01. Samba De Unity 5:08
02. Iron Band Dance 7:17
03. Red Pearl 8:15
04. Giant Steps 4:16
05. Aldon B. 5:59
06. Eddie A. 6:47
07. Genevieve 11:24
Bass – Bob Cranshaw (tracks: A2 to B3) Buster Williams (track A1)
Drums – Al Foster (tracks: A1, A3, B1, B2), Eddie Moore (tracks: A2, A4, B3)
Guitar – Roland Prince
Keyboards – Kenny Barron (tracks: A1, A3 to B3)
Percussion – Al Chalk (tracks: A2 to B3), Thomas Nicholas (tracks: A1)
Saxophone – Frank Foster (tracks: B3 to B3)
Trumpet – Virgil Jones (tracks: A3, B1 to B3), Randy Brecker (tracks: A2)
Flute - Joe Farrell (tracks: A1)
Piano - John Hicks (tracks: A2)
Steel Drum - Al Jardine (tracks: A2)
I don’t claim to be an authority on jazz, Elvin Jones, or even Roland, though I did enjoy his music Song of Roland and have had the opportunity to interview him and his wife, Calypso Val, whose music he produced. The first interview was about his extensive journeying as a jazz man and on hearing of his untimely, much too early at age 69, passing on July 16th 2016, I tried to dig it up so that I could share it here with you. But it was at least two computer crashes in the rear view and, unless I can dig through the Daily Observer archives for a hard copy, lost to me. I interviewed him for part of a series of interviews with Antiguan and Barbudan artistic masters that I called Vintage – his sister Althea Prince was also included in that series.
I say all of that to say that Roland is gone and I feel inadequate to the task of documenting why his art and life mattered – feeling keenly the absence of Tim Hector’s encyclopedic awareness of such things; people think of him and his Fan the Flame column as political commentary but for me what was particularly appealing about it was his coverage and insight as related to Antiguan and Barbudan art and culture. I do what I can here and have in other places I’ve written but there was a knowledge-base stored in Tim’s head that I don’t have.
Roland Prince (born January 1st 1946) was a jazz soloist, sideman, and ultimately bandleader – if you’ve been to Antigua, and dined at places like Russell’s and O.J.’s you’ve heard him play with Val, with the Roland Prince Quartet. The last time I heard him play live was a couple of years ago at the Watch Night dinner – Watch Night, on the eve of August Monday, right in the heat of Carnival, is the night set aside to honour the ancestors, symbolically, on the night they stepped from bondage to freedom in 1834. Roland lectured, I don’t know how else to think of it, as he played, and I remember being struck by his mastery of his instrument – he was on the keyboard that night – and his well-deep knowledge of music history.
It hits me, not for the first time, thinking of this, how under-utilized he (many of our master artistes, because I’m thinking master classes, really) are by the powers that be – how unheralded by them and us, to some degree, even in death.
Roland’s wikepedia discography lists 1977’s Color Vision with Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Al Foster, Bob Cranshaw and others – whose names I’m dropping by the way because the jazz folk will know who they are; 1972’s Senyah with Roy Haynes and Lean on Me with Shirley Scott; 1991’s Black & Black with David Murray; 1973’s Life is Round with Columbia Records jazz fusion ensemble Compost; and 1971’s Awareness with Buddy Terry. Then, of course, there is his extensive list of recordings with Elvin Jones:
New Agenda (Vanguard, 1975)
Mr. Thunder (EastWest, 1975)
Summit Meeting (Vanguard, 1976) with James Moody, Clark Terry and Bunky Green
Remembrance (MPS, 1978)
Elvin Jones Music Machine (Mark Levison, 1978)
Live in Japan 1978: Dear John C. (Trio (Japan), 1978)
Elvin Jones Jazz Machine Live in Japan Vol. 2 (Trio (Japan), 1978)
Roland was one of a small handful of Antiguan and Barbudan musicians whose musicianship landed them a place with world class bands – the short list of these I’ve been fortunate to interview includes people like Dell Richardson of Osibisa, Calvin Fuzz Samuels who played with Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Rico Anthony who was the original drummer for Arrow’s multinational band, and, of course, Roland who played with Elvin Jones’ band.
(Most of this was shamelessly copied from HERE)