ABOUT T.K. BLUE
Of West Indian parentage, T.K. Blue began his life in music from his Lakeview, Long Island, hometown by playing trumpet from ages 8 to 10, and then switching to drums for a year. After a hiatus, at the age of 17 he dedicated himself to music by learning flute. While attending New York University between 1971 and 1975 with a double major in Music and Psychology, Blue threw himself headlong into music, concentrating on the saxophone. He took lessons (as part of the Jazzmobile program) with Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster and Ernie Wilkins, as well as from tenor legend Billy Mitchell. During these undergraduate years, T.K. lived in the East Village, partaking the full range of the scene, from lessons with elders to deep involvement in the avant-garde. In 1979 Blue received his Masters in Music Education from Columbia University.
After performing and traveling extensively with Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) from 1977 to 1980, T.K. moved to Paris in December, 1981, remaining until 1989. In 1986 he recorded Egyptian Oasis, his first record as a leader, and that sparked a number of State Department tours to some 20 countries in Africa.
Back in the U.S. since 1990, T.K. has worked constantly, in a wide range of styles and situations, and recorded his second CD “Introducing Talib Kibwe”, released on Evidence in 1996. Augmenting his long-term relationships as Musical Director with Randy Weston and the Spirit of Life Orchestra, recent affiliations include: Odadaa, a group led by a renowned drummer from Ghana, Yacub Addy; percussionist Norman Hedman’s pan-African band Tropique; tap dancer Joseph’s Tap and Rap, to jazz tunes by Charlie Parker and John Coltrane; and emerging singer Jeffrey Smith. His recent long-term signing to Arkadia Jazz and the release of his first CD with Arkadia (“T.K. Blue: Another Blue”) heralds the start of a new turning point in T.K.’s blossoming career.
T.K. Blue recorded a second highly acclaimed album on Arkadia Records entitled “T.K. Blue: Eyes of the Elders” featuring Stefon Harris-vibraphone, Randy Brecker-trumpet, Jeff “Tain” Watts-drums, Eric Reed-piano, Joanne Brackeen-piano, Steve Kroon-percussion, Lonnie Plaxico-bass and James Weidman-piano.
In 2004 T.K. Blue had the extreme pleasure and privilege of joining The Jazz Expressions, which was the backup band for NEA JAZZ MASTER and vocal legend Little Jimmy Scott. Blue worked with Jimmy for close to 10 years until his passing. They made several tours and recordings.T.K. Blue is the arranger, conductor, and featured soloist for three significant projects concerning Dr. Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Orchestra: