Creative Arts Ensemble —
One Step Out ... LP Nimbus/Outernational (UK), 1981. New Copy 2LP (reissue)...
A great bit of work from the hip LA scene that centered around the Nimbus label at the end of the 70s – a collective who work together here with the same spiritual jazz modes you'd find on labels like Tribe or Strata East! The group features some bigger names from the scene, including some solo Nimbus acts – plus some other overlooked players – a lineup that includes Henry Franklin on bass, George Bohannon on trombone, Wilbert Hemsley on tenor, Dadesi Komolafe on flute, Jeff Clayton on baritone, and Gary Bias on alto and soprano sax. The album's also got some beautiful vocals from BJ Crowley – who co-leads the group, and sings out with a proud righteousness that recalls some of Dee Dee Bridgewater or Jean Carn's early early soul jazz recordings. The tracks are all long and spiraling numbers – never really "out", but in a free searching mode that's a perfect platform for the piano work of the other co-leader, Kaeef Ruzadun. Titles include "One Step Out", "Flashback Of Time", "All Praises Due", and "Stars In Lightyear Time". LP, Vinyl record album
An album that's every bit as cool as you might expect – a set that's very much in the same Indo-jazz experiments as saxophonist Joe Harriott, but with a slightly different approach overall! Although sitar is part of the instrumentation, there's also a fair bit of conventional jazz phrasing too – from trumpet, piano, flute, and alto sax – used in ways that color in the rhythms with a fantastic east meets west sort of sound – a bit like some of the Egyptian jazz of Salah Ragab, a quality that's definitely echoed in the horn solos too. Sitar is played by Ustad Rais Khan, who seems to get the most solo space – but there's also two electric guitarists on the record, and the interplay between their strings is great too. Manohari Singh plays sax, John Pereira plays trumpet, Lucilla Pacheco plays piano, and Lesli Godinho handles drums – and arrangements are by Sebastian D'Souza. Titles include "Raga Bhariav", "Raga Kalavati", "Raga Bairagi", "Raga Jaijaiwanti", "Raga Shivranjani", "Raga Todi", and "Raga Malkauns". LP, Vinyl record album
A lost spiritual jazz classic from pianist Nate Morgan – maybe the musician's best-remembered moment, and for good reason too! The set's got this soaring, spiritual vibe that's much more early 70s than you'd guess from the date of recording – a post-Coltrane spirit with lots of modal energy in the rhythms, carved out by Nate in these bold, dark lines on piano – and topped with some excellent work on alto sax from the great Dadisi Komolate! Both players were key figures in the under-documented LA scene of this period – and work together to make tremendous sounds on this album – on titles that include "He Left Us A Song", "Journey Into Nigritia", "Morning Prayer", "Mother", and "Study in CT". LP, Vinyl record album
Jeff Resnick —
SAC ... LP RIT/Outernational (UK), 1977. New Copy (reissue)...
A totally wonderful little record, and one with a very unlikely origin story too – given that the music was originally composed to highlight the different creative departments at the Rochester Institute Of Technology in the late 70s! The music is all jazz on side one – done in this warmly groovy way that reminds us a lot of our favorite Australian jazz of the time – very illuminating, with a vivid sense of image within the music – but never in a way that's forced, stiff, or held to any sort of rigid structure. The group on that side features producer Jeff Resnick on keyboards, plus great trumpet from a young Jeff Tyzik, piano from Sonny Kompanek, and tenor and flute from Ramon Ricker. Side two is a bit more electric – with a mix of different keyboards from Resnick, who also dubs over some soprano and alto recorders, and makes a bit of space for some especially lovely work on flute and saxes from Dick Griffo – all with a style that echoes side one, but with more emphasis on keyboards. The whole thing's pretty darn great – with a sound that's even more vivid than its lost history! LP, Vinyl record album
Jesse Sharps Quintet/Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra —
Sharps & Flats ... LP Nimbus/Outernational, 1979/1985. New Copy 2LP (reissue)...
