Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mtume Umoja Ensemble - Alkebu-Lan

As most of us are spending many of our evenings and weekends scrambling to find gifts for our family members and loved ones, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a track from a record I received as a gift a little less than a year ago. Last February my amazing wife bought me a used copy of Mtume Umoja Ensemble's very rare Alkebu-Lan - Land Of The Blacks (Live At The East) LP. I had my eye on this record, which was displayed on the wall at one of the San Francisco record shops for a little over a month. When our anniversary rolled around, me and my wife decided to keep it light on gifts since, at the time, we were a little low on money. Our anniversary came and went with us both sticking to the plan of keeping it low-key on gifts, even though she admitted that if she had the funds, she would buy me the Mtume record which by the way went for an appropriate $200.00 (in my opinion). Well, long story short, a short time after she surprised me with this record to my absolute shock after she saved up the the money. It was definitely one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Onto the record…

Alkebu-Lan - Land Of The Blacks (Live At The East) was a live record released by Strata-East back in 1972 that featured a Mtume led ensemble featuring, at the time, some of jazz music's most forward thinking musicians including Gary Bartz, Stanley Cowell, Buster Williams, Leroy Jenkins, Carlos Garnett and many others. This album captures Mtume playing during his early recording career when he was known more for contributing as a percussionist on many spiritual jazz records rather than producing popular boogie hits, as he became later known more for during the eighties. Overall, Alkebu-Lan is a powerful, energetic, yet spiritual recording that features heavy rhythms, vocal chants and freeform solos. It definitely one of those records that makes more sense to listen to from start to finish rather than listening to random selected tracks. A powerful record that captures the essence of the type of groundbreaking records Strata-East was releasing during this time.

Mtume Umoja Ensemble - Utamu

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