Advertisement
Advertisement

Diaspora Meets Afro Horn: Jazz – A Music Of The Spirit, Out Of Sistas’ Place

In brief:
"...the clean, clear trumpet voice riding high over the dense Arkestral accompaniment, a natural leader whose impact is felt on every one of the eight tracks on this fine set"

The Sun Ra Arkestra, both with and post Ra, is notoriously a closed shop, a collective of fine musicians who rarely if ever step out into the limelight as solo artists to make their own mark.

One of the few exceptions has been trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, a member of the Arkestra since 1975, who has recorded sparsely since the 1980s, most notably with Billy Bang. His was the clean, clear trumpet voice riding high over the dense Arkestral accompaniment, a natural leader whose impact is felt on every one of the eight tracks on this fine set.

Advertisement

He has a strong supporting cast with him here, notably fellow Arkestra members Alex Harding on baritone and Radu Ben Judah on bass, the renowned Bob Stewart on tuba, and Donald Smith, brother of Lonnie Liston, on piano. Don Chapman, a new name to me, plays some committed tenor sax throughout. Of the title of this set, Sistas’ Place is the Brooklyn venue where Abdullah has been musical director for some two decades.

The mix of music is much what we would expect from an Arkestra stalwart, with an opening joyous romp in Accent, righteous musical poetry on Eternal Spiralling Spirit from Monique Ngozi Nri, Abdullah’s wife, and the ebullient Magwalandini by Miriam Makeba, a 9/8 South African township jive.

Inevitably, the shadow of Ra looms large, with three Ra originals: Discipline 27 – there were 99 Disciplines in the Ra songbook – is the usual space chant, Love In Outer Space a 6/4 slow dance chart with poetic support, Lights On A Satellite an unrolling intervallic delight. The concluding Reminiscing, written by Ra bassist Shobedoo and a showpiece for Ben Judah, allows everyone to have a good blow to end proceedings in great style.

MP3 downloads and recording streams of this album are available from all the usual outlets.

Find out more about Diaspora Meets Afro Horn: Jazz – A Music Of The Spirit/Out Of Sistas’ Place at ahmedian.com.

Discography
Accent; Eternal Spiralling Spirit; Discipline 27; Love In Outer Space; Magwalandini; Lights On A Satellite; Terra Firma; Reminiscing (68.41)
Ahmed Abdullah (t, flh, v); Don Chapman (ts); Alex Harding (bar); Bob Stewart (tba); Donald Smith (p); Radu Ben Judah (b); Ronnie Burrage, Roman Diaz, Francisco Mora Catlett (d, pc); Monique Ngozi Nri (v).
ahmedian.com

Latest audio reviews

Advertisement

More from this author

Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Riitta Paakki Quartet: Piste

Pianist Riitta Paakki wrote her doctoral dissertation on Wayne Shorter’s compositions, which she re-imagined on her last studio album in 2015. Like Shorter, she’s...
Advertisement

Obituary: João Gilberto

A key figure in the bossa nova explosion of the early 1960s, João Gilberto was often reclusive, rarely gave interviews, and disliked performing in...
Advertisement

Ed Palermo: the big band beyond

Early on in his career Ed Palermo cut two records, Papier Mache (Vile Heifer, 1982) and Ping Pong (Pro Jazz Records, 1987) before the...
Advertisement

Kick It: A Social History Of The Drum Kit

Matt Brennan is a drummer, and protégé of socio-musicologist Simon Frith. As Brennan rightly comments, it's bizarre that there's been no book-length scholarly history...
Advertisement

Sarah Vaughan: Live

Aged 50 at the time, 1974, Sarah Vaughan is in her vocal prime here. This release presents two television shows that were under the...
Advertisement

JJ 02/89: John Surman – Private City

Surman's fourth solo album breaks no new ground but confirms his stature as one of today's finest improvisers and arrangers, Surman overdubbing his own...