Kahil El’Zabar was born on November 11, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois and attended Lake Forest College before joining the AACM, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in the early 1970s. He would go on to become its chairman in 1975.
During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which have remained active. Kahil has collaborated include Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Cannonball Adderley, and Paul Simon.
The multi-instrumentalist, Kahil El’Zabar, who is mainly a percussionist and composer, regularly records for Delmark Records. As a leader and co-leader he has released eight albums, fourteen with the Ensemble, 14 with the Trio, two with the group Tri-Factor and has recorded four as a sideman with David Murray and Wadada Leo Smith. He continues to perform, compose and record.
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