Full Lives Series – Sharif Abdus-Salaam
Sharif Abdus-Salaam, one of New York City’s most respected & informed figures in the jazz world
November 6, 2020
Sharif Abdus-Salaam is one of New York City’s most respected and informed figures in the jazz world, and renowned jazz host with the Columbia University station, WKCR. Sharif is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx. Sharif with Phil Schaap developed WKCR’s well known Jazz Department and Sharif was the first Jazz Department Head at the station. In addition to WKCR, he was the musical director of a program called “The Communicator”, which aired on WRVR and WLIB in the early seventies and he hosted a radio talk show called “Al-Islam in America” for seventeen years.
The philosophy of his weekly Jazz Alternatives program is simple- “Let the music speak for itself”. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to interview Jazz Giants such as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Alice Coltrane, and Art Blakey to name just a few. He presents music that he hopes his audience will enjoy and he encourages them to keep their ears open and share the music with young people. He functions as a mentor to many of the student jazz DJs at WKCR and is doing his best to “Pass it on”.
In October 2008, he was named one the best jazz DJs in New York by the Village Voice in their Best of New York edition. Since January, 2018, Sharif has produced and hosted a weekly jazz music program on radio station, WKNY, a community radio station based in Kingston, NY. The program is called Transart Presents Jazz in the Valley.