TRIBE – HOMETOWN: DETROIT SESSIONS 1990-2014

“This album will be part of the everlasting impact the Tribe collective had on our culture, on our hope and possibilities.” Herb Boyd

Strut and Art Yard present the first compilation bringing together the modern era recordings of Tribe, Detroit’s acclaimed independent jazz collective.

Tribe began as a musical ensemble in 1971 co-founded by Saxophonist Wendell Harrison and trombonist Phil Ranelin that soon expanded into a broad amalgam including a live collective and independent record label. Ignored by the mainstream, many African American jazz artists in Detroit and across the US began creating their own small imprints and Tribe emerged alongside other cultural entities to express self-determination goals in the city: saxophonist Ernie Rodgers with his sessions at Rapa House; John and Leni Sinclair’s Artist Workshop; Bruce Millan’s Repertory Theater; the Hastings Jazz Experience and the Strata Corporation led by Kenny Cox. Harrison’s ideas of independence, self-determination and education were central to the Tribe ethos: “I might be possessed with a drive to get the knowledge out,” explained Harrison, “because I see this as sustaining the future of the jazz
diaspora, the jazz tradition.” Tribe album releases like Harrison’s ‘An Evening With The Devil’ (1972) and Harrison and Ranelin’s ‘A Message From The Tribe’ (1973) became early ‘70s milestones in Detroit jazz.

In 1977, Harrison teamed up with pianist/composer Harold McKinney to form Rebirth Inc., aided by Detroit cultural warrior John Sinclair, a continuation of the Tribe community ethos. Musically, it formed a link with radio station WDET and began an outreach program to teach children and to publish Harrison’s jazz instruction books. Harrison continue to record extensively as a leader with his own labels, WenHa and Tribe, documenting the collective through sessions led by Phil Ranelin, Harold McKinney, Pamela Wise and more.

The ‘Hometown’ compilation places the spotlight on this later era of Tribe and Rebirth Inc., with rare and previously unreleased recordings from Harrison’s WenHa / Rebirth Studios and the SereNgeti Gallery And Cultural Center. Among many highlights, Harold McKinney and his “McKinfolk” family of musicians contribute the pulsing ‘Wide And Blue’ and dance celebration ‘Juba’; Phil Ranelin re-works his classic ‘He The One We All Knew’; Poet Mbiyu Chui (Williams Moore), pianist Pamela Wise and percussionist Djallo Djakate spark on the uncompromising ‘Ode To Black Mothers’ and the rallying cry of ‘Marcus Garvey’: “If we ever get together we will astound the world.” Harrison himself evokes the power and majesty of juju on ‘Conjure Man’.

‘Hometown’ comes as a 2LP gatefold and 1CD digipak fully remastered by Technology Works from the original session recordings. Both formats include exclusive sleeve notes by journalist Herb Boyd with rare photos from Wendell Harrison’s personal archive. Coming to Strut in November.

Strut presents the definitive remastered edition of Miriam Makeba’s ‘Pata Pata’

Strut presents an all-time classic of South African music, the definitive remastered edition of Miriam Makeba’s ‘Pata Pata’, her first album recorded for Reprise in 1966.

The album marked a significant international breakthrough for Makeba. Moving to the US after the anti-apartheid film ‘Come Back, Africa’ gained international attention and staying there in exile, she quickly built her career in New York during the ‘60s, mentored by Harry Belafonte. Signing with Reprise after a period with RCA, she returned to one of her older hits with the Skylarks: “I wrote ‘Pata Pata’ back in 1956, back in South Africa,” remembered Makeba in her autobiography. “It was a fun little song and I was thinking of a dance that we do at home (“pata” means ‘touch” in Zulu
and Xhosa).” Originally a hit in South Africa with her early vocal harmony group the Skylarks, the new recording, produced by Jerry Ragovoy, brought a lighter uptempo R’nB arrangement, adding some English lyrics. “It was my first truly big seller. All of a sudden, people who never knew I had been in America since 1959 were asking me to be on their television shows and play at their concert halls during 1967. In the discotheques, they invented a new dance called the ‘Pata Pata’ where couples dance apart and then reach out and touch each other. I went to Argentina for a concert and, across South America, they are singing my song.”

