Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi was born to Iranian parents in Switzerland in 1953, but his family soon moved to Germany where he grew up in Hamburg. Early lessons on piano ended abruptly, after his teacher couldn’t stand his style of playing. From 1968-73 he played the drums at his home, causing neighbors to complain about his passionate banging. He also took flamenco lessons and jammed with friends on guitar, but none of this dabbling hinted at the future direction his life would take upon his discovery of the saxophone, culminating in the formation of his free jazz/world music group SoSaLa in NYC.
At 19, he decided to move to Japan to study martial arts, eventually settling on Kendo (Japanese martial art of sword-fighting) as his preferred method. At the time this was a rare move, and he arrived in Osaka, Japan with no understanding of the language, and no taste for the food. This radically different culture left him confused and homesick at times, but he was challenging himself and finding his place in the world.
Only after reaching a higher level through years of study of Kendo did he begin to think about applying his philosophy and hard work to another discipline. An experience at a live concert convinced him to join a band, and he was surprised to be invited to play by some local musicians as a vocalist, and later saxophone player, even though he had never been trained on that instrument before. Sohrab has always maintained that without Kendo he wouldn’t have made this switch to become the musician he is today, as it was this training that prepared him for his future as sax player and bandleader.
In 1979, the year of the Iranian Revolution, he began his musical activities in his own group, called Sadato Group, and toured France, Switzerland, and Germany making a special appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland). By 1984 he had recorded and released a 7 inch Sadato Group, but later that year the Sadato Group broke up. At this point he moved to Tokyo.
In 1985 he played with Butoh group Dai Rakuda Kan, Hoppo Buto-ha, and the German vibraphonist Karl Berger. Later he launched his own group ALEF, acclaimed as the first real multi-media performance group in Japan, using butoh and modern dancers, actors, a stripper and a pantomimer. 1987 saw the release of ALEF’S LP Hajime on Sohrab’s own indie label Kampai Records.
In 1989 he formed the new band SADATO and released his second album Tenbatsu, again through Kampai Rec. SADATO performed at the prestigeous Tokyo club Club Quattro, later doing three shows in various Los Angeles clubs, and tours in Germany and Switzerland.
In 1990 his next CD, Dill, was released through German label Strange Ways Records, followed by another Swiss tour. Soon after he released his first music video, Bogu, with artwork by Stephen Black.and toured Germany and Switzerland again. Personally, he served as the music director of the multi media club Theatre Poo in Tokyo.
In 1992, with his next CD 1992 released by German label Atonal Records, Sohrab made inroads into the New York music scene, traveling there and playing with numerous well-known players. He also toured in Japan with famous US jazz musician Peter Gordon, with Shimizu Yusuaki on tenor sax as special guest.
In 1994 SADATO performed at the legendary punk club CBGB’s in New York and later at the Yokohama Jazz Promenade, releasing a disc later entitled No More Reggae, which received acclaim from both rock and jazz critics.
With 1996’s Cha Cha, produced by legendary Martin Bisi, Sohrab first incorporated elements of world music into his sound, a sound that would eventually result in the music of SoSaLa years later.
In 1998 SADATO toured Hong Kong and Saadat was interviewed by CNN ASIA.
By 1999, after 10 years, SADATO broke up and Sohrab focused on the business side of his career, with his company POP BIZ Ltd and print magazine Doo Bee Doo Bee Doo, the forerunner of the on-line magazine DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY.
A few years later in 2001, during a guest appearance with Salif Keita at the Blue Note Tokyo, he received a standing ovation from the audience and high praise from Keita, which inspired him to return to music more seriously.
Over the next two years he began to appear with the Canadian DJ Ryan Moore aka Twilight Circus Dub Sound System at Motion Blue Yokohama, and in 2004 shared the stage with them at the Fuji Rock Festival and True People’s Celebration Festival and did a guest appearance with the Romanian Gypsy band Fanfare Ciocarlia.
This year also brought another concert appearance with Salif Keita at a concert commemorating Keita’s appointment as United Nations Ambassador for culture and sport in Bamako (Mali).
He then formed THE TEHRAN BROTHERS with the Iranian Hamid Shahsavari on daf and vocals. This band then morphed into The Tehran-Dakar Brothers with Wagane N’Diaye Rose from Senegal on sabar. Rose is the son of the famous Senegalese sabar player Dou Dou N’Diaye Rose and with this lineup they eventually supported Tunisian singer Chiha during her tour of Japan in 2007.
