On September 17, 1962, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach gathered at Sound Makers studio in NYC and recorded Money Jungle, one of the most celebrated jazz trio albums of all time. Generational and stylistic differences between the three masters led to fearless music-making of the highest order. The album was originally released on United Artists and featured 7 of Ellington’s indelible compositions including “Caravan,” “Solitude,” and a stunning version of “Le Fleurs Africaines (African Flower).” By going back to the original analog stereo master the Tone Poet Edition presents this classic album with superior sound quality.
After his 2016 return to Blue Note where he first made a name for himself with a run of classic soul jazz albums between 1968-70, Hammond B-3 organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith recorded All In My Mind during his 75th birthday celebration in July 2017 at the Jazz Standard in New York City with guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jonathan Blake. The album gets its first-time vinyl release with this 5-song Tone Poet Edition which features spirited interpretations of songs by Wayne Shorter (“Juju”), Freddie Hubbard (“Up Jumped Spring”) Paul Simon (“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”), and more.
Listening to Lee Morgan blow his molten solo on “A Night In Tunisia,” the opening track of The Cooker, it’s hard to fathom that he was only 19 years old at the time. Recorded just 2 weeks after Morgan’s dazzling performance on John Coltrane’s masterpiece Blue Train in September 1957, The Cooker was in fact Morgan’s 5th Blue Note album as a leader. Bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones (both of whom also played on Blue Train) are joined by baritone saxophone master Pepper Adams and the great Bobby Timmons on piano on this superbly swinging session.
Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, bandleader and DJ Emma-Jean Thackray is proud to announce her new EP ‘Rain Dance’, released via her brand new label ‘Movementt’.
The announcement comes with the release of the first single from the EP, the breathtaking ‘Rain Dance / Wisdom’, which sees Emma and her band switch transition between different moods and tempos before building to a blistering conclusion that blurs the lines between jazz and psychedelia.
On the track Emma says, “I reimagined the first half of the track from another beat (Rain Dance from the Ley Lines EP) and it’s completely live with my band. The track holds moments for each musician to shine and say something, and always goes down well live because it shows how well we improvise together. We always bring lots of energy, brave moments of stillness, and telepathic communication / awareness from being such a strong unit as a band.”
Just 2 days after saxophonist Dexter Gordon recorded his classic album GO! in August 1962 he brought the same quartet with pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins back into Rudy Van Gelder’s studio to record the equally sublime A Swingin’ Affair. All the joy and beauty of the great tenor man’s music can be found in the irrepressible opener “Soy Califa,” a Gordon original that moves deftly between Latin and swing rhythms as Dex holds forth with his commanding horn. The feeling of the music is reflected perfectly in Reid Miles’ masterful cover design featuring Francis Wolff’s incredible photo.
This Blue Note 80 Vinyl Edition is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal.
Recorded and released in 1969, Herbie Hancock’s last Blue Note album The Prisoner is a powerful but overlooked masterpiece. A moving tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, this nonet session features some of the most exceptional instrumentalists in jazz including Joe Henderson, Johnny Coles, Hubert Laws, Garnett Brown, Buster Williams, and Albert “Tootie” Heath. Hancock said of The Prisoner: “I’ve been able to get closer to the real me with this album than on any other previous one.”
The debut full-length album from the Los Angeles duo Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes. Gendel plays Alto Saxofone and electronics, while Wilkes plays Bass Guitar and electronics. Pitchfork Media says “The discombobulating lines are sonically wild but technically well-mannered and seem – to go in multiple directions without losing sight of each other.”
My Garden is the Stones Throw debut of pianist, producer and composer John Carroll Kirby. An album written, recorded and produced entirely by Kirby, My Garden is a pure distillation of his sound — soulful, spiritual, and evocative. Demonstrating perfectly why Kirby is the go-to collaborator for artists ranging from experimental auteurs Bat for Lashes and Connan Mockasin to pop megastars Harry Styles and Kali Uchis, and R&B innovators Solange and Frank Ocean, My Garden is also a testament to the clarity and singularity of Kirby’s vision.
BBE Music presents the sixth release in its acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series: ‘Stop Over’ by Hideto Sasaki – Toshiyuki Sekine Quartet +1.