The track peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at no. 12 and the album. Other songs on the album included a version of the traditional Xhosa classic, ‘Click Song Number One’ (‘Qongqothwane’), the atmospheric ‘West Wind’, later famously covered by her friend Nina Simone, and a version of Tilahun Gessesse’s ‘Yetentu Tizaleny’ which Makeba learned on a trip to Addis to perform for Haile Selassie at the Organisation Of African Unity.

Mastered by The Carvery from the original reel to reel tapes, ‘Pata Pata’ is released in its mono and stereo versions for the first time. Physical formats feature brand new sleeve notes alongside rare photos from the time of recording and session details. Out now on 2LP, 1CD, streaming and digital.

New album from Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band

The modern-day leaders of Ghanaian highlife music are back!

★★★★★ – The Guardian

Strut is proud to present Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’s sophomore release ‘Obiaa!’, out now. The album, produced again by Kwame Yeboah and Ben Abarbanel-Wolff at Lovelite Studio’s analogue HQ in Berlin, is a deep and soulful journey into the heart of Ghana’s indigenous highlife music celebrating the timeless and iconic voice of Pat Thomas, the 72 year-old “Golden Voice of Africa”.

After producing Ebo Taylor’s seminal albums ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Appia Kwa Bridge’ for Strut Records, in 2014 Ben Abarbanel-Wolff approached Kwame Yeboah, Ghana’s top contemporary instrumentalist and bandleader, to work on a new project: “We initially wanted to invite Pat back into the studio with Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen to recreate and expand on some of the vibes they had recorded together during a lost session in 1977,” Ben explains. Recorded in Accra, the result was the critically acclaimed self-titled debut album ‘Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’ in 2015.

The new album is called ‘Obiaa!’ which means ‘Everybody!’. Tracks include the modern parables ‘Onfa Nkosi Hwee’ warning against arrogance and ‘Odo Ankasa’ about the value of real love and trust as well as a great new cover of Thomas’ Afro-disco favourite ‘Yamona’. “Playing highlife around the world taught us what we had to do to move our sound forward,” continues Ben. While simultaneously looking back towards the classic days of highlife and forward to a fresh revival of the guitar band sound, this album cements Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’s position at the pinnacle of modern African music.

‘Obiaa!’ is out now on all formats. The album features exclusive cover artwork by Lewis Heriz with photos by Marie Weikopf and Michelle Chiu and is mastered by Édouard Bonan at Ed-Room Studio in Paris.

The European tour during October / November 2019

01.10.2019 Jazz Cafe, London, UK

02.10.2019 Norwich Arts Center, Norwich UK

04.10.2019 Ubu, Rennes, FR

05.10.2019 New Morning, Paris, FR

07.10.2019 PR DAY, Paris FR

08.10.2019 Schlachthof, Wiesbaden, DE

10.10.2019 YAAM, Berlin, DE

11.10.2019 PR DAY, Berlin, DE

12.10.2019 Alice, Copenhagen, DK

13.10.2019 Atlas, Aarhus, DK

16.10.2019 0osterport, Groningen, NL

18.10.2019 Grounds, Rotterdam, NL

19.19.2019 Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL

20.10.2019 Doornrosje, Nijmegen, NL

25.10.2019 Biko, Milan, IT

26.10.2019 Moods, Zurich, CH

THE SOULJAZZ ORCHESTRA – CHAOS THEORIES

The Souljazz Orchestra return with a brand new studio album for our troubled times, ‘Chaos Theories’.

Always known for their uncompromising social and political messages, the Canadian collective hit harder than ever on 9 new tracks, outing the hypocrisy of modern day politics, police brutality and the everyday struggle of the working man. Led by chief songwriter and arranger Pierre Chrètien, the band continue to evolve their sound, drawing on a broad palette from their trademark Latin, Afro and Caribbean styles to some of the UK’s political sounds of the early ‘80s, the era of The Clash, The Police, 2-Tone and frontline reggae. “We were basically messing around with the idea of creating our own brand of ‘Afro-punk’”, remembers Chrétien, “something with the aggressive, in-your-face energy of punk rock or free jazz, but still backed by the hypnotic, pulsating grooves of tropical music.”

