Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Be Known; Ancient/Future/Music (Spiritmuse Records)

 |   |  <1 min read

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Be Known; Ancient/Future/Music (Spiritmuse Records)

At a time when some young jazz musicians are reaching back to the project of black American spiritual and political jazz for their platform, it's thrilling that this long-running outfit steered by Chicago percussion player Kahil El'Zabar delivers an album as emotional and as powerful as this.

Located somewhere between the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra, the Revolutionary Ensemble, Albert Ayler and others who advanced the project of free jazz and collective playing in the Seventies, this is deeply grounded with terrific energy from baritone saxophonist Alex Harding, trumpeter Corey Wilkes and cellist Ian Maksin.

There's a yearning on Little Sunflower (dedicated to trumpeter Roy Hargrove who died last year, a later version of the same is for Freddie Hubbard) and a more vigorous workout on Blew It (for Hamiet Bluiett).

There is also Pharoah (for Mr Sanders) and Ntozake is a lament for Ntozake Shange, the black feminist writer who also died last year.

With touches of funk, a hint of West Africa and the ambition of the ancestors cited, this is as excellent album which, while grounded in the past, seems utterly contemporary given the success of Kamasi Washington, The Comet is Coming, Sons of Kemet and others.

You can hear it at Spotify here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

Pianist Vijay Iyer is not one to undersell himself and is certainly a genuinely intellectual guy but, as Elsewhere noted previously, you shouldn't let that come between you and his music.... > Read more

GREGORY PORTER INTERVIEWED (2014): Grammy jazz gentle giant

GREGORY PORTER INTERVIEWED (2014): Grammy jazz gentle giant

Gregory Porter is a big man with a soft voice. The former linebacker from San Diego slipped sideways into music with the assistance of a mentor Kamau Kenyatta, got a part on Broadway in the cast... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WINGS: RED ROSE SPEEDWAY, CONSIDERED (2018): The malaise or just lazy?

WINGS: RED ROSE SPEEDWAY, CONSIDERED (2018): The malaise or just lazy?

For every person who loves Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre there is another who couldn't hate it more. For everyone who loves With a Little Luck there is me. McCartney's most popular songs... > Read more

5 FLIGHTS UP, a film by RICHARD LONCRAINE

5 FLIGHTS UP, a film by RICHARD LONCRAINE

When, about 12 years ago, I bought the modest townhouse I'm in, I went through what is called a “blind auction”. For those who don't know what this... > Read more