Sohrab was also known in Japan as an incisive interviewer, in particular for a series of interviews he conducted for Jazz Critics (one of the top Japanese jazz journals) with Horace Silver, Don Cherry, Michel Petrucciani, Larry Oakes of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Elliot Sharp, Lynn Johnston, Vinnie Golia, Peter Gordon, THE BLECH, engineer/producer Martin Bisi, Akita Masami, and Scott Baker, editor of Option (US music magazine).
With his move to NYC in 2008, he left everything behind to start anew in America. “I saw this as the last chance to do something I believe in, through my horn, and I thought maybe there would be a niche for me here after 9/11, as a Muslim who is a good person.”
The Tehran-Dakar Brothers continued in New York with Senegalese members. Sohrab recorded at the BC STUDIO (Brooklyn) in December 2008 for the first time with recording engineer Martin Bisi featuring Senegalese musicians Masamba Diop on tama & sabar, (who is the head drummer of Baaba Maal), and Mar Gueye on sabar & djembe (who is a student of Dou Dou N’Diaye). Continuing in New York City with rotating members.
A big change happened in 2009: Sohrab found new reasons to connect with the country of his father when the Green Movement for a new Iran happened in 2009. He quickly became an outspoken critic of the oppressive regime, and played his music at a number of marches and rallies for freedom and change in Iran.
In 2010 Sohrab started to record songs for his on his new CD inviting variuos NY musicins to record with him which resulted in changing his band’s name to SoSaLa in 2011 after releasing the CD Nu World Trash.
In 2015 Sohrab founded the non-profit advocacy musician organization Musicians For Muscicians, Inc (MFM).
Sohrab has made guest appearances, collaborated, or sessioned in NY from 2008 till present with the following:
Salif Keita, Ornette Coleman, Warsaw Village Band, John Kruth & Tribecastan, John S. Hill & KING MISSILE, Bachir Attar & The Master Musicians Of Jajouka, Jon Paris, John Sinclaire, Butch Morris, ASIKO, Burnt Sugar & The Arkestra Chamber with Henry Grimes, Swiss Chriss Band, Mandingo Ambassadors, Lukas Ligeti, Grand Masters Of Gypsy Music, Sylvain Leroux & SOURCE, Guston, Francis Mbappe, Pascal Plantinga Band, Pyrolator, Jojo Kuo, Brandon Ross, Al MacDowell, Dawoud, Sheikh Tairou M’Baye, Jean-Marie Collatin-Faye, Brandon Terciz, Matt Kilmer, Lisle Ellis, Oran Etkin, Bill Mc Henry, Arturo Martinez, Anders Nilsson, Peter Zummo, Dende, Billy Ficca (TELEVISION), Chulo Gatewood, Lloyd Haber, Hassan Hakmoun, Shahzad Ismaeli, Alex Obert, Otis Brown III, Mamadou Ba and Ravish Momin.
Sohrab played as a guest or with his band at the following NY venues:
Apollo Theater, Drom, Le Poisson Rouge, Highline Ballroom, BB King’s, The Stone, Nublu, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, St. Nick’s Bar, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Yippy Cafe, Zinc Bar, Zebulon, The Gershwin Hotel, Pianos, Coco 66 and so on.
Sohrab composed indie film soundtracks for:
Death and the Dancer (2009) by Ed Haas
Pinus Strobus (2010) by Augusta Palmer
Birders: The Central Park Effect by Jeffrey Kimball (shown on HBO)
On Sunday, April 12th, 2009, from Midnight – 3am: Kurt Dahlke aka Pyrolator performed with a guest appearance by Sohrab on sax, on WFMU 91.1 and 90.1 fm (wfmu.org). The host was Daniel Blumin.
NBC (Channel 4) video taped parts of Sohrab’s concert at the Stone and aired the footage, which was a piece of a segment on experimental music inNew York, 3/21 at 7:30 pm and 3/22 at 1:00 am. This piece was also featured on www.lxtv.com for a long time.
He was also the subject of a VOICE OF AMERICA interview in English and Farsi, which was aired around the world 7/26/09.
In 2009 Sohrab supported the GREEN MOVEMENT in Iran, playing at rallies at Union Square, Columbus Circle, Washington Square Park, at The Bowery Poetry Club, Columbia University and in front of the UN in New York City.