The album takes the listener from carefully targeted sonic missiles to more reflective thought-provoking moments. ‘Police The Police’ starts the offensive: “I wrote this after my neighbour was beaten to death by Ottawa police during an arrest,” explains Chrétien. “The authorities downplayed the incident and the officers were working the next day like nothing had happened.” ‘House Of Cards’ takes a thinly veiled swipe at the current US administration on an infectious disco groove: “lies within lies within lies… like so many Russian dolls”; ‘Boat Rockers’ challenges us all to look beyond accepted norms and ‘General Strike’ documents the frustrations of the working class as the pay gap gets increasingly wider; ‘Slumlord’ shines the spotlight on dodgy landlords while the brilliant closer ‘Well Runs Dry’ laments modern day living, with its confused pace and mundane obsessions, remembering simpler days gone by.

Leading their field for 17 years, The Souljazz Orchestra have constantly moved forward and remain an in-demand live band worldwide.  Their 9th album ‘Chaos Theories’ is out now on LP, CD, cassette and digital / streaming and is mastered by The Carvery. LP format comes as a special dark blue vinyl edition. The band tour Europe and Canada during September, October and November 2019.

Full European tour supporting album September – November 2019!!!

Sep 20 – Ottawa, ON – Babylon
Sep 27 – Montpellier, FR – Rockstore – Tickets
Sep 28 – Rambouillet, FR – Usine à Chapeaux – Tickets
Sep 29 – Chelles, FR – Les Cuizines – Tickets
Sep 30 – Paris, FR – New Morning – Tickets
Oct 01 – Gent, BE – Vooruit Balzaal – Tickets
Oct 02 – Madrid, ES – Café Berlín – Tickets
Oct 04 – Granada ES – Planta Baja – Tickets
Oct 05 – Zaragoza ES – Las Armas – Tickets
Oct 06 – Barcelona ES – La Nau – Tickets
Oct 09 – Dusseldorf DE – Zakk – Tickets
Oct 10 – Mainz DE – KUZ – Tickets
Oct 11 – Athens GR – Gagarin 205 – Tickets
Oct 12 – Thessaloniki GR – WE Complex – Tickets
Oct 13 – Berlin DE – Gretchen – Tickets
Oct 14 – Dresden DE – Tonne – Tickets
Oct 16 – London UK – Jazz Cafe – Tíckets
Oct 17 – Dublin IE – Sugar Club – Tickets
Oct 18 – Épinay-sur-Seine – PMO – Tickets
Oct 19 – Nancy FR – Nancy Jazz Pulsations – Tickets
Nov 16 – Gatineau QC – Le Petit Chicago
Nov 21 – Sherbrooke QC – La Petite Boîte Noire
Nov 22 – Montréal QC – Groove Nation – Tickets
Nov 23 – Québec QC – L’Anti – Tickets
Nov 28 – Waterloo ON – Starlight
Nov 29 – Hamilton ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 30 – Toronto ON – Velvet Underground – Tickets

 

Indian Ocean sounds with ‘Alefa Madagascar’

Strut continues its essential compilation series of Indian Ocean sounds with ‘Alefa Madagascar’, the first compilation to document the unique culture of salegy, soukous and soul on the island during the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Originating as far back as the 15th Century through folkloric ceremonial music and an a cappella chanting style called antsa, salegy emerged as a fast-tempoed local dance style based on 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms. By the ‘60s, radio was bringing in new sounds from the Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya and Jean Francois de Comarmond’s Discomad label championed a new generation of artists breaking the mould with their own new fusions of styles as electric instruments replaced the traditional. Local pop was sometimes referred to as tapany maintso (half-green) a reference to the stickers on singles from the other key label in Madagascar, Kaïamba, many of them produced by Charles Maurin Poty whose work was crucial in shaping the emerging genre.

