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Idle Moments

Horace Tapscott - The Call

Horace Tapscott - The Call

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The Call is a four track delight of fierce and full on and spiritual jazz from the pioneering conductor, arranger, pianist and composer at the heart of the helm of the 16-piece ensemble the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. It represents an important part of Afro-American history. Having grown-up in the deeply segregated city of Houston, Texas, Horace Tapscott relocated to LA when Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Cecil Taylor all lived and worked there. In 1961 he set-up the long standing community orchestra, the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, an independent black arts organisation comprised of musicians, poets, dancers and painters from the Watts area. They aimed to preserve, develop and publicise African-American music through the ever-growing family that emanated within many of the deprived areas of Los Angeles. The name was inspired by Sun Ra Arkestra, but whereas Ra’s Arkestra was linking to the cosmos, Tapscott’s referred to the ark of the Bible and collectivism. Through his dedication to the Los Angeles grassroots projects Tapscott focused on building a community and became a neighbourhood hero; his life and politics meant that he remained firmly outside the mainstream. He and his Arkestra shaped a deep and unique sound, extremely fierce and powerful, like a cross between the Sun Ra Arkestra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Members of the Arkestra over the years have included such talented musicians as Azar Lawrence, Arthur Blythe, Phil Ranelin, Leon Thomas and Dwight Trible. The Call was recorded in 1978 when Tapscott began releasing a series of albums on the independent labels Nimbus and Interplay. The four songs on this album flow with a creative spirit that jumps at you with each and every listen. On ‘Quagmire Manor at 5am’ the vocalist Adele Sebastian opens and closes the free probing arrangement with a similar delivery as on ‘Day Dream’ from her classic Desert Fairy Princess album before the music takes off onto the mothership. The ceremonial ‘Peyete Song no. III’ is a great swirling evocative piece from the large collective, with amazing solos from everyone and especially Horace Tapscott on the piano. The arrangement airs an important message of a people and their rituals. Be warned: this is powerful music that requires full attention as it needs to be felt and listened loud.

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