Recommend Me Some Good Afro Jazz Albums, Plz

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People need to post more here! Here's a couple of finds recently (I haven't listened carefully to all of these yet):

Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble - Drum Dance to the Motherland
Khan Jamal Quintet - Balafon Dance (only some tracks)
Chico Freeman - Kings of Mali
The Ensemble Al-Salaam - The Sojourner

And there's also this mix of spiritual jazz, some of which is relevant:

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:04 (one year ago) Permalink

^^^possibly the greatest compilation ever imo

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:08 (one year ago) Permalink

wow that looks great

sleeve, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:10 (one year ago) Permalink

I just discovered that there's a second volume!

It's unfortunately split up into separate files.

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:12 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh, and with regard to the first volume, the tracklist is posted below in the comments without any time markers. Long ago, I recorded a few time markers for things I recognized (I'd likely recognize more now). But here's what I had, in case it helps to identify other stuff (key: "hour:minutes"):

Elvin Jones Love Supreme (~0:38-0:44 minutes in)
Roy Brooks and the Artistic Truth Black Survival (~4:29)
John Coltrane Om (4:51)
Pharoah Sanders: Red, Black & Green (~6:12)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme, Pt. 1 Acknowledgment (6:34-6:35)
Pharaoh Sanders Prince of Peace (8:58-9:05)

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:20 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah over 24 hours of music, over half of which I can't identify since matching up the track listings provided is m/l impossible

but it's insanely great, I dip into it all the time


Οὖτις, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:22 (one year ago) Permalink

I forgot to mention this blog that I discovered:

It has that Khan Jamal Balafon Dance album.

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:24 (one year ago) Permalink

Drummer Eric Harland is leading a really hot band for two nights at the Jazz Standard next week - Walter Smith III on tenor sax, Taylor Eigsti on piano, Harish Raghavan on bass. (Both Smith and Raghavan also play in Ambrose Akinmusire's band.) I'm hoping to catch one of their sets.

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:51 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh, I should update about seeing Ambrose Akinmusire: fantastic! It was all stuff from the live album. The only weakness really is the piano player, which also struck me with the live album. He certainly fits well at times, but his soloing and accompaniment often didn't seem to gel or just seemed a little like he's fresh out of music school. Everyone else was great. Akinmusire is a really sensitive player, for lack of a better description.

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 18:58 (one year ago) Permalink

ive enjoyed a lot of what i've heard from akinmusire

marcos, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 19:11 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh, I meant to post that in the Rolling Jazz thread, as it doesn't really fit in here!

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 2 August 2017 19:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, my post is also in the wrong thread.

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 2 August 2017 19:49 (one year ago) Permalink

good link regardless!

sleeve, Thursday, 3 August 2017 00:27 (one year ago) Permalink

I can't believe I didn't think of this one until just now, but Cannonball Adderley's Accent On Africa is perhaps a bit campy, but still totally great.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Sunday, 6 August 2017 15:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Also, surely Sun Ra has something relevant to this.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Monday, 7 August 2017 02:44 (one year ago) Permalink


what is interesting about sun ra is the extent to which he is influenced by exotica and the esoteric societies of WWI era birmingham, i.e. a fake or imagined africa

the late great, Monday, 7 August 2017 02:49 (one year ago) Permalink

tbf there is a lot of stuff on this thread whose connection to africa is more thematic than musical

the late great, Monday, 7 August 2017 02:52 (one year ago) Permalink

for example: art ensemble, pharaoh sanders, khan jamal etc

i don't think erratic free jazz drumming on african drums is sufficient to establish afro jazz credentials

and i totally don't understand how coltrane fits into this, ditto sunny murray, cannonball, elvin, etc aside from song titles

i say this not to be some sort of gatekeeper for Afro jazz but just to point out that it means something specific (to me anyway) and applying it willy bully does a bit of a disservice to a group like oneness of juju or idris ackamoors pyramids who feature legit African rhythms and chants

the late great, Monday, 7 August 2017 02:59 (one year ago) Permalink

haha Willy bully should be Willy nilly

the late great, Monday, 7 August 2017 02:59 (one year ago) Permalink

Louis Moholo and Dudu Pukwana are mentioned above, but the whole universe of music that came out of The Blue Notes and their coterie is amazing. The Blue Notes recordings themselves are basically mid-60s Afro bop, and they're great, but after they moved to England they all did so many different things: Brotherhood of Breath, Spear, Assagai, Harry Miller's Isipingo and the totally essential "Blue Notess for Mongezi." Just a remarkable constellation of players, exploring a wide range of stuff and bringing South African influences into all kinds of settings.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 7 August 2017 02:59 (one year ago) Permalink

(I am no kind of Afro jazz specialist, but I got into Brotherhood of Breath some years back and started pulling on that string and it led to all of this other stuff I couldn't believe I'd never heard of.)

