Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Albert Heath - 1973 - Kawaida

Albert Heath 

01. Baraka
02. Maulana
03. Kawaida
04. Dunia
05. Kamili

Don Cherry: Trumpet
Billy Bonner: Flute & Percussion (#Kawaida)
Jimmy Heath: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone
Herbie Hancock: Piano
Buster Williams: Bass
Albert "Tootie" Heath: Drums
Ed Blackwell: Bells & Percussion
Mtume: Congas

A landmark album in the in the history of post Civil Rights movement jazz. This album was the concept of James Mtume, in spreading the teachings of Maulana Karenga's Kawaida philosophy. Part of the US Organisation, James Mtume would hang out in Shelly Manne's venue, spreading the work of Kawaida to the musicians there. He eventually, as a total unknown, managed to convince Herbie Hancock, Don Cherry, Buster Willams, Ed Blackwell, his father Jimmy Heath and Uncle Albert Heath to make this album. Albert Heath acquired the recording contract, which is the only reason this majority penned Mtume album was not credited to himself. Mtume wanted the album to be modal jazz, and not bop or free, as he insisted that modal was the only truly Black jazz. Albert Heath later admitted that they didn't take Mtume's message too seriously, and he was the only member of the band who genuinely had converted to the Kawaida philosophy.  They did all allow him to give them non slave names, a practice of Kawaida, and Albert Heath and Herbie Hancock held on to theirs for other recordings they made.

Apart form the Albert Heath penned track "Dunia", this is a truly beautiful Afrocentric modal jazz album. I really can't recommend this album enough if you like a strong Black element to the jazz you listen to.



  2. All I needed to see was Herbie Hancock playing modal jazz.
    Thank you very much!

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