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· KHAN JAMAL CREATIVE ART ENSEMBLE - DRUM DANCE TO THE MOTHERLAND - INSANELY RARE ORIGINAL PRIVATE PRESSING ON OBSCURE DOGTOWN LABEL - ORIGINAL 1972 DOGTOWN STEREO LP
· ORIGINAL U.S. PRESSING
***NOT ONLY THE RAREST AND MOST COVETED FREE JAZZ ALBUM IN EXISTENCE, BUT LITERALLY THE HOLIEST OF THE HOLY GRAILS OF FREE AND SPIRITUAL JAZZ: ONLY 300 COPIES WERE PRIVATELY PRESSED IN 1972, OF WHICH PROBABLY LESS THAN 50 STILL SURVIVE; NEAR MINT COPIES - SUCH AS THE SPECIMEN WE HAVE HERE - ARE PRACTICALLY UNHEARD OF ***
ORIGINAL HAND-PAINTED COVER WITH SMALL PAINTED "ART" STICKER AFFIXED TO THE FRONT PANEL AND TYPEWRITTEN DATA SHEET AFFIXED TO THE BACK PANEL (VARIOUS DISCOGRAPHIES DESCRIBE THE COVER AS "SILK SCREENED" OR "CRAYON", HOWEVER, WE THINK THAT THE COVER IS ACTUALLY STENCILED, NOT SILK-SCREENED
· ORIGINAL U.S. PRESSING
· ORIGINAL ORANGE DOGTOWN LABEL WITH BLACK PRINT
· THIS IS THE ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC, FIRST U.S. PRESSING; THIS IS NOT A REISSUE, AN IMPORT, OR A COUNTERFEIT PRESSING.
· ORIGINAL, THICK CARDBOARD COVER (AMERICAN STYLE)
· CLEAN, WEAR-FREE LABELS
· THICK, HEAVY VINYL PRESSING
(►PLEASE SEE THE IMAGE OF THE COVER, LABEL OR BOTH, SHOWN BELOW)
(Note: this is a REAL image of the ACTUAL item you are bidding on. This is NOT a "recycled" image from our previous auction. What you see is what you'll get. GUARANTEED!)
This is the most legendary private press underground jazz album of the 1970s. There’s not another record on the planet that sounds even remotely like vibraphonist Khan Jamal's eccentric, one-of-a-kind masterpiece, Drum Dance To The Motherland. In its improbable fusion of free jazz expressionism, black psychedelia, & full-on dub production techniques, Drum Dance remains a bracingly powerful outsider statement forty eight years after it was recorded live at the Catacombs Club in Philadelphia, 1972. Comparisons to Sun Ra, King Tubby, Phil Cohran & BYG/Actuel merely hint at the cosmic otherness conjured by The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble & by sound engineer Mario Falana's real-time enhancements. Originally issued by Jamal in 1972 in an edition of only three hundred copies on ‘Dogtown’ records, Drum Dance To The Motherland was effectively a myth for decades. The master tapes have long vanished, making this original vinyl pressing all the more valuable.
The miasma of free jazz, cosmic jazz, new thing, fire music, and improv that poured forth in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s is one of the great treasure troves of 20th-century music. Led in America by John and Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and others, a generation of players was inspired to jettison the rapidly ossifying mannerisms of post-bop for an explosive new language that pushed the boundaries of music while addressing political realities, social concerns, and spirituality in fresh, strikingly confrontational ways.
It also left a trail of flotsam that would go largely ignored for decades, a collector’s dream of uncompromising almost-classics, forgotten sessions, private-press rarities, and live bootlegs just begging to be hunted down. Sometimes the lore outshone the music, with the genre’s visceral yen for abstraction making highly sought LPs into rorschach tests. Drum Dance to the Motherland, recorded in 1972 by the Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble. Presented at that time with hokey crayon-illustration cover art, is a marvelously trippy journey through the spacier, smokier corners of jazz psychedelia.
The first thing you notice on Drum Dance is the tape echo. It’s right there at the start of the aptly titled “Cosmic Echoes,” smeared all over the fevered drum intro. Provided courtesy of Mario Falana (credited with “sound effects”), it immediately makes you wonder why so few acts incorporated studio electronics. Though Miles Davis had begun using a wah-wah pedal on his trumpet around the end of the ’60s, it is rare to find such bold uses of echo, reverb, or tape loops in jazz’s more “free” corners. The effect is thunderous, evoking the same moody dread that King Tubby was developing concurrently in Jamaica. Throughout the record it continues to surge in and out, sending the ensemble swimming in ethereal waves.
The second thing you notice is the interplay, loose but focused and wonderfully spacious. Drum Dance was recorded live in a small coffee shop in Philadelphia, and the fidelity reflects this modest setting—it’s more “Louie Louie” mud than Blue Note precision. Apparently the ensemble was largely made up of childhood friends, and you can sense the comfort and ease between the players. You always know where you are in the music; its development is natural and connecting threads are easy to follow. Although the group takes more than a few cues from Sun Ra’s heliocentric excursions, it remains accessible, right down to the uncluttered arrangements.
The entire LP is strong, but the two longer pieces at its center are the real showstoppers. “Drum Dance” is a white-hot ride through scorched, microtonal clarinet whines and tumbling percussion that eventually gives way to a more playful marimba solo from Jamal. Harsh though its front-end may be, “Drum Dance” exudes joy throughout its 12-plus-minute runtime. In its opening moments you can hear a member of the band clapping enthusiastically and encouraging the audience to join along.
“Inner Peace,” meanwhile, goes in a more bluesey direction. Monnette Sudler’s guitar is especially effective, mimicking the sultry, seductive tone of a Fender Rhodes piano and adding a welcome sense of understatement. For almost 16 minutes the piece floats effortlessly, orbiting a dusky, modal center but wandering freely into stranger, warmer climes. Starting off with an elegantly loping bassline, the type hip-hop producers scoured for throughout the ’90s, “Inner Peace” emerges from a mist of delay and bells, slowly coming into focus as if heard from a great distance and then suddenly up close. Just shy of the two-minute mark, Sudler begins to tease out a laid-back solo that counterbalances the fogged-out cries from Dwight James’ reeds—there’s no rush here, and the group locks into the simmering vibe, cooling down from the A-side’s more full on attack.
“Breath of Life” closes with some of the most outré moments, blending passages of subtle beauty with aggressive processing from Falana’s electronics. The drums get the full treatment, crashing all over themselves. At some point, a radio voice juts in (accidentally?), directly prefiguring countless ambient collages. The vibes and guitar go against the grain, providing more cooling textures not so far off from Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way. It’s a wonderful closer, its final minutes marked by fluttering drum accents and a sense of genuine tenderness.
Drum Dance Ro The Motherland is a lovely record: deep, adventurous, and soulful. Taken at face value, Drum Dance is a precious stone, a joy to discover, and a worthy addition to the catalogue. The open, unhurried dynamic and expressive atmosphere remain as rich and communicative as it was when it was recorded, over four decades ago.
(EXCERPT FROM AN ONLINE REVIEW BY DANIEL MARTIN-McCORMICK)
Khan Jamal: vibraphone, marimba, clarinet
Alex Ellison: drums, percussion
Mario Falana: sound effects
Dwight James: drums, glockenspiel, clarinet
Billy Mills: fender bass, double bass
Monnette Sudler: guitar, percussion