T.K. Blue, also known as Talib Kibwe, was born in New York City of a Trinidadian mother and Jamaican father. T.K. began playing music at the age of 8 years old on trumpet. After two years his interest shifted to academic and athletic endeavors… He returned to his musical studies in High School while playing the flute.
He took lessons from Billy Mitchell, the legendary tenor saxophonist with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, eventually pursuing music as a career after receiving a full academic scholarship to New York University, where he began playing soprano & alto saxophone. He earned a bachelor’s degree in both music and psychology. T.K. Blue went on to earn a master’s degree in music education from Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
“Coming to Jazzmobile in NYC is what did it for me. I got involved with Jazzmobile, where we studied jazz theory, harmony, sight- reading, rhythmic training, improvisation and big-band performance. It was just like going to school. I studied with Jimmy Heath, Chris Woods, Ernie Wilkins, Frank Foster, Sonny Red and Jimmy Owens. Thad Jones and Billy Taylor would come by from time to time to give their knowledge and support.”
T.K. also studied at Jazz Interactions with Rashaan Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef and Joe Newman. He also studied at The Henry Street Settlement with Billy Mitchell and Paul West and at The Muse with world-renowned bassist Reggie Workman.
2001 to 2006
As an instructor at the Litchfield Jazz Summer Camp for teens T.K. performed at the Litchfield Jazz Festival with the Don Braden Big Band, which included such notable artists as James Moody, Slide Hampton, and Paquito D’Rivera.
T.K. Blue Quartet was featured in performance on BET Jazz channel.
T.K. performed at Alice Tully Hall for the Jazz at Lincoln Center series with Randy Weston and Regina Carter. He arranged music for a ten piece orchestra.
T.K. performs with the vocalist Jimmy Scott and is an adjunct professor of music at Suffolk Community College in long Island New York.
T.K. has just released his new CD Rhythm In Blue on his label JAJA Records.
T.K. did perform for the 2004 Panroyale Jazz Festival in the homeland of his mother’s heritage -Trinidad and Tobago.
2005 T.K. Blue performed with Grammy award winning vocalist Bobby McFerrin and Randy Weston at the last North Sea Jazz Festival held in Den Haag, Holland….
The T.K. Blue group was featured this fall at the Linganore Wine Jazz Festival in Maryland and The Cape May Jazz Festival in New Jersey.
He was a featured soloist, conducter, and arranger for Randy Weston and the BBC Radio Big Band in London, England.
TK Blue was also the arranger, conducter, and soloist for a concert performance at City College in New York entitled Harlem Stride–A tribute to James Reece Europe–featuring new compositions by Randy Weston.
Mr. Blue was comissioned by the NYSCA and Transart Inc to compose a new suite entitled “Follow The North Star” dedicated to Solomon Northup and his book “12 Years A Slave”. It was premiered on April 20, 2007 in Rosedale,NY. It was also performed as part of the Jazz In The Valley Festival on Aug 19. He is currently preparing to record a new cd this fall.
2008 and Beyond
TK Blue is currently an adjunct professor of jazz history at Montcalir State University.
In fact T.K.Blue is now the official fulltime professor and director of jazz studies at Long Island University-CW Post Campus.
His new cd “Follow the North Star” was released last April to critical acclaim and has placed in the top ten on the college jazz charts…” T.K.Blue’s Follow The North Star is a marvelous achievement; as an outstanding work of musical art, as a tribute to the indomitable human spirit and as a humbling history lesson for many of us. At the same time, it is accessible to fans of all styles of jazz” –Curtis Davenport, Jazz Improv Magazine NYC July 2008