Kirk Lightsey & Rudolph Johnson with The All-Stars —
Habiba ... LP Gallo/Outernational (UK), 1974. New Copy (reissue)...
Maybe the hippest record ever issued by pianist Kirk Lightsey – in part because the set was issued on a South African label, and also because it features tremendous work from saxophonist Rudolph Johnson – who you'll know for his two classic 70s albums on the Black Jazz imprint! The setting is maybe most in the mode of Johnson at his best – long tracks that spin out and really take their time to develop – not outside or avant, but also not more familiar spiritual jazz either – as there's this special, soulful balance that really keeps things interesting – as Lightsey plays electric piano, Johnson handles tenor and flute – and the rest of the group features Danny Cortez on trumpet, Delbert Hill on bass clarinet, Al Hall on trombone, and Charles Mallory on guitar. Side one features the long title track – the beautiful "Habiba" – balanced by the beautiful tune "Here It Is" and the funkier "Fresh Air" – both on side two. 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
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
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