Trumpeter Kamau Adilifu (aka Charles Sullivan) is a native New Yorker. Born in Manhattan on Nov. 8, 1944, he grew up in a musical family and had not one but two uncles who played the trumpet. He started his musical studies under their tutelage and later went on to earn a B.A. in Music from The Manhattan School of Music in 1967. His professional career began prior to his graduation when, in the Spring of 1965, he auditioned for and won the job as solo trumpet in the dual Off-Broadway production of the Bertolt Brecht play “The Exception & The Rule”, directed by Isaiah Sheffer with music by Stefan Volpe, and the Langston Hughes musical “The Prodigal Son”, directed by Vinnette Carroll, with a score by Alex Bradshaw.

That same year he also became a member of the Kenny Dorham/Joe Henderson Big Band and performed at numerous venues around New York City, including the legendary Five Spot jazz club in Greenwich Village. In Spring of 1967 Mr. Adilifu made his first trip to Europe; a five month tour performing with the Donald McKayle Dance Company throughout Europe. At the end of 1967 Mr. Adilifu returned to NYC and began his career as a full-time freelance musician. Among the highlights of that career are:

In addition to the bands and artists named above, Mr. Adilifu has had the privilege of working extensively with the following leaders and ensembles: Howard McGhee Big Band, Sy Oliver, Lonnie Liston Smith, Carlos Garnett, Andrew Cyrille, Frank Foster, McCoy Tyner, Betty Carter, Jazz Composers of America Orchestra, New York Jazz Repertory Company, to name a few.