The Wire


Have you seen Malik Yaqub?

Mike Cooper is attempting to track down saxophonist Malik Yaqub, and is asking anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact him. According to information sourced by Cooper, Yaqub was at one point considered one of the best saxophonists in the world, that at 19 he was chosen as the successor to Charlie Parker, and shared the stage with Bud Powell, Duke Jordan, Elmo Hope and Miles Davis.

Cooper says: "The album Malik Yaqub Yaqub Speaks Vol.1 was recorded in San Francisco and is great. I had never heard of him previous to this but was intrigued enough to investigate. I found several references to him including video of him in Spain and photos of him playing in the streets of Madrid outside FNAC. He was also in Egypt at some point and played with Salah Ragab and maybe Sun Ra. I recently found an album by Yaqub on a free download site with the following note attached. He might still be alive and maybe needs some assistance if he is.

"'…Malik Yaqub was last seen busking on the streets of Madrid playing his sax for spare change [though he reportedly got deported for vagrancy]…In the 70s he spent eight years in prison for drug smuggling and eventually cut a long player. Sometime subsequent he accepted an offer to creep to Spain and became a teacher, but unfortunately developed a degenerative disease that compromised the movement of his fingers. Malik apparently calls his playing style 'Beebop Clandestino'. Have you seen him?'"

Cooper invites anyone with information to contact him via email at cooparia[at]