Released at the height of the electric fusion era, ‘Stop Over’ is an all-acoustic hard bop killer, sounding like the Jazz Messengers on speed. When it was originally issued on the private Smile label in 1976, only 100 copies were pressed, making ‘Stop Over’ one of the most sought after and rare LPs in the J Jazz canon.
Trumpeter Hideto Sasaki tears it up as if he’s Kenny Dorham on a classic late 50s Blue Note session. He also provides the breakneck title track to the album, the one stunning original that sits next to solid covers including Bobby Hutcherson’s modal classic ‘Little B’s Poem’ and Denny Zeitlin’s ‘Carole’s Garden’. Pianist Toshiyuki Sekine is also on top form with his deft touch and fluid keyboard runs, playing Horace Silver to Sasaki’s Dorham. If you dig that late 50s/early 60s breathless hard bop sound, you’ll love this.
Licensed and released with the approval of Toshiyuki Sekine himself, ‘Stop Over’ will be available for download and streaming, as a CD and double vinyl LP, the first vinyl reissue of this amazing album since originally slipping out to family and friends in 1976. With a deluxe packaging and translated sleeve notes, there will also be new notes and an interview with Toshiyuki Sekine.
The BBE J Jazz Masterclass Series is personally curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden and is dedicated to presenting the very finest in Japanese modern jazz. The series features rare material presented in the highest quality reproductions of the original releases, fully licensed and authorised.
First ever reissue for one of the rarest and most sought after releases in the Japanese Jazz canon. USA press conducted by Scorepress.
Wendell Harrison was born in Detroit in 1942 where he began formal jazz studies for piano, clarinet and tenor saxophone. At 14, while still in high school, Harrison started performing & recording professionally with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Grant Green, Sun Ra, Hank Crawford … and many others.
In 1971, Harrison began teaching music at Metro Arts (a multi-arts complex for youth) where he also connected with Marcus Belgrave, Harold McKinney and Phil Ranelin…soon after they formed the (now legendary) Afro-centric TRIBE record label and artist collective. TRIBE used the Metro Arts complex as a vehicle to convey a growing black political consciousness. Wendell Harrison also published the very popular TRIBE magazine, a publication dedicated to local and national social and political issues, as well as featuring artistic contributions such as poetry and visual pieces.
In 1978 Harrison and McKinney co-founded REBIRTH, a non-profit jazz performance and education organization, in which many notable jazz artists have participated. Around the same time Wendell Harrison also created the WENHA record label and publishing company, which released many of his (now classic) recordings as well as those of other artists, such as Phil Ranelin, Doug Hammond and Reggie Fields (The Real ShooBeeDoo).
In the early 1990s, Wendell Harrison was awarded the title of “Jazz Master” by Arts Midwest. This distinction led Harrison to collaborate with fellow honorees and gave him the chance to tour throughout the United States, Middle East and Africa. Even to this day Wendell Harrison’s recordings for the TRIBE, WENHA and REBIRTH labels have a large worldwide fanbase.
It is on WENHA that Harrison released the opus: DREAMS OF A LOVE SUPREME (1980), which we are presenting you today.
DREAMS OF A LOVE SUPREME is a monster album that features an all-star line-up that includes Phil Ranelin (Freddie Hubbard, Solomon Burke, Mulatu Astakte) on trombone, Harold McKinney (Tribe) on Keyboards and Roy Brooks (Yusef Lateef, Chet Baker, Mingus) on percussion. Although you can hear the 80ies creeping in with a smoother sound, more synths, and disco/R&B vocals… this remains a very spiritual (and soulful) jazz record. The record’s an irresistible blend of soul jazz combined with funky electric instrumentation…a groovy sound which is very much of its time, yet overtly timeless and as relevant today as it was back when it was initially released.
Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first ever vinyl reissue of ‘Dreams of A Love Supreme’ since its release in 1980. This official reissue is now available as a deluxe 180g BLACK vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies) and comes with an unreleased bonus track. This release is also available as a color vinyl version (limited to 100 copies 180g CLEAR vinyl exclusively available from LITA).
