Thanks to some inspired detective work by Art Yard Records, an intimate trio performance by Sun Ra in Rome in 1977, ‘In Some Far Place’, is receiving its first release for this year’s Record Store Day on April 16th. Recorded from the sound desk and mastered from original reels, the album features Sun Ra on piano and Moog, drummer Luqman Ali and occasional Arkestra vocalist Thomas Thaddeus in fine form, exploring Ra staples and revisiting some of the traditional jazz pieces from his early Chicago days. Tracks include the reflective ‘Trying To Put The Blame On Me,’ ‘Spontaneous Simplicity’ and the first Sun Ra version of ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ to ever be officially released. New sleeve notes come courtesy of the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott with cover design by Lewis Heriz.
Directly following the announcement of a forthcoming new album We Be All Africans for Strut, West Coast spiritual jazz legends Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids have been hand-picked to support Floating Points on the West Coast leg of their live tour. We can’t imagine a better pairing, and fans of mind-expanding jazz are in for a true treat.
See below for all Floating Points dates featuring Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids. We Be All Africans will be released May 27th on CD, LP (w. CD included), digital and streaming formats. Pre-orders are available now.
Floating Points US Tour feat. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his all-star Kwashibu Area Band are setting out on an absolutely massive tour this summer. Performing material from last year’s self-titled album as well as highlights from throughout Thomas’ long career, this string of shows are an amazing opportunity to catch a living master of African highlife in the flesh. A highlight at last year’s Womex festival, the band will be taking their phenomenal live show across Europe from May.
The album Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) & digital formats.
The self titled debut album from legendary Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his newly formed Kwashibu Area band was one of the soundtracks to our summer. Firmly rooted in the tradition of classic West African musicianship, the album showcases Thomas’ incredible voice and reinvigorates our love of Highlife. This Autumn, Thomas and company are hitting the road together, performing tracks from the album as well as classics from throughout Pat Thomas’ career. Don’t miss an opportunity to see one of the foremost living practioners of Highlife music, live in the flesh.
Veteran Nigerian saxophonist and pioneer of Afro soul and Afrobeat, Orlando Julius, embarks on his first set of US dates in over a decade this Autumn. Expect to hear tracks from his acclaimed new studio album with The Heliocentrics, Jaiyede Afro, alongside a host of classics from his incredible 50-year career including “Alo Mi Alo,” “James Brown Ride On,” “Jagua Nana” and “Ijo Soul,” the track which allegedly influenced James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good).” It’s a one-off chance to catch one of Africa’s all-time great musicians, live and direct.
September 18th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 19th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 24th: Philadelphia, PA / venue tba
September 25th: New York, NY / Le Poisson Rouge
September 26th: Albuquerque, NM / National Hispanic Cultural Center
The Souljazz Orchestra continue to evolve their sound and scope, while at the same time retaining their original line-up, going back to the band’s formation in 2002. As you can imagine, this makes for some incredibly tight playing. The band’s practially psychic connection is on full display in the music video for “Shock And Awe,” shot on a freeway overpass in the band’s home city of Ottawa.
“That whole day was crazy,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “Cars were honking the whole time, crowds gathered. Someone even called the cops on us, thinking we were kids throwing rocks off the bridge. A cop showed up with a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The officer was cool and the reporter took shots of us – we ended up on page 2 of the paper the next day. They called it “Not A Rock Group” because we weren’t throwing rocks…”
“Shock And Awe” is the first single from the upcoming album Resistance, out September 4th on Strut. The track is available on streaming services, and as a free download with pre-orders of the album: http://lnk.to/SJO_ShockAndAwe
It’s not every day that you get to observe a master at work, but that’s exactly the feeling we get watching Pat Thomas rehearse with his all-star Kwashibu Area Band at their studio in Accra. The nimble playing of each musician adds its piece to an intricate puzzle, providing the perfect bed for Thomas’ expressive vocals.
With their self-titled debut album available now, Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band will be hitting the road this fall. Confirmed dates below.
02.10.15 London, UK: Richmix
07.10.15 Brussels, Belgium: AB Club
08.10.15 Paris, France: New Morning
09.10.05 Zurich, Switzerland: Stall 6
10.10.15 Lyon, France: Le Sucre
17.10.15 Utrecht, Holland: Rasa
18.10.15 Amsterdam, Holland: Paradiso
20.10.15 Berlin, Germany: Bi Nuu
22.10.15 – 24.10.15 Budapest, Hungary: Womex showcase
In celebration of Record Store Day 2015, Strut and Art Yard join forces once more for the first release anywhere of a live Sun Ra performance from Amiens, France in 1973, Planets Of Life Or Death. Recorded direct from the soundboard and mastered from first generation reel to reel, the title is exclusively available for Record Store Day 2015.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra had just completed a residency at the legendary Gibus in Paris in October before traveling to Amiens for a visceral Sunday afternoon concert. “Sun Ra’s use of the Arkestra as his instrument in an onslaught of sound, colour and movement stimulated and even shocked the senses and the shakras of audience participants onto a higher plane of spirit consciousness,” explains the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott.
On Side 1, the session kicks off with the theatrical overture, ‘Enlightenment’ as Sun Ra and vocalist June Tyson invite the audience to “be of our space world.” Ra then moves into a rare instrumental version of ‘Love In Outer Space,’ transforming the perennial Arkestra classic into a raw, ritualistic experience.
Side 2 of the album opens with the glistening ‘Lights On A Satellite’ led by the spiritual tenor sax of John Gilmore. Closing track, the epic, chaotic, anxious ‘Discipline 27-II / What Planet Is This’ features Sun Ra and June Tyson take a thinly veiled psychedelic swipe at life on earth: “If this is a planet of life, why do people die here?”
Planets Of Life Or Death follows 2014’s landmark compilation presented by Marshall Allen, In the Orbit Of Ra. The release features rare photos from Sun Ra’s 1973 European tour by photographer Jan Persson with sleeve notes by Knoel Scott.
As they make their way across Europe, it’s a full-on party when Orlando Julius hits the stage with The Heliocentrics. Recorded live in Brussels, this performance of “Aseni” shows the stage ablaze with synchronized dance moves and razor sharp musicianship. Make sure to catch this show when they come through your city!
European Tour Dates
11th: Ljubjana SLO / Kino Siska
12th: Rome IT / Teatro Quirinetta
13th: Bologna IT / Locomotiv Club
14th: Turin IT / Scuola Holden (General Store)
15th: Milan IT / Biko Club
19th: Arhus DEN / Atlas
20th: Copenhagen DEN / Global
21st: Stockholm SWE / Fasching
Gilles Peterson is a man of distinguishing tastes, and has been an enormous supporter of our music. This year at his annual Worldwide Awards he will be honoring Marshall Allen, the current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra and compiler of our collection In The Orbit of Ra. The ceremony will also feature a special performance from Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics, as well as a host of other fine performers. If you’re in London in January, don’t miss it! Advance tickets available here.