Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82 (Soul Jazz Records 219)

Various Artists – Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82
2009 Soul Jazz Records

I apologize for my absence during these challenging times of turmoil.  The truth is I am exhausted by everything happening in the world, but not anywhere near as exhausted as my black friends, especially those in the United States.  I feel like those who know me, know where I stand. I had at least wanted to make a short blog post in solidarity with Juneteenth, a commemoration connected to the slow-traveling news about the abolition of slavery to certain parts of the Confederacy – a historical detail that should not surprise anybody who’s been paying attention, since there are still plenty of places in Amerikkka that seem like they still haven’t got the memo.  But I couldn’t find anything to say that wasn’t being said better by others, and although I believe it is true that silence is complicity, I also believe that one of the most important tasks for allies right now is to know when to shut up and listen.  And I know I’m not alone in feeling queasy about the corporate-sponsored “branding” of solidarity with a centuries-old struggle.  How long before we start seeing Amazon running Juneteenth promotional sales — 75% price reductions on gas masks to help you face all that tear gas and pepper spray!  How long before ‘big box’ stores rebrand Black Friday with BLM imagery (but please, no looting! Amerikkkans want law and order… for some).

The world is saturated with “content” made by “creators” right now, but I think what we really need is more substance.  So I’ve been staying busy away from the internet.  I have been wanting to make a post about another album, Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti’s excellent “Liberation Narratives” from 2017, but that one merits a bit more description than I can muster right now.

Instead I offer up this compilation from Soul Jazz Records, which has a title that sounds like an academic monograph, and whose content is not nearly as politically edgy as that title would imply.  But it does offer a very accessible sampling of the variety of left-field, avant-garde, soul jazz, and Afrocentric jazz funk from the time period covered.  It consists of shorter tracks or edits, and makes for an engaging listening experience.  Many or most of the artists will be at least somewhat familiar to all but the most casual jazz fans, but there are plenty of rarities too.  On release, the vinyl came with a book that had notes by label founder Stuart Baker and ubiquitous crate-digger Gilles Peterson, a book I don’t have and probably would never get around to reading if I did.  But there is plenty of music here to edify the body, mind, and spirit for an afternoon during these days of collective reckoning and reflection.

Oliver Lake/NTU – Africa (10:48)
Stanton Davis’ Ghetto/Mysticism – Space-A-Nova (4:48)
Steve Colson & The Unity Troupe –  Lateen (8:31)
Mary Lou Williams – Miss D.D. (2:27)
Joe Henderson – Foregone Conclusion (4:55)
Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Old Time Religion (7:37)
Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble – The African Look (3:32)
Gary Bartz NTU Troop – The Drinking Song (5:14)
Pheeroan Ak Laff – 3 In 1 (6:19)
The Hastings Street Jazz Experience – Yes Lord (5:01)
Gato Barbieri & Dollar Brand – 81st Street (8:37)
Ralph Thomas – Big Spliff (5:54)
Archie Shepp – Attica Blues (4:47)
Horace Tapscott & The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra – Peyote Song No. III (7:07)
Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra – Nuclear War (7:42)
Joe McPhee & John Snyder – Shadow Sculptures (3:35)
Errol Parker – Street Ends (8:10)
Amina Claudine Myers – 3/4’s Of 4/4 (5:13)
The Pharaohs -Freedom Road (5:51)
Edward Larry Gordon – All Pervading (2:32)


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8 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this!

  2. Oops just a heads up! : The Flac download is actually Almir Guineto – Almir Guineto (1986)

  3. great one!
    the link to the flac is still broken, but if you remove the ‘h’ before http its fixed!

    • Funny because it was missing an “h” this morning. I believe the proliferation of superfluous letters in web addresses can be directly correlated with the record high temperatures in Siberia this weekend. Prove me wrong!

  4. Great looking compilation, much appreciated.

  5. Thanks again. loving this compilation!

  6. The book is mostly album covers so you aren’t really missing out on anything.

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