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Jazz - Verschenen op 30 oktober 2020 | Strut

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Gone—or more likely just moved into a higher orbit—since 1993, Herman "Sonny" Blount, aka Sun Ra, began life as a musical prodigy and doo-wop devotee before he fashioned an inimitable personal and musical mythology. With a showman's eye for outlandish Egyptian-themed capes and headdresses, he inhabited the roles of Nubian avatar, Space Age visionary from Saturn, and experimental and prolific jazz storyteller, who wrote primarily for piano, sticks and reeds in a number of musical contexts, none more celebrated than his Arkestra. Now led by original member, 96-year-old alto player Marshall Allen, the 15-piece Arkestra has released their first album in 20 years. Recorded in Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Studios by Peter Tramo who captures the band's mélange of sound in decent detail and separation, the aptly-titled Swirling, has nothing in common with the tired retreads of the zombie big bands still alive under the Ellington and Basie names, nor the modern impressionistic splashings of the current big band revival of Darcy James Argue or John Hollenbeck. Inspired by Ra's layered, blues-based large ensemble jazz, Swirling is a greatest hits revisitation into the magical music, methods and madness of this otherworldly maestro. As astral as Ra's uplifting "equations" can be, his art is always grounded in earthly rhythms as in the '70s era composition, "Sea of Darkness / Darkness" which opens with a cappella voices chanting/singing before giving way to the pulsing ebb and flow of the baritone sax. This melds into a perky, deep funk version of Ra's trip-to-Venus groove, "Rocket No. 9." Afro-Cuban rhythms, accented with the late Stanley "Atakatune" Morgan's congas, sax skronking from Allen, and a final, loud goodbye kiss make "Angels and Demons at Play" a highlight. Embodying a smoother tone, a steady cymbal beat and a more traditional notion of band sections playing together (albeit atonally) is the Allen-penned title track which features the hop-skip-jump piano joyousness of Farid Barron, a played-it-straight solo by tenor player James Stewart and singer Tara Middleton scatting. Carrying on the legacy of original Arkestra vocalist/oracle June Tyson, Middleton who joined in 2012, shines best in opener "The Satellites Are Spinning / Lights on a Satellite," where she gives full voice to Ra's hopeful poetry: "The satellites are spinning/ A better day is breaking/ The galaxies are waiting/ For planet Earth's awakening." Equally compelling, horn flutters and twinkling piano keys imitate a spinning Sputnik while a wheezing, rhythmic drone underpins this classic example of the Arkestra's ragged charms. While the vibe here seems routinely loose, a jam session full of tossed off ideas and instrumental flourishes lurching towards cacophony, it's actually a universe forming, a cyclonic testament to the continuing power of Ra's positive vision that creativity and enlightenment are as limitless as the cosmic mysteries of space. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Electronic - Verschenen op 28 oktober 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 14 oktober 2020 | Strut

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Electronic - Verschenen op 7 oktober 2020 | Strut

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Wereldmuziek - Verschenen op 30 september 2020 | Strut

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 21 september 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 15 september 2020 | Strut

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Electronic - Verschenen op 2 september 2020 | Strut

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 14 augustus 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 12 augustus 2020 | Strut

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 7 augustus 2020 | Strut

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Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids all have long histories prior to the groups initial formation in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1972. The inspired playing of the lead saxophonist and Margo Simmons’ flute, as well as the Pyramids’ libertarian grooves, detail the freedom and unification of black people. With their American afro-jazz roots and support since the beginning from poet and pianist (and pioneer of free-jazz) Cecil Taylor, to whom they pay homage in Theme for Cecil, the group champions a joyous Pan-Africanism. With timeless jazz, Funk Noir, a nod towards Fela Afrobeat (Shaman !), an allusion to Ethio-Jazz (Eternity), and a mention of the Dogon people (Dogon Mysteries), their music traverses oceans and consciousness with serenity. Separated for thirty-five years, they resumed their mission in 2012. Shaman ! is the third episode since their rebirth and, as shown in The Last Slave Ship which addresses the transportation of their ancestors on the last slave ship from Africa, their message hasn’t changed. Their quest for identity translates to music that is eternally current, frank and melodic, nostalgic and joyous, but always free and liberating. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 30 juli 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 22 juli 2020 | Strut

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 17 juli 2020 | Strut

Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Verschenen op 17 juli 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 15 juli 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 3 juli 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 25 juni 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 19 juni 2020 | Strut

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Jazz - Verschenen op 10 juni 2020 | Strut