Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society “Whispers From The Archive” | Porter Records
Multi-instrumentalist Juma Sultan is fulfilling his life long legacy in recent times with many important archive releases that are opening up new understandings on the vibrant African American music scene in the 60′s and 70′s. With an archive that runs into the 1000+ hour mark of recordings of every kind (private sessions, live performances, studio reels, etc), Juma Sultan was one of the most active archivist of his era and walked in the paths of some of the greatest minds. Now with the release of music in his own archives with labels such as Eremite and now Porter Records, the legacy and true masterful presence of a living legend is brought to the public’s attention and now consumption. In an age where music was light years ahead of the curve, a brand new wave of minds are absorbing these sounds as if it was music from our own age. 60′s to now, there is a bridge that is becoming more obvious as the hidden treasures of the past become more available to this generation.
Juma Sultan made his presence on this earth in the largest, most concentrated burst with his inclusion into the sound Hendrix was creating with his 1969 and 1970 bands. The future would be bright for Juma as he expanded his Aboriginal Music Society, played with Archie Shepp and continued to meet a whose who of the most creative minds in the world during the 70′s. As a means to open up more of his archives with the Aboriginal Music Society, Juma Sultan has partnered with Porter Records for a new release called Whispers From The Archive. Presenting never before heard material recorded throughout the 70′s and with different personal from song to song, every track opens up a deep rooted history of black music that is as vital to our understanding of the times and the age as that of a new John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix recording. 7 tracks deep and full of many beautiful statements that speak of the Aboriginal Music Socities own love supreme through sound, it’s a mesmerizing collection based in African and Latin percussion, exotic forms of instrumentation and a free spiritual voyage that is timeless in scope.
Whispers From The Archive begins with a live piece recorded at the famous New York loft space and venue Ali’s Alley. With main AMS contributor Ali Abuwi on oboe and percussion, Kasa Allah on piano, Art Bennet on sax, the infamous James “Blood” Ulmer on guitar, Juma on percussion and bass and Harold E. Smith also on percussion, it’s a lively track built around the ecstasy that the Coltrane sound ushered in. The intro is built around a foundation of percussion, an element to AMS that set the tone for many of their performances. Recorded in 1976, this was a number the group was using in many of their shows as a comfortable and sublime piece to fall into and get the engine going. Every player stretches out with a passionate and glorious voice and it sets into stone what you can expect on every track. It’s a piece that I get lost inside of, not wanting to leave the warm cocoon like auras of sound it creates over me. The inclusion of material from a Boston recording session in 1970 the group did in an attempt to complete their debut album for public release is my favorite of the collection. The tracks that are sourced from this session are “Sundance and Hand Clapping – version I” and “Sundance and Hand Clapping – version II”. I have been fascinated with the piece Sundance since I heard a recording with Juma, Hendrix and many of their colleagues performing versions of it during the Woodstock rehearsals in 1969. The second version from this release has Ali and Juma collaborating together without anyone elses presence and it’s a wonderful treat to hear how they layer the recording down.
Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society will surely fill the hearts of those willing to take the time for such a special and personal release from the archives of a man who has seen it all. Don’t hesitate on getting a copy of Whispers From The Archive from Porter Records.
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