Updated: Rest in Peace, Khalil Shaheed

Khalil Shaheed

We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of local trumpeter Khalil Shaheed, who died Friday after a long battle with lung cancer. Raised in Chicago, Shaheed – who was born Tommy Hall – came to California in the Seventies, started gigging in the funk, Latin, and jazz scenes, and quickly consolidated his career as both a leader and sideman. Shaheed rechristened himself after converting to Islam in the Eighties; he also adopted a more ascetic lifestyle and began devoting himself wholeheartedly to community service. In 1994 he founded the music education program Oaktown Jazz Workshops, through which he taught kids how to improvise and perform in a live setting. The program endured for decades as Shaheed continued performing and hosting jam sessions at such now-defunct local clubs as Bluesville and First Stop (so named because it was the first stop in after the Amtrak station, he once told me). He also formed the Mo’Rockin’ Project, a world music group that fused Moroccan styles with American jazz.

  • Khalil Shaheed