that forged my life.
IT START WITH
An Endless Passion for Music
For Discovery, for life and for people
C Composer, Saxophonist, Flautist, Producer, Educator, Health Practitioner
Siraj’s long journey has again taken him to several new projects that showcase his unique style and approach to music.
Born in New York City and raised in one of the most musical environments that produced artists like (Guess?) (Funkin’ for Jamaica, Queens), Siraj is the progeny of a multi-racial family that has him genetically encompassing all races and a love for music as the true universal language. Exposed to music at an early age, when the New York City School system offered its students a plethora of music programs. Siraj’s development was one where Jazz, Funk, Soul and Latin were some of the many styles marinated in the cultural framework of New York.
Playing in early bands, his first professional gig was with a Basement Band. While in high school he helped form a group called “AIR” (Advanced Instrumental Revolution). which also forged the career of a famous smooth jazz alumnus. Having attended Bronx Community College (BCC), Siraj continued his studies while becoming the private student of such Jazz greats as Frank Foster, Frank Wess, and Ernie Wilkins. After encouragement from an adjunct faculty member at BCC, and sharing a close relationship with the Late Great Ernie Wilkins, Siraj was accepted into the music program at the New England Conservatory. It is there where he met and became a student of Joe Allard, Jaki Byard and George Russell. When asked Siraj was quoted as saying “Jaki and Louise Byard“ were my adopted musical parents. James Moody, another musical father figure, helped forge a universal style for improvisation that, to this day, has continued to inspire Siraj.
After graduation from The New England Conservatory, Siraj was invited to join Mongo Santamaria‘s Latin Jazz Orchestra which is regarded as a major exponent of authentic Afro-Cuban music. He recorded three albums with the “King of the Congas” (one which was Grammy Nominated) and contributed to two of his compositions. Siraj credits his association with Mongo, and Bongo and Timbale colleague Pablo Rosario, for solidifying his expertise on Latin and Brazilian instruments.
His career has spanned from Jazz to Classical, Soul to Neo-Soul, Latin to Brazilian, and from R&B to Hip Hop. His experience performing and recording around the world, has allowed him to develop a very unique musical perspective.
Placing his success aside, Siraj has always been a working musician. He has toured and recorded with some of the greats in jazz history like Mongo Santamaria, (King of the Congas) Tito Puente (El Rey), Jimmy Scott (Jazz vocalist extraordinaire), Wilson Picket (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee) and Doug E Fresh (Hip Hop Entertainer). He has also performed on the CD titled “Beleza” a Tribute to Brazilian Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim as a Saxophone/Flute soloist, accompanying songstress Gabriella Anders. In addition, he has worked closely with New York Studio/ Brazilian musicians on the following recordings: MELODIA PARA CONGAS” (Conga legend Carlos “Patato” Valdez) (Mapleshade Records) and “Doin What I Gotta Do “ ( hip-hop artist Doug E. Fresh).
SIRAJ RECORDS &
SMG Siraj Media Group
Like many of his contemporaries in the genre, Siraj realized early on (Debut Release 2001) that the business models of the former big record companies did not fit into the current economic structures, public awareness and artistic dedication of urban instrumental artists.
Inspired by family, friends and a loyal fan base, Siraj leveraged his esoteric success to actualize an entertainment syndicate that could produce his music as well as serve other aspiring artists.
As a busy composer, producer, educator, health practitioner and philanthropic ambassador for music, Siraj has worked steadily on his next CD release: “Native Tongue.” Circulated solely through his personalized network of online distribution and promotion. It is the result of years of hard work and dedication. Focusing on his eclectic range of genres – from Jazz, Smooth Jazz, R&B, Latin, Brazilian, Neo-Soul, Funk and R&B, – Native Tongue’s release is here. The CD is a work of art that bridges the hiatus spent crafting a new direction in instrumental music culture while honoring the legacy of his great teachers who gave him the courage to take music to new heights.
At times, the journey of an independent musician can be challenging. However, in a world where hard work is so often overlooked, Siraj continues to forge ahead in his quest to produce music for the soul, while touring and recording with some of the greats in music.
The release of Native Tongue 2020 should prove to be a year that further asserts Siraj as one of the most electrifying and groundbreaking pioneers on the contemporary urban instrumental jazz scene.