The group first featured Anton Fier, singer-guitarist Arto Lindsay, saxophonist John Zorn, bass guitarist Bill Laswell and violinist/guitarist Fred Frith. Their self-titled debut album was released on New York’s Celluloid Records in 1983, and featured guest appearances by bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, percussionist David Moss, turntablist M.E. Miller and others. The album has some of the first recorded turntable scratching outside of rap music, courtesy of Laswell and M.E. Miller. M.E. Miller also used vocal splitting technique to create harmony on the song he sings. They were heavily influenced by so-called no wave music (Arto Lindsay had played in the seminal no-wave band DNA), but their music also contained elements of funk and of the improvisational jazz stylings that would become Zorn’s trademark. This line-up lasted only for the first record, although all of the core members apart from Zorn would guest on subsequent Palominos recordings.
The Dream Then and Now a special concert performance commissioned by WXPN University of Pennsylvania Radio. This was created in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and performed live in 1989. Features The Ebony Strings Quartet and Lawerence Newton as vocalist. Words and Lyrics by Lawerence Newton and Richard Tucker. Take a listen and buy the MP3 album here.
“I first met Jamaaladeen Tacuma at the Leipzig Jazz Festival in 1996. There was a concert at which three German/American duos were scheduled to perform. They were Albert Mangelsdorff and Elvin Jones; Ornette Coleman and Joachim Kuhn; and Jamaaladeen and I, who went on stage together for the first time after only a single short rehearsal for getting a feel for each other the day before. A first encounter with another player is always a challenge – especially when the musician is as outstanding as Jamaaladeen. But my dominant emotion is always one of joy at the opportunity to play with a great musician, to venture onto hitherto unknown terrain, and to experience unexpected surprises.” [Source] Buy the album on iTunes here.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Monk Montgomery was the older brother of guitarist Wes Montgomery; younger brother, Buddy Montgomery played vibraphone and piano. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers. He is perhaps the first electric bassist of significance to jazz, introducing the Fender Precision Bass to the genre in 1951. Montgomery also played the double bass. His professional career did not start until after his younger brother Wes, at the age of 30. From 1951 to 1953 he worked in Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra. After that he worked with his brothers and Alonzo Johnson in the Montgomery Johnson Quintet. In 1955 he moved to Seattle to form the Mastersounds from 1957–1960. Later from 1966–1970, he freelanced with Cal Tjader and continued to play where he settled in Las Vegas, Nevada with The Red Norvo Trio. In his final years he was active in the Las Vegas Jazz Society, which he founded. He had also been planning a world jazz festival.
[via Jamaaladeen Tacuma on Facebook]
Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s second free funk effort for Gramavision is almost the equal of his first (Show Stopper). Once again the first four songs feature his regular band (a quintet with guitarist Rick Iannacone and altoist James Watkins) while the second half of the program showcases his electric bass in diverse groups. “Dancing in Your Head” has some of the members of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time (including the innovative altoist); Tacuma often played with Ornette during this period. The lengthy “The Battle of Images” features Tacuma with the Ebony String Quartet and a percussionist, “There He Stood” has the leader joined by percussionists and a poet. Best is “Sparkle,” a jam with tenor saxophonist David Murray and guitarist Vernon Reid. Alththugh a bit of a mixed bag, this set should appeal to listeners open to both the avant-garde and eccentric funk.
An album that desparately deserves to be put back in print, James “Blood” Ulmer’s recording debut, “Tales from Captain Black”, finds the guitarist stepping into his own as a leader. With mentor Ornette Coleman blowing alto and Coleman’s son Denardo serving as drummer, it would be quite possible that this record would simply be a Coleman record under another man’s name, but it’s not. Working with bass wizard Jamaaladeen Tacuma, the string players manage to define the voice of the record.
[Inspired by Mogens Toudahl]