Song Cycle present the first reissue of Wounds by David Toop and Paul Burwell. Originally released in 1980 on Toop’s Quartz! label, the album is representative of a seminal moment within the British music scene evolved around the London Musicians Collective in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Founded in 1976 by a group of improvising musicians and sound artists including Evan Parker, Peter Cusack, Lol Coxhill, Sylvia Hallet, Max Eastley, the LMC contributed to shape a new generation of free improvisers with broader interests ranging from the music of John Stevens, Evan Parker, and Cornelius Cardew, to non-western music experiences. David Toop and Paul Burwell came to know each other precisely in these crucial moments, to start a long-lasting collaboration on two separate but intertwined projects a trio with the artist and poet Bob Cobbing, and an improvisation duo. As result of the latter, the nine tracks included in Wounds are edited from a single performance at the LMC, date 30.6.1979. Recorded by Max Eastley and Russ Wood, these shows saw the employment of different musical instruments as well an odd number of found objects placed in front of the artists, on the floor, ready to be picked up and played. Electric guitar, flute, cassette, water, rubbish, explosives, six strings harp, bamboo fiddle, whistle were only a few of the wider arrange of instruments at the disposal of the two. The result is an ambivalent album, suspended between the unfolding of the time of performance, and the circularity of the ritual. And if the collage of texts appearing on the artwork demonstrates a certain disapproval and skepticism toward the progress of society, Wounds seems also suggesting a possible cure. The improvised music, the use of non-canonical instruments, the presence of pre-recorded sounds coming, seems indeed to be an open invitation to the listeners to abandon the old conventions and to search for a new system of relationships.
Available again for the first time since original release in 1974, Outernational Sounds presents one of the deepest custom press jazz recordings of all: Jaman’s spiritualized and funky Sweet Heritage. The history of jazz is often told as though it was principally a history of releases and recordings. On those terms, it’s easy to mistake a small recorded footprint for obscurity or silence. The true history of the jazz is the story of the music as it was played night after night in the clubs, bars, concert halls, and backrooms of cities and towns across America and the world. Only a tiny fraction of this living tradition ever makes it onto a recording. And even though 1974’s Sweet Heritage is James Edward Manuel’s only release, the pianist and educator better known as Jaman has undoubtedly lived it. Brought up in Buffalo, New York, Jaman studied classical piano before beginning formal jazz studies under greats including Earl Bostic and Horace Parlan. Quickly becoming a respected regular on the club scene in Buffalo, Jaman held down innumerable residencies and worked with top local musicians — one of his early trios included the renowned bassist John Heard and drummer Clarence Becton, both of whom were poached one night by a visiting Jon Hendricks; sometime Sun Ra Arkestra bassist, Juini Booth, and regular Ahmad Jamal sideman, Sabu Adeyola (also of Kamal & The Brothers), have graced his groups too. At famous night spots all over Buffalo’s East Side and on excursions to Manhattan’s storied jazz clubs, Jaman has shared the stage with some of the most illustrious names in jazz and blues: Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, Joe Henderson, Ruth Brown, Frank Morgan, Woody Shaw, Sonny Stitt, and many others. His eponymous group, Jaman, was formed in 1970; they toured the US and Canada steadily. He became one of Buffalo’s true jazz stalwarts, and so he remains. But despite a life lived deep within the music, Jaman only recorded a single LP, 1974’s Sweet Heritage. Pressed in tiny quantities by the Mark Records custom service, Sweet Heritage featured the regular Jaman group playing a mixture of covers and originals. The whole LP showcases an ensemble in complete control, and with the flying, spiritual sound of “Free Will” and the Latin-tinged “In The Fall of The Year” — both Jaman originals — the album has since become a legendary collector’s classic. 180 gram vinyl.