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 7 August 2017 03:00 (one year ago) Permalink

i guess i am just echoing shakey's point up thread about aeoc here but i felt like it should be made again

the late great, Monday, 7 August 2017 03:01 (one year ago) Permalink

I've never really quite thought of the category "Afro Jazz" before, so I've been questioning myself a lot when going through different material. And I've even done some retrospective questioning about some of what I suggested about, e.g., Khan Jamal. I've also listened to the Chico Freeman album I recommended above, and it's a very tenuous connection at best.So I appreciate the late great's questioning about these issues.

Obviously, there's a lot of overlap with "spiritual jazz", and likewise (as the late great notes) some African percussion doesn't really seem all that helpful a guideline. So I'm less sure if "Afro Jazz" is a useful category if we expand it beyond what is literally African.

But maybe there are some artists & albums that are not from Africa but that are much seriously indebted to African music than, for example, Khan Jamal or Chico Freeman. So maybe some paradigm cases of that sort could be helpful. But there's in fact not too many mentioned on this thread that I can really see as being "Afro Jazz" without being literally from Africa. The nearest case I can tell would be The Pyramids record mentioned above.

Pataphysician, Monday, 7 August 2017 03:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Oops, I missed the late great's suggestions of good paradigms: Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, as well as Oneness Of Juju. I'll have to check those out.

Pataphysician, Monday, 7 August 2017 03:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Pataphysician are you a new poster or just new username? Digging yr posts regardless, also reliably good posts from tlg.

sleeve, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 04:24 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm a longtime lurker, then a sporadic poster until recently. I'm thinking about writing up some impressions of albums in this vein that I've listened to (e.g., some of the Khan Jamal stuff), as well as doing so for other albums on the rolling jazz thread (e.g., Ed Kelly & Pharoah Sanders's album, as well as some Mal Waldron I've been listening to)

Also, no one here has mentioned Gétatchèw Mèkurya, but I'm guessing that's a familiar name (as well as not being quite in the vein of the original request).

Pataphysician, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 06:48 (one year ago) Permalink

tbf there is a lot of stuff on this thread whose connection to africa is more thematic than musical

I think this is totally legit and interesting point, which is why I walked back my AEOC recs

curious what Mordy's liked/listened to so far

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 15:58 (one year ago) Permalink

haha maybe I should've read the rest of the late great's posts first *high five*

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 15:59 (one year ago) Permalink

(which is not to say that AEOC aren't great cuz they are just maybe not what Mordy was talking about)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 16:00 (one year ago) Permalink

the pyramids i knew but hadn't listened to in a while - they're great tho. similarly the sons of kemet album was def worth revisiting.

re new stuff - i really liked the art blakey & the jazz messengers - drum suite. i had slept on the Soweto Vol. 3 album but that has some good stuff on it (i thought it was a bit uneven but prob to be expected from comp type stuff). the salah ragab was great.

oneness of juju was totally unknown to me and that's another great find.

Mordy, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 16:24 (one year ago) Permalink

That reminds me: Oneness of Juju is also on the compilation Africafunk: The Original Sound Of 1970s Funky Africa, which is definitely worth seeking out!

Pataphysician, Thursday, 10 August 2017 05:54 (one year ago) Permalink

Just mentioning that Nigerian Afrobeat legend and master drummer Tony Allen has a rather nice "A Tribute To Art Blakey + the Jazz Messengers" EP out on Blue Note.

calzino, Thursday, 10 August 2017 09:39 (one year ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

there's a new sons of kemet single and apparently an album on the way

has anyone here heard The Comet is Coming? pretty cool stuff i think ppl itt would like.

Mordy, Sunday, 11 March 2018 15:43 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

it's afro jazz time of year again. i made a playlist last year filled w/ lots of great recommendations from this thread among other stuff that might be of interest to ilmers:

Mordy, Sunday, 1 July 2018 17:40 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

got the latest Sons of Kemet album ("You're Queen is a Reptile") and instantly made me think of this thread, lots of African rhythms/percussion

Οὖτις, Monday, 27 August 2018 17:15 (seven months ago) Permalink

yeah it's a good one

the late great, Monday, 27 August 2018 17:15 (seven months ago) Permalink

One of my favourite albums of the year.

Tim F, Monday, 27 August 2018 17:20 (seven months ago) Permalink

it's Your Queen smdh

Οὖτις, Monday, 27 August 2018 17:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

I like this recent reissue, Mulatu Astatke & His Ethiopian Quintet ‎– Afro-Latin Soul Vols 1 & 2---going back to '66, and a few tracks seem redundant or undercooked, but unmistakably he's already in bloom, playing vibes, keys, percussion:

dow, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 01:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

This is a brilliant album...

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Wednesday, 29 August 2018 10:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

if you dig Sons of Kemet, then the Shabaka and the Ancestors album from a couple of years ago is key.

fetter, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 15:34 (seven months ago) Permalink

One of the members of Shabaka and the Ancestors, keyboardist Nduduzo Makhathini, has several albums out as a leader. His music is spiritual Afro-jazz that kind of combines Coltrane circa '64 with Pharoah Sanders circa '71-'72; lots of modal grooves, some vocal ensembles, etc. They're hard to find as physical objects or even paid downloads, but they're all on Spotify (at least in the US).

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 29 August 2018 15:41 (seven months ago) Permalink

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