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Night Dreamer Organic Grooves 3 Items

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Emma-Jean Thackray - Um Yang
Gary Bartz & Maisha - Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions
Gary Bartz & Maisha
Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions
LP | 2020 | US | Original (Night Dreamer)
19,99 €*
Release:2020 / US – Original
Genre:Organic Grooves
The third release from Night Dreamer’s essential “Direct-to-Disc” sessions sees an incredible meeting between legendary US saxophonist Gary Bartz and leading UK spiritual jazz ensemble, Maisha, featuring two Bartz classics and three brand new joint songs written by both Bartz & Maisha in close collaboration.

Having cut his teeth playing with the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Art Blakey and finally in 1970, Miles Davis at the peak of his electric period, Gary Bartz became a leading figure of the early-to-mid 70s spiritual jazz movement, releasing a string of ground-breaking albums on legendary NYC jazz label Prestige Records with his NTU Troop, featuring classics such as “Celestial Blues”, “Uhuru Dance” and “I’ve Known Rivers”, before collaborating on Blue Note Records with the Mizell Brothers on the anthemic jazz funk of “Music Is My Sanctuary”. An oeuvre much loved by soul jazzers and hip hop fans alike.

Led by drummer Jake Long, Maisha have been central to the UK’s jazz explosion, and have fast become the UK’s most exciting and in-demand young spiritual jazz ensemble, from steller shows at Jazz re:freshed, Total Refreshment Centre & Church of Sound and supporting the Sun Ra Arkestra, to releasing their critically acclaimed debut LP, “There Is A Place” on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in 2018. Theirs is an organic & explosive sound that blends influences from afrobeat and broken beat to Persian music, with a deep love and understanding of jazz, particularly the heritage of spiritual jazz led by titans such as Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane and of course, Gary Bartz.

Which makes this collaboration even more special. Bartz was first invited to share a stage with Maisha by Gilles Peterson to headline the inaugural We Out Here festival. Their chemistry was rich and instantaneous, certainly a two-way street, with the young musicians reinvigorating the legend’s performance and wowing the intergenerational festival audience. A European tour followed, including a London Jazz Festival highlight at the Royal Festival Hall, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his album “Another Earth”, originally featuring fellow legends, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, and John Coltrane’s own bassist, Reggie Workman.

Now the relationship has evolved into a special straight-to-disc recording for Night Dreamer Records, that captures the vitality of their collaboration. Whilst Bartz and Maisha reinvent classic Bartz compositions “Uhuru Sasa” and “Dr Follows Dance”, extending the pieces into long piece improvised grooves, their recording session gave birth to three brand new joint compositions, written the very same day. These include the propulsive “Leta’s Dance” that magically combines the Bartz’ soulful musical lyricism with Maisha’s African-jazz influences, and the organic jazz funk of “Harlem to Haarlem”, featuring a hot solo from guest trumpeter Axel Kaner-Lidstrom of Cykada & Levitation Orchestra fame.

Like previous Night Dreamer efforts from afrobeat star Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, and the beautiful collaboration between Brazilian stars Seu Jorge & Rogê, the album was recorded in Haarlem’s Artone Studio, a stones throw from Amsterdam, in just one-take, straight-to-disc, avoiding post- production embellishments and retaining the purity of the performance lost in modern recording techniques.

This record really is an event, in and of itself, a meeting of talents, minds, generations and zeitgeist moments, captured in a unique and pure manner. The music does not disappoint, as Maisha have been inspired to reach new heights whilst we find Bartz truly reinvigorated, and both artists in tune to the spirit of the other.
Etuk Ubong - Africa Today Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions
Etuk Ubong
Africa Today Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions
LP | 2020 | US | Original (Night Dreamer)
19,99 €*
Release:2020 / US – Original
Genre:Organic Grooves
Hailed by none other than Seun Kuti as “one of the best things to come out of Lagos”, Nigerian trumpeter, composer and bandleader Etuk Ubong has developed an original style he calls “Earth Music”.
Weaving together a unique combination of not only afrobeat, highlife and jazz, but also the ritualistic drumming of Ekombi, the result is urgent and highly energetic, yet spiritual; his compositions reflecting his heritage and life philosophy of goodwill, peace and love for humanity. Ubong’s music is so vibrant and propulsive that one can easily make comparisons with leading lights of the UK scene, such as the Shabaka Hutchings-led Sons of Kemet, but at the same time it is distinctly Nigerian.

Ubong was invited by Night Dreamer to record at Haarlem’s Artone Studio, home to an enviable collection of vintage mastering and recording equipment and situated right above a pressing plant. He assembled an international ensemble of the highest calibre to record his compositions direct-to-disc, avoiding the interference created by widely adopted recording techniques and capturing his enigmatic live performance in its most natural and explosive form. Ubong is joined by another Lagos-based musician, Michael Awosogo, also on trumpet, and a hand-picked group of UK and Netherlands-based musicians who finally after an impromptu show the night before, recorded the whole album in just one sitting on the last day of the five-day session.

Much of the music is incredibly fast-paced, and politically charged, particularly on titles such as “African Struggle” and “Mass Corruption'', with Ubong featuring on both trumpet and lead vocal, leading a five-piece brass section over the percussion-heavy rhythm section and soulful keys supplied by Vels Trio’s Jack Stephenson-Oliver. Etuk uses music to address not only injustice but also humanity and spirituality, most notably on “Spiritual Change”, a deep cut on which Etuk reflects on Africans need for internal change before they can address the problems around them, stands-out among the rest of the album.

Born in the Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria, but raised in Lagos, Ubong picked up the trumpet at the age of 14 and never looked back. He went on to study at the Peter King College of Music, Muson School of Music and the University of Cape Town, and aged just 16 was recruited to join the band of the late-great and recently passed highlife musician Victor Olaiya, through whose ranks also passed a young Fela Kuti & Tony Allen before inventing afrobeat. This led to him joining and touring with reggae sensation Buchi, before a fruitful stint with Femi Kuti’s Positive Force, performing frequently at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, and dates with the visionary South African pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini, recently signed to Blue Note Records.

Already greatly in-demand at home in Lagos, and across Nigeria and Africa, he has launched his own venue, “The Truth”, the most prolific in the Nigerian capital since Fela Kuti’s Shrine, performing himself three nights a week. At the same time, Etuk’s following in London & the UK has exploded after numerous performances including a mesmerising and widely-discussed session with acclaimed London-based artist collective, event and music community Steam Down, residencies at Jazz re:freshed & the Royal Festival Hall and a storming set at the inaugural edition of Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here Festival. Ubong’s connection to the UK scene, particularly Steam Down and musicians such as Theon Cross from Sons of Kemet, draws attention to exciting parallels. The intensity, the political edge, the crossing of barriers and pursuit of spirituality.

Night Dreamer has captured Etuk Ubong, live-and-uncut, at a pivotal point: a highly accomplished musician who has absorbed his home’s musical heritage, created his own sound and already made an impact not only in Lagos but also within the exciting UK and South African jazz scenes. An essential record that transcends the labels of jazz or afrobeat. Let’s call it earth music.
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