‘Alefa Madagascar’ showcases the rich variety of sounds during this heyday of Malagasy music: Roger Georges’ ‘Mama’ and Jean Kely et Basth’s ‘Andosy Mora’ bring the raw energy of salegy, influential band Los Matadores drop military drums and Hammond soul in the classic ‘Andeha Hanarato’; Mahaleo’s ‘Izahay Mpamita’ showcases the band’s powerful folk sound, a crucial voice emerging from the Rotaka farmer and student protests of 1972, while Terak’Anosy Group work around a stomping Congolese guitar groove. The era paved the way for many of the household names of Malagasy music today including Jaojoby, D’Gary and Lego.

Mastered by The Carvery and featuring cover artwork by top illustrator Lewis Heriz, ‘Alefa Madagascar’ is released on 6th September 2019 and is compiled by Réunionese DJs La Basse Tropicale and Percy Yip Tong (Mauritius). Physical formats feature sleeve notes by influential producer Charles Maurin Poty and Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide.

Strut 20 – the year so far

We’ve been celebrating a big 20 years here at Strut in 2019 and taking a look back in the archives for some Strut history gems. Thanks everyone for all the support along the way and we’re looking forward to the next 20!

 

Chris Greenwood’s always excellent Netil Radio show plays the latest global sounds and talks with Quinton Scott on Strut’s 20th Anniversary

 

Launch party at Fabric for Ashley Beedle’s ‘Grass Roots’ compilation in November ’99

 

Noisey in France review 20 years of Strut in a new interview with label founder Quinton Scott. Big thanks to Maxime Delcourt for the piece! You can read it here

 

For Record Store Day this year Joey Negro and Sean P’s amazing first ‘Disco Not Disco’ compilation received its first repress since its original release back in 2000. Packed full with leftfield disco classics from Yoko Ono, Ian Dury, Arthur Russell and more.

 

One of the early Strut label parties at HQs in Camden in March 2000 with ESP live and Loose Joints’ Steve D’Acquisto (RIP) as guest DJ.


 

Flashback to ‘Funky Nassau’, Strut’s compilation documenting the heyday of Compass Point Studios in Nassau. Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel pictured here with sonic scientist Steven Stanley during the ‘Lord Upminster’ album sessions in 1980. Photo by Alison Jarvis

 

The original design ideas for the Strut logo from the lovely folks at Amp design back in the late ’90s…

 

Strut’s first event back in 1999 in conjunction with the brilliant Wah Wah 45s – Club Africa night with Osibisa live and influential Brighton DJ Russ Dewbury!

 

The launch for the Disco Italia compilation back in 2008. Fun night in London with compiler Stevie Kotey and the Horse Meat Disco DJs.

 

The one that got away… Promos were made for @Antibalas‘ debut album in 2000 but the band eventually self-released it and paved the way for a whole new generation of Afrobeat bands.

 

Back to 2002 when Grandmaster Flash cut up some anthems and breaks on Westwood’s show around the time of his ‘Official Adventures’ compilation.

 

We have always loved this great Alexis Maryon shot of the Horse Meat Disco DJs at the Milk In The Park festival in Vauxhall in 2009. Horse Meat still going strong 10 years later – their Sunday residency at The Eagle is still an essential fixture of London nightlife.

 

An early label highlight, the Wild Bunch compilation followed the story of the pioneering Bristol DJ crew. Great photo by Beezer here showing DJ Milo at St Paul’s Carnival in Bristol, 1985

 

DJ Russ Dewbury played an important part in kickstarting the surge in interest in archive African sounds over the last 20 years with his forward-thinking ‘Africafunk’ and ‘Club Africa’ compilations. You can still catch him at his Soulful Strut nights at Brighton’s Green Door club.

Patrice Rushen – You Remind Me (The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978-1984)

Strut present the first definitive retrospective of an icon of 1970s and ‘80s soul, jazz and disco, Patrice Rushen, covering her peerless 6-year career with Elektra / Asylum from 1978 to 1984.

