Monday, October 16, 2006

Human Arts Ensemble: Whisper of Dharma

Some info:
Artist: Human Arts Ensemble
Whisper of Dharma

1. Whisper of Dharma
2. A World New

Charles Bobo Shaw - drums, small instruments
Joseph Bowie - trombone, congas, small instruments
Oliver Lake - tenor sax, radong, flute, small instruments
James Marshall - alto sax, radong, wooden flutes
J.D. Parran - tenor and sopranos saxes, bass clarinet, small instruments
Floyd Leflore - trumpet, small instruments
Gene Lake - drums, small instruments
Baikida E.J. Carroll - gong, small instruments

Recorded on October 6, 1972 in St. Louis, MO

Label: Committee for Universal Justice
The crew on this record include the same cats who appeared on the Black Artist Group record I uploaded earlier this month (BAG: In Paris, Aries 1973), augmenting that quintet with additional musicians. Just a bit about the group:
The Human Arts Ensemble was a musical and theatrical cooperative founded in St. Louis, MO, in 1971 by free jazz musicians who had been associated AACM and BAG (Black Artist's Group). Around 1970, public funding began to dry up for arts organizations that were suspected of having ties to radical political groups, and drummer Charles Bobo Shaw had the idea of creating a new artistic co-operative that was open to any person without regard to race. The resulting Human Arts Ensemble was thus able to proceed within a radical political agenda and pursue its unique brand of guerilla theater, yet get the public support it needed to do so.
The first track ("Whisper of Dharma") starts out with the sound of a gong and horns that sound like something out of a Tibetan monastery. Although definitely on a free improv tip, the music is very meditative leaving plenty of open space and utilizing a lot of "small instruments" - you're more likely to hear the sound of a bird chirping than a rollicking jam session. Fits in very well with what Art Ensemble of Chicago and Marion Brown were doing circa 1970. Whereas the first track whispers, the second track screams. The second track ("A World New") is where these cats kick out the jams. The music is LOUD - the birds are still chirping, but over the sounds of hollers, drums, saxes and brass instruments leaving the listener to realize the revolution won't be televised: it's coming right out of the speakers! AEC's "Baptizm" might be a fair reference point for this one.

Personally, this is turning into one of my favorites since I first stumbled onto it a few months ago.

The sound should be good - ripped from vinyl (in very good condition - not many crackles or pops), 192 kbps mp3.

As far as I know, this particular album has never seen a proper cd reissue. Maybe someday.

Download Whisper of Dharma.

Updated 10/20/2006

Download Whisper of Dharma.