Kahil El'Zabar

Kahil El'Zabar (born Clifton Blackburn on November 11, 1953, Chicago, Illinois) is a jazz multi-instrumentalist (mainly a percussionist) and composer. He regularly records for Delmark Records.[1] He attended Lake Forest College and joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 1970s, and became its chairman in 1975.[2] During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which remain active. Musicians with whom Kahil EL'Zabar has collaborated include Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Simon, Pharoah Sanders, and Billy Bang. In 2017 the film "Be Known - The Mystery of Kahil El Zabar" by filmmaker Dwayne Johnson-Cochran was released. The documentary follows El' Zabar and band on their 2007 Black History Month tour. The film is currently available on Amazon Prime.

Kahil El'Zabar
Background information
Born (1953-11-11) November 11, 1953
Chicago, Illinois
Afro-Cuban jazz
Free jazz
InstrumentsPercussion, Drum kit


As leader/co-leader

With Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

With Ritual Trio

With Tri-Factor

As sideman

With David Murray

With Wadada Leo Smith


  1. Kahil El'Zabar at AllMusic
  2. "Biography". Official Site of Kahil EL'Zabar. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
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