A fine profile of Sadik Hakim, one of the unsung heroes of the musical revolution we call “bebop”—and subject of one of our earliest posts—appears in the first issue of Zenith City, an online newsletter devoted to all things Duluth. David Ouse, author of Forgotten Duluthians and a research librarian for “the air-conditioned city’s” public library system, deserves the gratitude of jazz lovers for helping solidify Hakim's place in the history of the music in the popular mind. For as of 2012, that place largely depends on the ability of information-hungry jazz fans to notice, recall, and connect the scattered references to him in the biographies and memoirs of others.
Mr. Ouse enriches his few paragraphs with just enough genealogical and sociological detail to help us envision Hakim's journey from a Black working-class musical household in Duluth just after World War I, to 52nd Street in New York in its glory days in the mid-'40s, his conversion to Islam, his participation in the recording of the bop classic "Ko-Ko," to the concert halls of Japan "before enthusiastic crowds" in 1979-1980. (It brought me great satisfaction to learn the last-cited fact.)
Sadik Hakim (1919-1983)
If there is to be a sequel to Mr. Ouse’s book, I hope Sadik Hakim finds a place in it. In that spirit of recovery, we are pleased to refer again to Tom Surowicz’s 1990 “Forgotten Man,” a substantial appreciation of Hakim for the Twin Cities Reader, available via this blog. (Last year Dave Lull provided me with that article, scanned with the resources of the very library Mr. Ouse serves, and tipped me off to the latter’s recent item only today. Thanks again, Dave!)