on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 18 Jun


von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments


Ladies and gentlemen, you‘re floating through space, always. This is not a mindset, this is sheer physics. Nevertheless, being a dog-loving pagean, I do have much love for all those bangers on the doors of perception who found their ways in, with meditation, esoterics, and the power of musics. So, the August edition of MOJO (Uwe will be happy) contains an interstellar list of so-called spiritual jazz. Part of the charts, on No. 2, is Don Cherry‘s „Brown Rice“ which I played extensively during my last radio night. Mojo says: „In the wake of John Coltrane’s passing, former collaborator and band member Cherry recorded a series of albums that continued his mentor’s legacy, crafting a chaotic, beautiful sound that blended African rhythms and Eastern gamelan percussion with free jazz improvisation. However, this mid-’70s recording, which utilises the framework of Miles Davis’s otherworldly spacejazz, is arguably the most satisfying place to start. Bookended by two eerie, motorik-funk incantations – Cherry’s hypnotic vocal whisper floating over squealing toy trumpet spirals and oily electric bass – the LP explores African, Indian, and Arabic polyrhythms, in trippy shamanic spells that pull you into a bubble of mysterious calm.“ Well said, guys. This is really a record that sends you places. Other „astral stuff“ comes from Joe Henderson, Alice Coltrane, Larry Young, Roland Kirk, Herbie Hancock a.o. Far away from being „historical“, this music is still crazy (and mind-bending) after all these years and will  never be losing its deep emotional impact, as long as you are open for a state of wonder. Ladies and gentlemen, you‘re floating through space. Al Reinert‘s documentary on the Apollo 9-mission,  „For All Mankind“, will be reissued before the end of month, and might be an ideal travel companion. A lot of drifting, and Brian‘s „Apollo“ part of the surround mix.

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  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    You see that Roland Kirk cover? Right, that album is quite a rarity. In October, I wanna do a whole hour on the thrills of spiritual jazz, and hopefully there is someone out there who can borrow me his vinyl, or burn a cd for me. No fear to use compression: real magic always shines through.

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    „THERE ARE numerous tributaries of spiritual jazz, but only one true source: John Coltrane’s 1965 album, A Love Supreme.

    With the advent of the 1960s, the Carolina-born saxophonist, along with many other African-American jazz musicians, began pushing against the formal constraints of the genre, and the cultural influence of ‘cool jazz’, which favoured luminous deliberation over be-bop’s force and speed.

    With albums such as Africa/Brass and “Live” At The Village Vanguard, Coltrane drew on his cultural roots – gospel and Africa – and the free jazz improvisations of Ornette Coleman to create a new sound of tumult and upheaval, that sought out the transcendent and the divine.

    Recorded over two days in December 1964, with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison, A Love Supreme is a work of spiritual awakening, that moves from meditative chant to untethered epiphany and solemn resolution.

    Adopted as a cry of liberation during the year of the Watts Riots, A Love Supreme also inspired other black musicians to draw on their heritage, whether it be Africa, the Southern baptist church, or the music and religion of the East.

    “…wild improvisation, hypnotic African rhythms, ragalike drones…”

    Initially dubbed, “The New Thing”, with its eclectic blend of wild improvisation, hypnotic African rhythms, raga-like drones and often lo-firecording, this fresh jazz sound was met with hostility by critics and sent practitioners underground.

    Amazingly, we received a list of over 300 readers’ recommendations on social media. In narrowing that down to 10 long-playing gateway drugs for spiritual jazz, we’ve inevitably excluded masterpieces. We’ve held over more incendiary Black Power recordings (Archie Shepp, Eddie Gale, etc), and others that would suit an Astral Jazz How To Buy (so long, Sun Ra), and sought out single-artist recordings by big names and lesser players that best capture the vast, rhythmic, chaotic, joyful, and mystical power of spiritual jazz at its finest. Prepare thyself to deal with a miracle.„


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