Born in North Carolina in 1934 and raised in the south Bronx, Brother Ah was playing jazz trumpet in local clubs with legendary alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons by the time he was fifteen. He went on to study classical French horn at the Manhattan School of Music and then at the Vienna State Academy. Returning fromAustria in 1958, he played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and numerous Broadway theater orchestras. At the same time, he became one of the most sought after jazz French horn players in New York, performing and recording throughout the sixties and early seventies with major artists such as Gil Evans, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Sun Ra, Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, John Lewis, and Max Roach.
In the late sixties, Brother Ah's interest in non-Western music intensified, starting with studies of Indian and Japanese music. Moving to Dartmouth College in 1970 gave him even more opprotunity to hear and play with non-Western musicians. Brother Ah spent 1972 in Ghana, a year of spiritual and musical transformation. Soon after returning to the United States in early 1973, he concieved a music that fused Third World traditions with jazz and European elements. He almost immediately started composing and performing this new music with his New York group, The Sounds of Awareness. Within another year the group recorded an album, Move Ever Onward , almost certainly the pioneering recording of what is now know as world (or multi-cultural) music.
In 1974, Brother Ah took another teaching position at Brown University and then, in 1982, moved to the Levine School Of Music in Washington D.C. Over this entire period he created, performed and refined the continuing stream of compositions that form the repertoire of the World Music Ensemble. In addition to leading the Ensemble, Brother Ah is currently teaching at primary and university levels, lecturing at The Smithsonian Institution and doing a weekly radio show on global music and jazz.
Beside his extensive jazz and world music recordings, Brother Ah also composed the score for Ethiopian producer Haile Germia's film Ashes and Embers.