Faruq Z. Bey 2003
Photograph: Robert Barclay

Faruq Z. Bey

Faruq Z. Bey was born February 4th, 1942. Died June 1, 2012


Composer, poet, tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones.

Faruq Z. Bey Trumbul Theater 1986
Photograph: Don Barber

Detroit born and founder of the legendary Detroit ensemble Griot Galaxy
which flourished in the 1980's. See Youtube Video here

He started his career as a professional musician in 1960. Since then he has performed with Abdullah Ibrahim,
Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Roy Brooks, and Archie Shepp.

Griot Galaxy 1984 Left to right; Tanni Tabball, Faruq Z. Bey,
David Mc Murray, & Jaribu Shahid
Photograph by; Leni Sinclair

                "Griot Galaxy's quilt features bright tight horn arrangements
              that make the front line sound almost like the World Saxophone Trio".
  Kevin Whitehead  '85
Jazz fans and music critics proclaimed Griot Galaxy as the premiere new music band in Detroit during the late 70's
and 80's. In the late 1980's Faruq was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which led to the demise of Griot Galaxy. Since this time (some collaborations date back to earlier times) Faruq has led and been involved in several
music ensembles and projects. Some of them include;

*Lincoln Street Jazz Ensemble  (1 cd)
*Kin Quartet  (current ensemble)
*Wind Conspiracy Ensemble (current ensemble)
*Street Band
*Speaking In Tongues (current ensemble)
*Robert Jones (blues guitarist)
*M. L. Liebler Poetry Band (current ensemble)
*Semaj  (poetry, 1 cd)
*Northwoods Improvisers  (current ensemble)
"Bey resides as a forceful presence throughout evidenced by his
soul searching choruses, wrapped around a robust tenor sax tone.
At times memories of later-day Coltrane come to mind".
cd "Ashirai Pattern"    Glen Astaria; All Music Guide '03


Faruq Z. Bey 1983
Photograph by; leni Sinclair


     Faruq has published two books of his poetry as well as a book of music theory.

All About Jazz article on Faruq Z. Bey



     W. Kim Heron has published an  excellent article on Faruq in the  Detroit Metro Times.

Detroit born and founder of the legendary Detroit ensemble Griot Galaxy which flourished in the 1980's.
See Youtube Video of Griot Galaxy here

The Panopticon Review; a tribute to Faruq Z. Bey, his life and work.


Faruq Z. Bey Metro Times Obituary Story in Metro Times:

Griot Galaxy Discography
Phil Ranelin - 'Vibes From The Tribe'
contains 1 track w/ Griot members
1976 Tribe Records
TRCD 4008
Griot Galaxy - 'Kins'
1981 Black and White
B&W 001

Griot Galaxy-Live at the D.I.A.

1983 Entropy Stereo
ESR 001
Montreux Detroit Collection Vol. 3
contains 2 tracks w/ Griot members
1983 Montreux Detroit
MDR 843
Griot Galaxy - 'Opus Krampus'
LP and CD release, CD has 2 bonus tracks
1984 Sound Aspects
SAS 004
Other releases: See Northwoods Discography page.