Original score by Krzysztof Penderecki. New reading and conduction by Mats Gustafsson. The first (and until now only?) recorded interpretation of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Actions For Free Jazz Orchestra took place in 1971 at Donaueschingen and featured the New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra, assembled by Don Cherry for the occasion and conducted by the great Polish composer. That orchestra also consisted of 14 musicians, including international jazz heavyweights such as Kenny Wheeler, Peter Brötzmann, Thomasz Stanko, Terje Rypdal, Han Bennink, and others. Don Cherry himself did not perform. Penderecki had heard the Globe Unity Orchestra a couple of years earlier and was fascinated by the possibilities of working with musicians from a different background and with other perspectives than he was used to from the classical world. The challenge for all involved was to find the right balance between composition and improvisation. The idea was initially met with some skepticism from the musicians, but this soon gave way to acceptance and even eagerness. The new, extended reading by Mats Gustafsson and Fire! Orchestra was commissioned by the Sacrum Profanum festival in Kraków, Poland in 2018. The idea was to place this classic piece in a contemporary setting, with a new approach and a new body of sound. However, the original score was used as a platform for the new reading, connecting history with the present. A score in this context is most often of a graphic nature to present reference points, visualized on the sleeve by Kim Hiorthøy’s cut-up adaption of Mats Gustafsson’s score. It’s also worth noticing that the instrumentation is more or less identical to that of 1971, the main difference being a tuba replacing one of the trombones. Finally, this new reading clocks in at 40 minutes, and is thus considerably longer than the 1971 version. This line-up of the Fire! Orchestra is unique in that it’s the first time without founding members and singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg. It’s also the first time with guitarist Reine Fiske.
‘Girl And Robot With Flowers’ is a thematic journey into the emotive and enthralling realms of cinematic jazz, seductive ambience and majestic drama. Greg Foat uses everything from brass bands and kettle drums to Moog synthesizer and harmonium to take the listener above and beyond the stratosphere of senses.
Arsivplak present a reissue of Matao with Atilla Engin’s Turkish Delight, originally released in 1979. It’s a Turkish jazz-funk delight! Some hard-hitting rhythm section blending into a prime example of the swingin’ sound of the cool influences of jazz, funk, and folk music, with a Turkish flavor. Its fantastic funk jazz groove built on a titanium synth bassline! An instrumental library of traditional Turkish jazz session reaching a great climax in drums and percussion sets, plus electro-bass breaks with Moog and synthesizers from the beginning to the end. Traditional Turkish songs based on drums and synth bass over moody 5/8 fuzz guitars… Album recorded and released in Denmark, 1979, and it has never been released in Turkey. Hard cardboard sleeve; obi.
Repressed; LP version. Obi; includes four-page insert. Wewantsounds present the first official release outside of Japan for The Mystery Kindaichi Band’s The Adventures of Kindaichi Kosuke, originally released in 1977. The “imaginary” soundtrack to the cult detective book series by writer Seishi Yokomizo is on many DJ want-lists. Arranged by soundtrack master Kentaro Haneda and featuring a mysterious group of the best ’70s Japanese Funk musicians, the album is pure undiluted disco funk. Writer Seishi Yokomizo is an institution in Japan. He could be compared to Agatha Christie with his series of novels based on the adventures of detective Kosuke Kindaichi. The fictional character was born in 1946 with Yokomizo’s first novel in the series and solved mysteries until the late ’70s under Yokomizo’s pen before the death of the writer in 1981. Yokomizo’s novels have been a prime source for film and TV scenarios, so when, in 1977, Japanese label King Records decided to record a concept album based on the Kindaichi novels, it made complete sense. The writer was slightly surprised though. The concept album was arranged by pianist Kentaro Haneda, a key TV and film composer who has worked on many anime films and is also famous outside of Japan for composing the music for the video game Wizardry. For the album, he assembled a supergroup of some of the best Tokyo funk and city pop musicians. The long list includes jazz pianist Hideo Ichikawa who played on the 1971 Joe Henderson In Japan album, drummer Jun Moriya, who is on Joe Hisaichi’s cult Wonder City Orchestra album (1982), percussionist Tadaomi Anai who played with disco singer Eri Ohno, trumpeter Koji Hadori who’s featured on Haruomi Hosono’s Pacific album (1978). Also present on the album are saxophonist Takeru Muraoka who plays on many Tatsuro Yamashita cult albums including For You (1982) and Spacy (1977), Kimiko Yamauchi (koto) who’s on Akiko Yano’s landmark 1976 album Japanese Girl (WWSCD 017CD/WWSLP 017LP), and last but not least, French hornist Koji Yamaguchi who plays on Yazuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi (1982). Together they lay the funk on ten instrumentals filled with pure disco and funk breakbeats, making the album one of the highly-coveted Japanese LPs on international cratedigger scene. Remastered from the original tapes. Faithfully reproduced original artwork; Artwork by renowned illustrator Ichibun Sugimoto. New introduction by Anton Spice.
