Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Gatling’s Chapel, 10133 South Halsted, Chicago, IL 60628
Celebrating The Life of Ameen Muhammad (aka Curtis Chapman)
Sunrise: July 12, 1954
Sunset: February 28, 2003
Copied from the
beautiful document received at Gatlin’s Chapel:
Ameen Muhammad (aka Curtis Chapman) made his debut and performed his first solo concert on July 12, 1954, to the delight of his Mother, Mamie Ruth Chapman, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He embraced AL Islam at an early age and sought the blessings of Allah as he practiced the Islamic traditions.
Ameen received his education in the Chicago Public School System, graduating with honors from Dunbar Vocational High School. He attended and graduated from Wright Junior College with an Associate Degree in Electronics.
Ameen married his high-school sweetheart, Priscilla Shearrill, March 18, 1977. To this union, three children were born: Rameen, Fareed (who preceded him in death) and Ameena.
Ameen was a creative musician, composer, teacher, lecturer, performer and former Vice-Chairman of the Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Ameen had performed many concerts and workshops in and around Chicago at colleges, elementary and high schools. He appeared throughout the United States and abroad, performing original creative music, in more than 35 states and 40 countries, as a member of the New Horizons Ensemble and other groups. In 1995, he was the recipient of the National Meet the Composer Artist Residency Award. He likened his role to that of the African Griot, whose function was to impart information on ethnic heritage, promote ethnic traditions, and inspire cultural and intellectual awareness via the oral tradition; relating stories orally transmitted through generations and the vehicle of original creative music.
Ameen made his transition from this life on February 28, 2003.
Sometimes in life, you are blessed to find a special person, someone who changes your life by being a part of it. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Ameen Muhammad was one of those special people.
His departure has left a void in the lives of his mother, Mamie Chapman, his children: Rameen and Ameena, grandchildren: Iyuna and Rakeda, aunts: Juanita Perry, Gwedolyn Allen, and Mary Allen, uncles: Joe Allen, Marion Allen, and James Allen and a host of relatives, in-laws and friends; a Special Friend and Companion, Bonita McCall and Ernest Khabeer Dawkins, a devoted friend and brother.
“To ALLAH We Belong, And To Him is Our Return” Sura 2 A.156
Musical Prelude – AACM
Presentation – Gatling’s Chapel
Scripture – Jihad Salaam
Prayer – Jihad Salaam
Selection/Solo – Ameena Chapman
Acknowledgements of Condolences
Musical Selection – AACM
Words of Memories – Priscilla Chapman, Ernest Khabeer
Dawkins, Saint “Chick” Turner, Bonita McCall
Remarks – Family & Friends
To My Most Beloved Son, Curtis. You were not only my son, you were my friend, advisor, doctor, and my #1 Supporter. You have given me so much. The greatest gift was three beautiful grandchildren and your never-ending love. I will miss our nightly chats where you would enlighten me with your “words of wisdom”. I will never forget your or the times that we shared. The good times and the bad times, we always got through them together. I will miss you, but you will live forever in my memories and heart. Love always, Mama.
Dear Daddy, I never thought this day would come when I would have to say my final good bye. I want you to know that I will always love and cherish the time we spent together. I know that everything happens for a reason even though we may never know why. I will always love and keep you in my heart. I know we will see each other once again, and I will be listening for you to say, “Girl you better get over here and give me my hug and kiss”. I will love you eternally, your baby girl, Ameena.
My Cuz, My Brother, You have been gone now since February 28, 2003; but today Mar 2, 2003, is when it really hit me that your presence has been removed from this place. Here it is 6:00 a.m. and, in my mind, I hear you saying to me “Cuz, I got to get me some glasses, too.” We didn’t see each other often, but when we did it was if the absences never existed. I remember your kind words, humor, hugs and your great commitment to others. I will cherish the thought of your saying that, “I was the sister that you never had”. The fond memories we share will keep you forever in my life. So rest in peace, my brother, and we will one day see each other again. Love, your Cuz and Sis, Anita (Boo).
Ernest Khabeer Dawkins
Tommie Perry, Jr.
When it seemed that our loss was too great to bear.
We looked up and our friends were there,
With flowers and words, written and spoken,
With faces smiling and hearts open,
You comforted us and shared our grief
God will bless and keep you, granted all relief.
Our gratitude cannot be adequately expressed
With mere words, but they are the best.
That we have to offer in saying “Thank You”
For lifting the cloud and letting the
It had snowed more than ever for this winter the night before. I passed several major car accidents on the journey to Gatling’s Chapel. I arrived to hear Ameena singing a beautiful song, and when the microphone cut out in the middle, she continued to sing. The musical selection performed by the AACM was classic. The words of memories were very touching. Priscilla related the strange music that took awhile to understand. Ernest spoke about travels with Ameen in Egypt to the pyramids and how Ameen was revered as “King Ameen”. How since the 3rd grade, they were very close. When Ameen received a trumpet, Ernest had to get a sax. When he started a band, Ameen had to be in it. How Ameen would take a situation and reverse it, including playing the trumpet backwards. I am not sure who mentioned Ameen’s book he had published called “CO-CO”. There were excerpts read and I definitely would like to purchase a copy. A cousin related to how Ameen taught her how to tell clock time, and not be ashamed of what you do. There was one last recessional past Ameen and I noticed the trumpet pin I had given him, last time I saw Ameen, was fastened to his garment. And I thought about how, by now, he has received his heavenly trumpet, and he will blow through eternity.
Forest Home Cemetery, 863 S. Des Plaines Avenue – Chicago,
We convoyed over to the Cemetery, and listened while the final words were given.
North__tern College, 700 E. – Chicago, IL (near 39th St)
The music began with Evod Majik (I know it is misspelled and will look in my notes from last summer) of the “One family band” on piano and Darius Savage on bass. Dushun Mosley joined in on drums, followed by Isaiah Jackson on trombone and Doug Ewart on African flute. They played Thelonious Monk’s Straight No Chaser. This song was followed by “St. Thomas Way”, with the additions of Ernest Dawkins on his bad, black alto sax, and Bob Griffin on trumpet. Next was another Monk tune, one title I always get mixed up. It was Epistrophy, Well You Needn’t, or Blue Monk. Ironically enough, I had a conversation about this confusion I had with Ameen, last time I saw Ameen. Anyway, Ernest started out with a very smashing solo, followed by Isaiah Jackson on trombone. Doug Ewart played “Three Blind Mice” on the African flute as the band shuffled in a few new players. Isaiah Spencer took over the drums, Ari Brown settled in at the piano, and Savoire Faire at the violin for “Lonnie’s Lament”. Solo 1: Savoire Faire, Solo 2: Ernest Khabeer Dawkins, Solo 3: Doug Ewart, Solo 4: Ann E. Ward freedom scatting, Solo 5: Taalib’Din Ziyaad, more scatting, Solo 6 Bob Griffin, Solo 7: Doug Ewart, and finishing with Solo 8: Savoire Faire. Very, very cool, there was a shadow of stolen moments. The repast ended with a tune based on “Motherless Child”. I had to ask if my suspicions of the tune title were correct, since it turned into a mother of a different kind. You know how it is if you have had the pleasure of hearing the performances of AACM members and their affiliates. And if you haven’t, there are plenty of ap-pro-tune-ities, just keep czechin’ the schedule at http://www.jazzhope.com/ToDoAsOfYYYY_MM_DD.htm