Ahmad Alaadeen, beloved Kansas City jazz saxophonist, teacher and performer, died at age 76 on Sunday, August 15. The musician was diagnosed with stage four bladder cancer earlier this summer.
Alaadeen, a native Kansas Citian, took saxophone lessons from Leo H. Davis, the well-respected musician who also taught Charlie Parker. Alaadeen began performing professionally at age 14, and would go on to play with greats like Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Jay McShann, Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations and Sam Cooke.
Alaadeen received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Jazz Museum earlier this year at the Gem Theater. The Kansas City community celebrated the event with Phil Callier and Jhamm at 69th and Prospect at the Salaam Cafe this May. ("I'm at a loss for words," said Alaadeen said to the audience gathered in front of him. "I will never forget this.")
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, August 17 at 10 AM at Watkins Brothers Memorial Chapel located at 4000 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., in Kansas City, Missouri.
Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. To quote Alaadeen: "Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world."