Dark Matter is a landmark record, a producer album by a young auteur, threading several thrilling musical traditions into a bold new tapestry: the raw energy of grime and afrobeats and the rolling club rhythms of the London underground, combined with the freewheeling creativity and collaborative spirit of his jazz training. With that mentality in mind, it’s no surprise that his talents have trickled over into fashion, producing original compositions for the Louis Vuitton Foundation x MoMa Archive film (2017) and most recently scoring the Men’s Dunhill Paris Fashion shows in both 2018 and 2019
A double MOBO and Jazz FM Award winner, Boyd’s live and studio collaborations have been as varied as they have been prolific, from touring with Sampha and Kelsey Lu, to drumming on Sons of Kemet’s Mercury-nominated album, to his recent collaboration with South African Gqom king DJ Lag, which made its way onto Beyonce’s official soundtrack for The Lion King. He produced Zara McFarlane ‘s 2017 full-length, Arise, in its entirety, for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, and released several acclaimed solo projects though his Exodus record label. Boyd has produced original scores for major Paris fashion shows, and with saxophonist Binker Golding, he’s co-leader and co-producer of the ferocious semi-free group Binker and Moses.
Max Graef and Julius Conrad are Ratgrave. ‘Rock’ is their second LP ~ ongoing transmissions of Electronic P-Fusion from Earth. It follows a stellar debut on Funkineven’s imprint Apron. The duo’s sound pallette draws inspiration from 80’s funk, soul, rock and electronic but through a contemporary lens from two versatile multi-instrumentalists. In their own words: “Rock is the essence of energy and vibration we felt in different styles of music, almost like a parallel component connecting all things we like. In the process of recording the new album we kept coming back to this essence no matter what style the original idea was. There was the raw and brutal energy of Jazz-Rock, a lot of video game influences that somehow adhered this essence just as well as quieter Pop and Psychedelic passages that we recorded. Among other things we absorbed a lot of heavy music during the time of the recording like Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa or Jimi Hendrix and realized while writing our own music how much impact they had even on quieter songs. This is why “Rock“ felt like the perfect title although the music ranges from P-Funk and Spiritual Jazz to various styles of Pop and beyond.“ Max Graef has previously collaborated with Glenn Astro on records for Ninja Tune and both artists have previously released on Tartelet. This marks the fourth official LP on Black Focus, a London label founded by Kamaal Williams
Ten incredible albums culled from the deepest, weirdest co-op of record enthusiasts ever gathered under one banner.
“We’ve spared no expense packaging these, pairing the idea of the Art of Compilation with living and breathing art, creating little fortune cookies baked in a factory of forgotten dreams. Video games, pyramids, trading cards, matchbooks, mazes, lottery tickets, film canisters, yearbooks, and various other exercises in design absurdity.
A lounge in the Poconos located just inside a Holiday Inn, 1973. The smoky haze clears to reveal a middle aged couple on a one-foot high stage, prattling on about the weather or Watergate before launching into a serviceable cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” Tens of thousands of such combos littered restaurants, cruise ships, casinos, lobbies, and cocktail bars throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but far fewer cut a record worth buying from the stage, much less listening to on the home hi-fi. Gathered here are 14 lounge originals from across the entire easy listening spectrum. A spent matchbook’s worth of crooners, bossa nobodies, seafood jazzers, and Donca-Matic enthusiasts all in search for their ticket out of a red leather booth hell.”
In Stock March 17, 2020
Stay on it! This is the future! This is the spectral dreaming, the reshaped soundwaves of post-Katrina, post-Osage Avenue, post-Obamacare that we borrow from to do this work, so stay on it.
Who Sent You? they said from their liquid cryo-chamber, from a low-light induction field cobbled together with lithium rods, with melted down Romare Bearden and Howardena Pindell paintings, stitched with chaos fibers and placed in the center of the carrion husk of a burnt out shanty town. They took time to scrape ashen samples of what was, their souls the residue thick and caked on, that still climbs those new high-rise condominiums like moss—the only evidence that they were once there, that they were baked into the fabric of this planet—they were there fixing elevators and tossing wrenches into quantum fields until they were stopped! frisked! and turned into weird, 100-foot martyr murals on the backside, the north side, of supermarket walls—Who Sent You? is how the matrix modulation works.
