Percussionist James Mtume, renowned as a pioneer on the jazz and R&B scenes, has died at age 76.
Known as a trailblazer, Mtume was comfortable in genres including alternative jazz, R&B, hip hop and film scoring and used his artistry as a bridge between politics, culture and art.
His death Sunday came as a shock to the music world. No cause of death was given.
“A lot of folks didn’t know that Mtume was so political and savvy in so many different areas,” Fatiyn Muhammad, host and executive producer of the WBLS radio show “Open Line,” told the Daily News Sunday. “I felt like the air got sucked out the room. Mtume was a special individual.”
James Mtume of the R and B/Soul group Mtume performs onstage at the Hammersmith Odeon on January 27, 1985, in London, England. (David Corio/Getty Images)
He was remembered for 1983′s “Juicy Fruit,” sampled by The Notorious B.I.G. for his first official single, “Juicy” in 1994. In 2018 he returned to Philadelphia, his hometown, to help celebrate the song’s 35th anniversary.[More Snyde] ‘Full House’ co-stars react with shock to sudden death of Bob Saget »
Born James Forman in 1946, Mtume was surrounded by music and musicians throughout his early life.https://www.youtube.com/embed/MucY5wRYByU?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fwww.nydailynews.com
“I would say I had a very special childhood growing up,” Mtume told The Philadelphia Tribune in 2018. His father was James Heath, a world-renowned saxophonist of the Heath Brothers.
But he was raised, he said, by James Forman, who was also a jazz musician. “He played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and all those people. So, when I’m growing up, maybe at dinner one night, there’s Dizzy Gillespie, another night, there’s John Coltrane [or] Thelonious Monk.”
Reference Daily News