Patrice Rushen joined the Elektra / Asylum roster in 1978 as they launched a pop / jazz division alongside visionaries like Donald Byrd and Grover Washington, Jr. “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio / R&B,” Patrice explains. “We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”

Early classics like ‘Music Of The Earth’ and ‘Let’s Sing A Song Of Love’ were among Patrice’s first as a lead vocalist before her ‘Pizzazz’ album landed in 1979, featuring the unique disco of ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and one of her greatest ballads, ‘Settle For My Love’. Slick dancefloor anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and the ‘Posh’ album in 1980 led to her landmark album ‘Straight From The Heart’ two years later.

Receiving little support from her label, Patrice and her production team personally funded a promo campaign for the first single from it, ‘Forget Me Nots’. It went on to peak at no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was later Grammy-nominated, while the track became a timeless anthem and popular sample.

Patrice’s final album for Elektra, ‘Now’ kept the bar high with sparse, synth-led songs including ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘To Each His Own’. It concluded a golden era creatively for Patrice which remains revered by soul and disco aficionados the world over.

‘Remind Me’ features all of Patrice Rushen’s chart singles, 12” versions and popular sample sources on one album for the first time. Formats included a 3LP set and CD fully remastered by The Carvery from the original tapes. Both formats include an exclusive new interview with Patrice Rushen and rare photos. You Remind Me is out 19th July and available to pre-order now. 

Orlando Julius and the Heliocentrics starting European Tour

Afro soul pioneer ORLANDO JULIUS with THE HELIOCENTRICS head off for another monster European tour, starting tomorrow! Still one of the best Afro shows out there – catch them if you can…

16.05.19 Atlas, Arhus, DK

17.05.19 Alice, Copenhagen, DK

18.05.19 Fasching, Stockholm, SWE

20.05.19: Rachot, Prague, CZ

22.05.19: Yaam, Berlin, DE

23.05.19: Brotfabrik, Frankfurt, DE

24.05.19: Sniester Festival, Rotterdam, NL

26.05.19: Lentekabinet, Amsterdam, NL

30.05.19: Caracol, Madrid, ES

31.05.19: Las Armas, Zaragoza, ES

01.06.19: La Nau, Barcelona, ES

07.06.19: Pardon To Tu, Warsaw, PL

08.06.19: Drift Festival, Nijmegen, NL

Disco Not Disco for Record Store Day 2019

“Strut Records were there first, well before DFA recorded The Rapture’s Sub Pop debut. ‘Disco Not Disco’ preceded the punk funk revolution by two years.” Resident Advisor

For Record Store Day 2019, Strut present the first ever repress since 2000 of the influential first volume of ‘Disco Not Disco’ compiled by Joey Negro and Sean P as part of the label’s 20th Anniversary.

‘Disco Not Disco’ was a perfectly timed compilation back in 2000. Released when interest in the myths, history and playlists of original New York clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft was at its peak, the album drew on the outer limits of leftfield disco championed by Levan and Mancuso, bringing together unlikely dancefloor anthems by rock acts like Yoko Ono and Ian Dury, obscurities from cottage labels like BC and Splash and selected oddities from the unique mind of avant-garde hero, Arthur Russell. It was essentially a celebration of the sonic melting pot in New York during the early ‘80s, an era when punk had burnt itself out and disco had become commercial and saccharine; in its place, the post-punk movement threw up brilliant oddities which tore up the accepted rulebook.

Since its release, the compilation title has become a by-word for a whole genre of music and remains a landmark collection of its time. With original copies now changing hands for €100+, this new pressing is a welcome return for an essential celebration of disco’s difficult cousins. The album features full original artwork and Kris Needs’ sleeve notes and is remastered and cut by The Carvery.

Release date:: 13th April 2019 (RECORD STORE DAY)

Strut 20 T-Shirt available now

We’re celebrating a big 20 years of good grooves here at Strut in 2019 and the limited edition Strut 20 t-shirt is now available to order via Everpress. Order here.

By only printing exactly what’s sold through pre-orders Everpress are able to avoid unnecessary waste ending up in landfill. The t-shirt is available to pre-order for the next two weeks.