Dig it: Who Sent You? is the punk-rocking of jazz and the mystification of the avant-garde, a sci-fi sound from that out-soul-fire jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements. Who Sent You? they asked and tried to lock us in their distress chambers, and yet here it is: an album that functions as a heat-sealed care package for the modern Afrofuturist’s pre-flight machinations. This record weaves kinetic soul fusion, dreamy yet harrowing spectral poetry, and intricate force-field-tight rhythms into wild, warmth-giving tapestries that comfort and conceal, confront and coerce all at once, with the dark matter of the deep, black all-consuming universe as its thread.
Where the band’s self-titled debut was all explosive noisy anthems and glorious cosmic bluster, Who Sent You? is a focused and patient ritual. Irreversible Entanglements take their time in between these grooves, stalking the war-torn streets of the Deep South and post-Columbian apocalypses—taking their time to add our DNA to the centrifuge, to dream up an alchemical amalgamation that sounds truly euphoric, drenched in the epic star-flung fallout of a nova only they can conjure. More than the sum of its parts—Luke Stewart’s war-like basslines, Keir Neuringer’s haunting saxophone, Aquiles Navarro’s cyberpunk brass, the unwieldy storm of Tcheser Holmes’ drums, and the oracular phyletic incantations of Camae Ayewa—Who Sent You? is an entire holistic jam of “infinite possibilities coming back around,” a sprawling meditation for afro-cosmonauts, a reminder of the forms and traumas of the past, and the shape and vision of Afrotopian sounds to come.
The title of Horace Tapscott’s debut release is apt, if not self-referential, for indeed a giant of West Coast jazz had awakened with this, the pianist/composer/bandleader’s 1969 album for the Flying Dutchman label. Tapscott went on to form two groups crucial to the flowering of modern jazz in the Los Angeles area, the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (or P.A.P.A.; the name is an homage to Tapscott’s predecessor and peer, Sun Ra), which eventually became part of a larger umbrella organization, Union of God’s Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA). Out of UGMAA came a host of LA-bred musicians, singers, and poets, including Arthur Blythe (who goes by Black Arthur Blythe on this recording), Stanley Crouch (who wrote the original liner notes), David Murray, Butch Morris, Wilber Morris, Jimmy Woods, Nate Morgan, and Sinclair Greenwell, Jr. (a.k.a. Guido Sinclair). And anchoring it all was Tapscott himself; as Kamasi Washington, whose vision of a large, Los Angeles community-based ensemble echoes that of P.A.P.A. and UGMAA, said in 2015: “Horace is one of the most important figures in the foundation of music in L.A., from both a purely musically and socially conscious perspective.” Now, Real Gone Music is proud to present the first-ever LP reissue of The Giant Is Awakened (original copies go for hundreds of dollars), taken from high-resolution audio sources and complete with original gatefold artwork. Neon green vinyl pressing limited to 1000 copies…a foundational document of West Coast modern jazz!
Be With Records present a reissue of Victor Cavini’s Japan, originally released in 1983. The first Be With foray into the archives of revered German library institution Selected Sound is one of Be With’s favorites on the label. Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that never turn up. With Daibutsu the giant Buddha of Kamakura’s presence gracing the hefty front cover, this is a record bursting with dope samples for adventurous producers: it’s koto-funk madness! Victor Cavini was the library music pseudonym of prolific German composer and musician Gerhard Trede. He was known for exploring instruments and styles from around the world (he played over 50 different instruments himself) and Japan is his collection of 14 musical sketches painted with traditional Japanese wind and string instruments. These are the sounds of traditional Japanese folk music re-interpreted through Western ears, with the occasional contemporary twist. Contemporary for 1983, of course. These “Pictures Of Japan” are hypnotic, sometimes frantic, but always beautiful. The first twelve tracks offer airy explorations of koto and flute, with other strings and percussion being added and then given their own space. Indeed “Pictures Of Japan XII” is just drums. And then “Pictures Of Japan XIII” seems to come out of nowhere. But the subtle sleaze of its full band sound still doesn’t quite prepare you for the towering climax of “Pictures Of Japan XIV”. This is Japan’s undoubted standout piece, completely and wonderfully at odds with the rest of the album. It’s the reason this has become such a must-have record. It keeps the traditional Japanese instruments but combines them with shuffling funk breaks, electric bass high in the mix and a Godzilla-sized psychedelic fuzz guitar sound that might actually be a traditional reed flute pushed to its limits. Recalling both Rino de Filippi’s 1973 album Oriente Oggi (CNLP 042LP) and Giancarlo Barigozzi’s Oriente also from 1973, the track’s a real head-nod groove for b-boys and b-girls alike that sounds straight out of a late-70s Yakuza film. Indeed, if you were told The RZA or Onra had cooked this up in the lab this century, you’d be convinced. It’s crazy that this dates from 1983. Audio remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. Richard Robinson has handled the careful restoration of the original Selected Sound sleeve.
