Salvation (Act III: Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand)
Theme For Cecil
Virgin (Act IV: 400 Years: The Clotilda)
The Last Slave Ship
Review: Those familiar with the catalogue of Idris Ackabor and the Pyramids will tell you that there's always been something special about the long-serving band's inspired blend of spiritual jazz, space-age sounds, Afro-jazz and extra-percussive polyrhythms. Even so, new album "Shaman!" is particularly awe-inspiring. Constructed as a four-act musical journey stretched across two slabs of wax, it adds a wealth of intriguing additional musical ingredients (think dubby soul-jazz, Afrobeat, jazz-rock and free-jazz) to their already highly seasoned sound soup with predictably tasty results. It takes a few listens to really get to grips with (there's a lot going on, despite the set's obvious accessibility), but it's such a good album that you'll want to fully immerse yourself as many times as possible.
Review: The 27th reissue in Jazzman's ongoing "Holy Grail Series" comes courtesy of Infinite Spirit Music, an undeniably obscure, one-off project helmed by pianist, producer and arranger Soji Ade. "Live Without Fear" was recorded in 1979 and tops the "wants list" of many spiritual jazz collectors, thanks largely to the album's superb fusion of African rhythms, soul-flecked jazz workouts, free improvisation and tribal percussion. This first ever CD edition sounds fantastic. It's hard not to fall in love with the heady bongos, rich double bass and snaking saxophone of "Children's Song", the gentle warmth of "Rasta" and the Afro-fired, tribalistic free-jazz experiments of "Ritual" and "Father Spirit, Mother Love".
Review: After the wild revelations of the first Irreversible Entanglements album back in 2017, this vital new force in jazz and beat poetry returns to International Anthem with a new set. Once again the interplay between the players and lyricist Camae Ayewa is electric, not least on the fraught title track. The subject matter weighs heavy but all too familiar - racial tension and inequality in America given an urgent voice by Ayewa, and perfectly accented by Keir Neuringer's saxophone, Aquiles Navarro's trumpet, Luke Stewart's double bass and Tcheser Holmes drums. This is essential stuff, both in message and in sound.