Soul Jazz Records new release Soul of a Nation: Jazz is the Teacher, Funk is the Preacher is a powerful collection of radical jazz, street funk and proto-rap made in the era of Black Power (1969-75).
This is the second Soul of a Nation album featuring ground-breaking African-American artists exploring new Afro-Centric poly-rhythmical styles of music alongside Black Power and civil-rights inspired notions of self-definition, self-respect and self-empowerment in their own lives. This new album features a number of important and ground - breaking African - American artists – The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Don Cherry, Funkadelic, Gil Scott - Heron and more – alongside a host of lesser - known artists all of whom in the early 1970s were exploring new Afro - Centric poly - rhythmical styles of music – radical jazz, street funk and proto - rap – while at the same time exploring the Black Power and civil - rights inspired notions of self - definition, self - respect and self - empowerment in their own lives.
During this era African - American jazz musicians ripped up traditional definitions – rejecting the term ‘en tertainer’ to redefine themselves instead as ‘artists’. They worked outside of the mainstream music industry perceiving this artistic relationship t o be fundamentally exploitative and politically flawed. Artists instead formed their own pan - arts community - centric collectives, set up their own record labels, ran concerts in alternative performance spaces – art galleries, parks, lofts, community centres – all as a way of taking control of their own creative destinies.
At the start of 1960s jazz musicians had embarked on an intense period of musical experimentation as artists John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry sought to dismantle the traditional definitions of jazz by creating new music that broke free from its establishment shackles.
By the end of t he 1960s and into the 1970s, forward - thinking African - American jazz musicians had absorbed the ideas of this radical and avant - garde path but also began to introduce many new elements – not just civil rights concepts of freedom but also black power ideas o f self - respect, righteousness and anger. Their music developed into a radical and intense Afro - Centric mix of jazz, funk, soul, and street poetry all in search of a new musical language that could better represent artistic African - American cultural express ion.
All of the featured artists here were involved in this search in different ways; a shared sense of Afro - centric collectivism joined the dots between the deep avant - garde experimentalism of The Art Ensemble of Chicago (here featuring soul singer Fontel la Bass singing the powerful ‘Theme de Yoyo’) to the hyper - funk psychedelia of George Clinton’s Funkadelic. The poetry of Gil Scott - Heron and Sarah Webster Fabio is performed with a backdrop of street funk and heavyweight percussion – in the process laying down the template for the birth of rap. The Har - You Percussion Group, which grew of a government - sponsored community project in Harlem in the 1960s, connect latin, jazz and funk rhythms; Byron Morris and Unity offer an intense and rhythmical journey. Jame s Mason, Gary Bartz and The Oneness of Juju offer spirituality and cosmology in equ al measures. Chicago’s The Phar a o hs and Detroit’s collective Tribe add deep jazz and street funk in equal measures. And more besides!
The front cover features a painting by Barkley Hendricks, a central artist in the exhibition ‘Soul of A Nation – Art in the Age of Black Power’. This album is available as heavyweight triple vinyl (+free download), full and extensive text, exclusive photography and house inners, and deluxe CD with slipcase and large booklet.
|1||Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Theme De Yoyo|
|2||The Har-You Percussion Group – Welcome To The Party|
|3||The Pharaohs – Damballa|
|4||Baby Huey – Hard Times|
|5||James Mason – Sweet Power Your Embrace|
|1||Byron Morris and Unity – Kitty Bey|
|2||Funkadelic – Nappy Dugout|
|3||Rashied Ali & Frank Lowe – Exchange Part 2 (II)|
|4||Gary Bartz NTU Troop – Celestial Blues|
|5||Oneness Of Juju – Space Jungle Funk|
|1||Sarah Webster Fabio – Work It Out|
|2||Tribe (Wendell Harrison & Phillip Ranelin) – Beneficent|
|3||Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On The Moon|
|4||Don Cherry – Brown Rice|