Andy Thomas // Straight No Chaser (October 2019)

Preceding the AACM in Chicago, Strata East in New York, and Tribe in Detroit, the Watts-based black arts collective of Horace Tapscott (UGMAA) was set up in 1963 as a self help programme for local musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists. This album – ‘Why Don’t You Listen’ – gives a timely out fascinating insight into the power and glory of Tapscott’s Arkestra (including Michael Session on saxophone and Phil Ranelin on trombone) during the last years of his life. Recorded live at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on 24 July 1998 this was the last time Horace appeared on piano with his Arkestra and The Great Voice of UGMAA choir (formed and conducted by Dwight Trible). Opening with the incredible modal free epic ‘Aiee The Phantom’ the set includes six Arkestra standards including a breath-taking version of ‘Why Don’t You Listen?’. Equally powerful is ‘Fela Fela’ composed by Horace and conga player Najite Agindotan and featuring Trible and his choir tearing the house down with some serious Yoruba vocals.

 

 

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