AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Horace Tapscott & the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra – Ancestral Echoes: The Covina Sessions 1976 [Dark Tree Records DT(RS)13]

In January of 1976 pianist/composer Horace Tapscott brought the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra into the Audiotronics Recording Studios in Covina, California. Tapscott had been leading the Los Angeles-based orchestra since the early 1960s; as with the Sun Ra ensemble, the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra had a communal house where Tapscott and many of its members lived. Before 1976 the Arkestra had tried, largely without success, to make a studio recording. While the Covina sessions weren’t without their problems, the recordings that emerged, four of which are collected on this album, document an ensemble playing solid compositions with vigor.

The group that recorded in 1976 comprised over twenty musicians, many of whom were young players who joined after some of the founding members left to go on to pursue careers in New York and elsewhere. The exuberance of much of the music in this set may have been a consequence of the ensemble’s youthfulness as well as of the openings each composition left for expansive soloing.

Two of the compositions are Tapscott’s. The title track was originally one part of a four-part piano concerto he was commissioned to write in 1975 for the Watts Community Symphony Orchestra. It opens with a dramatic reading by the poet Kamau Daaood and develops into an asymmetrical yet swinging rhythm supporting solos by Tapscott and trumpeter Steven Smith and soprano saxophonist Jesse Sharps. The minor-key Sketches of Drunken Mary, another Tapscott composition, has an off-kilter swagger and brooding, descending melody arranged with an emphasis on the low brass. Alto saxophonist Michael Session and flautist Aubrey Hart provide energetic solos. Jo Annette, composed by alto saxophonist Guido Sinclair, a founding member of the group who’d since moved on, is an altered blues that features solos by tenor saxophonist Charles Chandler and Wendell C. Williams on french horn. The closing piece is the twenty-seven-minute-long Eternal Egypt Suite, an epic four-part composition by tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq that features a lovely, atmospheric flute introduction by Adele Sebastian.

Dark Tree have done a fine job of presenting the music, which comes packaged with a well-illustrated booklet featuring the recollections of several of the musicians who participated in the sessions.

Daniel Barbiero

Performances Releases Reviews

DMG Newsletter March 20th, 2009

Releases, reviews and in store performances from DMG.

Finally The Henry Cow Box-Set in Stock This Monday!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Four New Discs from Tzadik: Bill Laswell Solo, Guy Klucevsek Quint & Greg Wall‘s Later Prophets, 2 from Gunter Hampel, Radio I-Ching, Alan Licht Solo LP, Reut Regev R*Time, Capece & Vaino, 4 from Martin Philadelphy, Horace Tapscott, Gottschalk & Jacquemyn, Adventures in Sound w/ Xenakis, Stockhausen & Schaeffer, Charlemagne Palestine & Christoph Heemann and even more…


1st Free In-Store Performance at our New Location:

MONDAY (not Sunday), March 23rd at 7pm:

Herb on trumpets & Tim on alto sax!
Two early downtown horn heroes back together after all those years!

and JUST ADDED, our 2nd Free Instore show:

Sunday, March 29th at 7pm:

Frank on alto sax & clarinets and Thomas on trumpet!
Two European Horn Giants in a rare, intimate, duo setting!

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Sabir Mateen at RUCMA


Sabir Mateen
Wednesday, November 12 @ 8:00 pm
Yippie Café: 9 Bleecker Street, near Bowery
General Admission: $10
Students and Seniors: $7

Sabir Mateen (saxophone)
Larry Roland (bass)
Michael Wimberly (drums)

Famed for his performances in the New York City subway system with the free jazz quartet Test, Sabir Mateen plays a passionate yet nuanced tenor as his main instrument but is equally comfortable on alto sax, clarinet, and flute. Mateen is capable of raw, all-out explosion but frequently displays a wide dynamic range and a subtler side and sometimes leans toward melodic free-bop. A native of Philadelphia, Mateen made his first recordings on the West Coast with pianist Horace Tapscott‘s Pan African People’s Arkestra. In 1989, Mateen relocated to New York with prompting from legendary drummer Sunny Murray and spent the next few years paying his dues on the avant-garde scene. In 1995, he recorded the duo album Getting Away With Murderwith drummer Tom Bruno. Mateen’s other notable side engagements included work with the Raphe Malik Quartet, the trio Tenor Rising, Drums Expanding with Daniel Carter and David Nuss. In 1997, Mateen led his own trio on a session for Eremite, the well-received Divine Mad Love. The following year, he teamed with Sunny Murray for We Are Not at the Opera. His latest release on Nu-Bop Records, Other Places Other Spaces (2008) features Raymond King, Jane Wang, and Ravish Momin.

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