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Friday, February 6, 2015

The Maharaja Of The Saxophone - Lynn Hope

Sands Of The Sahara
A Ghost Of A Chance
The Maharaja Of The Saxophone
Lynn Hope
King 717

This King set appears to have been released (according to the Wiki copy below) right about the time Hope quit the music business. So, depending on the circumstances, King may have had to scramble to find an image that they could use on the cover. The hand-tinted photo image/cover is graphically dated for a 1961 release, but nonetheless, pretty darn cool looking.

The set itself, as the Billboard review suggests, is "expressive" in that Hope manages to put his special "slow burn" or "jazz twist" on every song. He must have put on a good show.

The set receives 3 Stars from Billboard - January 30, 1961: Lynn Hope's sultry sax is featured here on a group of expressive instrumentals of originals and standards.

From Hope's Wiki page: Lynn Hope (September 26, 1926 - February 24, 1993) was an American Jazz and Blues tenor saxophonist noted for his outlandish dress style in the 1950s (he would often wear a fez or turban.) His most prolific period for recording was from 1951 to 1957 for Aladdin Records. Hope, who later converted to Islam and changed his name to El Hajj Abdullah Rasheed Ahmad, appears to have been inactive musically from 1960 until his death.

Tenor saxophonist Lynn Hope was noted for his apparel and instrumental remakes of established pre-rock pop anthems. Hope joined King Kolax's band when he graduated from high school in Birmingham during the '40s. He later converted to Islam, and became noted for wearing a turban, though few ever called him Al Hajji Abdullah Rascheed Ahmed. Hope signed with Miracle in 1950, but the contract proved invalid. He moved to Premium, where he cut "Tenderly," a song that was later picked up by Chess. Hope recorded often for Aladdin between 1951 and 1957, doing such reworked standards as "September Song" and "Summertime." While these numbers were often performed with little or no melodic embellishment or improvisation, the flip sides were often fierce up tempo blues or jump tunes. "Tenderly" earned Hope his only hit in 1950, reaching number eight R&B and #19 pop. He made his last sessions for King in 1960, then dropped out of sight. [Artist Biography by Ron Wynn]

Rose Room
Body And Soul
Sands Of The Sahara
Blue And Sentimental
OO Wee
A Ghost Of A Chance
Full Moon
Little Landslide


  1. Very interesting post. The guy could play. Why did he leave the musical scene? Religion? How did he earn his living?
    ....and the two sample-tunes of this Lp made me want mooooore.....
    Thanks for posting


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