A top bebop trumpeter with a wide range, Idrees Sulieman's decision to move to Scandinavia in 1961 has cut into his potential fame, but resulted in steady work on the Continent. He studied at Boston Conservatory, and gained early experience playing with the Carolina Cotton Pickers and the wartime Earl Hines Orchestra (1943-1944). Sulieman was closely associated with Mary Lou Williams for a time; he also worked with Thelonious Monk in 1947, and had stints with Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. Sulieman recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1957) and gigged with Randy Weston (1958-1959), in addition to popping up in many other situations. He went to Europe in 1961 to tour with Oscar Dennard, and then settled in Stockholm, moving to Copenhagen in 1964. A major soloist with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland big band from the mid-'60s through 1973, Sulieman has frequently worked with radio orchestras. His recordings as a leader have been for Swedish Columbia (1964) and SteepleChase (1976 and 1985). Sulieman's career slowed down considerably in the '90s as he got older; he died of bladder cancer on July 23, 2002 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersberg, Florida.
~ Scott Yanow