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Have you seen Malik Yaqub?

Mike Cooper is attempting to track down saxophonist Malik Yaqub, and is asking anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact him. According to information sourced by Cooper, Yaqub was at one point considered one of the best saxophonists in the world, that at 19 he was chosen as the successor to Charlie Parker, and shared the stage with Bud Powell, Duke Jordan, Elmo Hope and Miles Davis.

Cooper says: "The album Malik Yaqub Yaqub Speaks Vol.1 was recorded in San Francisco and is great. I had never heard of him previous to this but was intrigued enough to investigate. I found several references to him including video of him in Spain and photos of him playing in the streets of Madrid outside FNAC. He was also in Egypt at some point and played with Salah Ragab and maybe Sun Ra. I recently found an album by Yaqub on a free download site with the following note attached. He might still be alive and maybe needs some assistance if he is.

"'…Malik Yaqub was last seen busking on the streets of Madrid playing his sax for spare change [though he reportedly got deported for vagrancy]…In the 70s he spent eight years in prison for drug smuggling and eventually cut a long player. Sometime subsequent he accepted an offer to creep to Spain and became a teacher, but unfortunately developed a degenerative disease that compromised the movement of his fingers. Malik apparently calls his playing style 'Beebop Clandestino'. Have you seen him?'"

Cooper invites anyone with information to contact him via email at cooparia[at]


Hi. Back in 1982, fresh out of college music, I returned to Costa Rica and joined up with some other local guys and Malik Yaqub for over a year but definitely less than two years. It was an honor and a total blast to play night after night anywhere we could get gigs (and in Costa Rica THAT is a serious challenge for any jazzman!) That cat smoked pot as often as possible. Wonderful player.

Malik Yaqub, tenor saxophonist, born Mack Spears in Kansas City, passed peacefully in hospital last Tuesday {oct. 2012} in Spain where he had been living for many years with his Spanish girlfriend.

Does anyone know who his Spanish Girlfriend was? When in Spain 10 years ago, I purchased a CD from him in the street. It was his "Egyptian" album, and i believe the cover, handmade by his girlfriend, was orange, with a hieroglyphics pattern. I lost it in a move and would love another copy.

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