Tempo Blues Booking Agency  Past Tours

Omar Sharriff aka Dave Alexander (March 10, 1938 - January 8, 2012)

"Piano Maestro"

Born Dave Alexander Elam in Shreveport, Louisiana, Dave Alexander grew up in Marshall, Texas. Self-taught pianist, he began to play piano after hearing Albert Ammons and made his first professional appearance in 1954. But it was not before he was discharged from the navy in 1958 that he moved to Oakland, California where he began a long history of working with various Bay Area musicians and traveling acts.

Dave started writing his own material in 1968. His first recordings were released in 1969 on the sought after “Oakland Blues” album on World Pacific featuring support from Albert Collins on guitar and George Harmonica Smith on harp. Two highly regarded albums for Arhoolie Records followed. In 1976 he changed his name to Omar Hakim Khayyam and is now known as Omar Sharriff.
A versatile pianist and singer who mixes elements of jazz with his strong blues and boogie-woogie playing, his live show is a capsule of blues piano.
Along his career Omar Sharriff played with LC Robinson, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Witherspoon, Buddy Guy, Jimmy McCracklin, Lafayette Thomas… Among his appearances in the States and Europe, he performed at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival in 1970, and has played at the San Francisco Blues Festival, many times since 1973. He was also the warm up act at the Last Waltz at Winterland, Thanksgiving, 1974.
Nominated for a W C. Handy Award in 1993, Omar Sharriff kept on recording through the 90’s and 2000’s.

In 2010, John Tennison, a San-Antonio-based Boogie Woogie musicologist, proved that Marshall, the city where Omar grew up, was the home of Boogie Woogie. Omar was asked by the city to become its musical ambassador. Omar has now returned to Marshall, the city he left more than 50 years ago: "It's like I've been given a time machine, and I've been able to erase all that stuff I didn't want when I left so long ago - all that hatred, all that racism, all that bad. And I can still come back, keeping all the good things”.
Omar Sharriff aka Dave Alexander