By Gerald V. Paul
As Muhtadi was sitting down for an interview with The Camera, he said he got a call earlier in the morning with sad news: Toronto jazz legend Archie Alleyne had passed on. He was 82.
Muhtadi International Drumming Festival at Woodbine Park slated for June 13 and 14, from 10 a.m. to10 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., respectively, had named the second stage after Alleyne.
A 2011 Order of Canada awardee, Alleyne had a relationship with Muhtadi during the Evolution of Jazz Ensemble, Archie’s baby for some 10 years.
“Those were fond memories. He was a good friend. We also connected when he was co-owner of Underground Railroad Soul Food Restaurant in the sixties to eighties,” Muhtadi said.
Muhtadi recalled that Alleyne was not only a drummer and pianist who played for some of the top names in jazz but also an activist who championed the rights of Black musicians.
Muhtadi is inviting the community to the free 16th-annual Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, celebrating the drum.
The festival includes 30-plus local and nationally touring master drummers and drum groups; two areas serving alcohol; 20-plus international food trucks and vendors; arts, crafts and drum booths and, new for 2015, Drum Village of stage two, featuring drum clinics and the latest gear.
Featured performer is Mike Iradi from Protest The Hero.
Muhtadi thanked Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Trillium Foundation. More information is available at www.muhtadidrumfest.com.
He said viewing for Alleyne is today (June 11) at Cardinal Funeral Home, 366 Bathurst St. In view of flowers, Alleyne’s family has requested donations to the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. The Fund was established in 2003 to support local jazz students, primarily from Black communities.