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Album Review

Pyramids, The – “Birth/Speed/Merging ” – [Em Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/13/2006   CD, Jazz

Em Records rules! Reviving this 1975 superhero calibre
afrocentric jazz trip led by Bay Arean Idris Ackamoor (aka
Bruce Baker who allegedly performs a simultaneous sax and tap
show that surely beckons eyes and ears). He’s had truck with
Famadou Don Moye, and this definitely has that peaceful power
found on a lot of Art Ensemble releases, along with a steadfast
inner funk. Plinky trinkets and non-standard wind instruments
blow through to make this a complete gem. Prominent flute from
Margo Ackamoor gives this a dose of the *good* flower power.
Percussion playhouse on “Jamaican Carnival” along with a mic
deep in someone’s chest to start things off show a lot of
heart. Crazy party vocals spurred on by Margo’s flute. Baker’s
sax (listed as an alto, but man if that’s true he’s tapping
some deep well on it) is reminiscent of Kalaparusha to me.
Soul-filled whether tunefully tracing the flute or free-fire
racing the heart. Still often in his compositions he allows
for a focus just on the rhythm and/or chant. For the former
at times, electric *and* acoustic bass are teamed up, that
makes this sooo heavy. Killer harp on the title track which
like all of the cuts shows such range and taste for letting
subtle tones breathe. Speaking of breathing, check out the
circular sax spin in the middle of “Reaffirmation.” The whole
release makes a Brother say Ahhhhh. Fans of Afro Art Jazz
get this on your spinning sonic altar!

-Thurston Hunger

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