Soaring spiritual soul jazz from the LA scene – a double-length set that features a beautiful performance by the Jesse Sharps Quintet, plus a longer extended track from Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra! We'll be honest in saying that we'd never heard of Sharps before this album – but he's a heck of a great saxophonist, with a sound that recalls the glory days of the Strata East scene, and the beautiful post-Coltrane Muse sessions by Earl & Carl Grubbs. His group for the session features some excellent work by the great Nate Morgan on piano – driving away in long, rhythmic passages that are very much in the mode of Morgan's own Nimbus recordings – and carried through with an equal amount of soul. Horace Tapscott joins the group on two numbers as well – before stepping over to lead his expanded Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra on the record's extra cut – a composition by Sharps that's entitled "McKowsky's First Fifth" – played by a great Nimbus-esque group that includes Adele Sebastian on flute, Sabia Mateen on tenor, Billie Harris on soprano, and Horace Tapscott on piano. Other titles on the album include "The Goat & The Ramjam", "As A Child", "Mike's Tune", "Macrame", and "Carnival" – and the whole set of tracks is easily one of the greatest recordings on the legendary Nimbus label! LP, Vinyl record album
Large-group genius from the legendary Horace Tapscott – one of the few recordings of his groundbreaking Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra! The music here is totally righteous right from the start – even more searching and soaring than Tapscott's trio or solo work – thanks to help from some of the hippest, most spiritual players on the LA scene of the late 70s – a lineup you'll recognize from other Nimbus Records sessions, all working together beautifully to realize the unique vision of Horace! Tracks are long, and feature Tapscott on piano, Jesse Sharps on saxes, Adele Sebastian on flute and vocals, Herbert Callies on alto, James Andrews on tenor, Lester Robertson on trombone, Kafi Larry Roberts on soprano, and Linda Hill on additional piano – all working together perfectly as a unified ensemble. There's a strong Strata East vibe to the whole record – and titles include "The Call", "Nakatini Suite", "Quagmire Manor At Five AM", and "Peyote Song III". LP, Vinyl record album
An excellent double-length set from Horace Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra – an extremely righteous ensemble that was one of the hippest things going on the LA jazz scene of the 70s! The vibe is free and spiritual, but it also has a wonderful groove pulsating underneath many of the tracks – that heir to the Impulse Records style that Tapscott and other Nimbus Records artists carried on well into the early 80s. The group here features some of Tapscott's Nimbus labelmates – including Sabir Matteen and Billy Harris on tenor saxes, Linda Hill on piano, Adele Sebastian on flute, Roberto Miranda on bass, and Jesse Sharps on soprano sax – and in a way, the album's almost a live summation of all the mighty talents brewing on the Nimbus label at the time! Tracks are all quite long, and titles include a great version of Sebastian's "Desert Fairy Princess", plus "Macrame", "Future Sally's Time", "Noissessprahs", "Village Dance", "LTT", and "Lift Every Voice". LP, Vinyl record album
(Please Note – This latest batch has a slightly dinged upper corner due to shipping.)
One of the most ambitious albums ever from pianist Horace Tapscott – a double-length set that has him working with a large lineup of underground musicians from the 70s Los Angeles scene – all united in spirit and power as the Pan-African Peoples Arkestra! Tapscott's piano directs the group strongly – as an extension of the vision that he brought to the late 60s Sonny's Dream album by Sonny Criss – but the music is freer, more spiritual, and often graced with bursts of ensemble energy, balanced by some really tremendous solos from other musicians too! The lineup includes some other key members of the Nimbus Records collective – including Jesse Sharps on saxes and flute, Linda Hill on piano, Adele Sebastian on flute, and Roberto Miranda on bass – and other players include James Andrews and Sabia Matteen on tenor, Archie Johnson and Lester Robertson on trombone, Billy Harris on soprano, Herbert Callies on alto clarinet, and Michael Session on alto. Titles include "Flight 17", "Breeze", "Horacio", "Clarice", and "Maui". This 2LP version features bonus material too – a great "Coltrane Medley", plus "Village Dance Revisited". LP, Vinyl record album
A sweet bit of Indo Jazz – but one that's quite different than the Joe Harriott experiments with the format in the 60s! Instead, this groove has more of a funky sitar feel – ala the Ravi Harris records from 20 years back – a tight funk combo with an electric sitar going all wild in the lead, taking a mighty nice solo before making room for a Hammond organ! 7-inch, Vinyl record