Sunday, March 1, 2009


Sadik Hakim, a jazz pianist who influenced be-bop, and who recorded with Charlie Parker, died in New York on Monday. He was 64 years old. Mr. Hakim, who was born in Duluth, Minn., studied the piano with his grandfather, a professor of music. 

In 1944, he came to New York, where he worked with Ben Webster and wrote articles for several jazz magazines. He also worked with Lester Young and played on Charlie Parker's famous ''Ko-Ko Jazz Session,'' for Savoy Records in 1944. 

Mr. Hakim, who for religious reasons changed his name from Argonne Thornton in 1947, toured with the James Moody Orchestra in the 1950's and also worked with Buddy Tate. From 1966 to 1976 he lived and recorded in Canada. More recently, he led his own trio and recorded several records under his own name. 

He is survived by his daughter, Louise. A memorial service will be conducted Thursday at 7 P.M. in St. Peter's Church, at Lexington Avenue and 54th Street.


Sadik Hakim (born Argonne Thornton on July 15, 1919 in Duluth, Minnesota; died in New York in June 1983) was an American jazz pianist and composer.

Thornton was taught piano by his grandfather and started playing professionally about 1939. In 1944 he moved to New York City and was hired by Ben Webster. He participated in the emergence of bebop, sharing piano duties with Dizzy Gillespie on Charlie Parker's famous Koko session and recording with Dexter Gordon and Lester Young (he can be heard on Young's "I'm Confessin'"). Hakim is credited with co-writing Thelonious Monk's standard "Eronel" and is rumored to have written a few famous bop tunes credited to other composers. He adopted his muslim name in 1947.

Hakim moved to Montreal after visiting in 1949 and was a big fish on the small bebop scene there, working with Louis Metcalf's International Band. However he was compelled to leave Canada following a drug bust in November 1950. Through the 1950s he worked in New York with James Moody and George Holmes Tate. He returned to Montreal from 1966 to 1976, leading bands and recording with Charlie Biddle. He led a few recording dates from 1976-1980 and cut an album with Sonny Stitt in 1978.

Hakim played "'Round Midnight" at Thelonious Monk's funeral in 1982, and passed away himself the following year.


Argonne Thornton (who in the late '40s changed his name to Sadik Hakim) had a particularly unusual boppish style in the '40s, playing dissonant lines, using repetition to build suspense, and certainly standing out from the many Bud Powell impressionists. Later in his career his playing became more conventional. Hakim originally studied music with his grandfather and started performing at local gigs in Minnesota. After a period in Chicago, he was heard by Ben Webster, who hired him to play with his group in New York (1944-1945). Hakim recorded with Webster and Dexter Gordon, was on part of Charlie Parker's famous "Ko Ko" session, and gigged regularly with Lester Young during 1946-1948, appearing on many recordings with Pres. After playing with Slam Stewart in 1949, in the 1950s Hakim worked fairly regularly with James Moody (1951-1954) and Buddy Tate's Orchestra (1956-1960) but never became too well known himself. Later in life he lived for a period in Montreal (the second half of the 1960s), performed in Europe often, and toured Japan (1979-1980). Other than sharing an album for the Charlie Parker label with fellow pianist Duke Jordan in 1962, Hakim did not record as a leader until 1973; during the next seven years he would lead dates for CBC, Japanese Progressive, SteepleChase, and finally in 1980 for Storyville. 

Source: Scott Yanow, All Music Guide


Argonne Thornton, 15 July 1919, Duluth, Minnesota, USA, d. 20 June 1983, New York City, New York, USA. Hakim studied music with his grandfather before moving to Chicago and starting work as a professional musician. He played piano with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in 1944-45 before playing on the Savoy Jazz sessions with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker with whom he lived for a time. Between 1946 and 1948 he worked with Lester Young. In the 50s he worked with two more tenor saxophonists - James Moody (1951-54) and Buddy Tate (1956-60). He settled in Montreal in 1966 and towards the end of his life worked in Japan (1979-80). He wrote many compositions including "Eronel" which is sometimes credited to Thelonious Monk. He is a piano player forever associated with his work in the 40s. 

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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