First released on digital formats back in 2016, and here now given a richly deserved full vinyl release, Holy Science, the debut outing from Amirtha Kidambi and her New York based quartet The Elder Ones, is a work of dazzling singularity. Delicately yet unashamedly divulging its complex network of influences at every turn, Holy Science simultaneously disperses of boundary and limitation, emerging as an album steeped in tradition yet located firmly in the futuristic present. Amirtha Kidambi, the Elder Ones’ leader, composer and vocalist, was a child of South Indian heritage, and she grew up immersed in the tradition of devotional singing, joining in with free-form, improvised Bhajans on regular Sundays. She began simultaneously accompanying her voice with the harmonium from the age of three. These formative experiences continued to instruct and merge with her ongoing musical explorations as she went on to study classical music, all the while ingesting the punk, R&B and rap that surrounded her. A particularly significant discovery was that of free and avant jazz, and in particular the music of Alice and John Coltrane, in whom Kidambi found clear echoes and parallels with those Bhajans and Ragas of her earliest musical awakenings. All these influences collide on Holy Science, at times as explosive blasts of sky-opening thunder, at others as moments of soothing, meditative bliss. These holy bursts are enacted by Kidambi’s assembled musicians and are given permission to explore the science of spiritual alchemy, plundering their individual and collective soul for the sake of musical expression, and all of the unpredictable and profound revelations such an approach might yield. Holy Science is a work underpinned by traditions, be they the Bhajan spirituals, or the jazz and classical avant gardes, that are in their own manner, archetypal. But perhaps most importantly, all of these forms contain an inbuilt capacity for discovery and progression. Amirtha Kidambi’s musical pathway has been defined by a studied determination to occupy this specific space, the unbounded realm of improvisation and exploration, summoning the acquired instruments of experience, knowledge, culture, and tradition to unlock secrets of the past, present and future. The most cherished music is often remarked upon as having a timeless quality — ancient, modern and futuristic, all at once. And so it is with Holy Science. Liner notes by DJ Cherrystones.
Outernational Sounds present a reissue of Nate Morgan’s Retribution, Reparation, originally released on Nimbus West Records in 1984. A core member of the circle around Horace Tapscott, pianist Nate Morgan was a key member of the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, known as The Ark. Here is the second of his two LPs for Nimbus West. His first, Journey Into Nigritia (OTR 008LP) had been a declaration of arrival laced with energies drawn from Cecil Taylor and Coltrane. One year later, in 1984, with nods to Herbie Hancock (“One Finger Snap”) and Ellington (“Come Sunday”), Retribution, Reparation was a confident statement of purpose. Politically charged with pan-Africanist Black nationalism, and titled with uncompromising directness, the album focusses the sound world of the Ark into a surging, restless masterpiece of spiritualized modal jazz. Danny Cortez on trumpet and Jesse Sharps on saxophones comprise an explosive frontline. Fritz Wise and Ark regular Joel Ector hold down the rhythm section. Morgan’s forceful, Tyner-like chords and virtuosic solos bind the music together. From the poised drama of the opening dedication to Tapscott’s U.G.M.A.A. organization, through the propulsive militancy of the title track, “Retribution, Reparation” spreads the word: “Advance to Victory, Let Nigritia Be Free!” Fully licensed from Nimbus West founder Tom Albach.