised on New York's Long Island, Kibwe began playing trumpet at the age of eight. After a brief encounter with the drums and a few years away from music, he took up the flute at 17, then saxophone. From 1971-1975, he attended New York University, earning a double major in Music and Psychology. During those years, he studied (as part of the city's Jazzmobile program) with saxophonists Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Billy Mitchell, and Ernie Wilkins. From 1977-1980, Kibwe toured with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim; in 1981, he moved to Paris, where he stayed until 1989. While in Europe, Kibwe formed the T.K. Odyssey, with which he recorded his first album, Egyptian Oasis (1986). The group also made three tours of Africa under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. Kibwe returned to the U.S. in 1990; he spent time as musical director and featured soloist in pianist Randy Weston's band. In 1996, Evidence Records released Introducing Talib Kibwe. By 2001, Kibwe had signed with Arkadia Records. Under the moniker T.K. Blue, the saxophonist made the albums Another Blue and Eyes of the Elders; participants in the sessions included some of New York's prominent young mainstream jazz musicians — Stefon Harris and Eric Reed among them — as well as veterans like Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Henderson, and Randy Brecker. Kibwe holds a B.A. from NYU and a Masters in Music Education from Columbia University.
By Chris Kelsey