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Jamaaladeen Tacuma: Life & Style

Checking in with the inimitable bassist (and fashion guru)

Jamaaladeen Tacuma
Jamaaladeen Tacuma (photo: Phoebe Ferguson)

During a few formative years in the mid-1970s, Philadelphia high-schooler Rudy McDaniel faced a pair of decisions that would prove to be life altering. The first concerned whether to spend his after-school hours pursuing basketball or music. Once the latter won out, he determined to focus on either the acoustic or electric bass exclusively. Guided by his love of funk and rock music and the pioneering work of Jaco Pastorius and Alphonso Johnson, he opted to plug in.

But the young bassist made himself a promise: “I remember clearly saying to myself, ‘When I become 60 years old, I’m gonna play the upright bass.’ I felt as though I would be a bit more relaxed and in tune to myself at that age.”

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