Via Tramp Records:
From 1963 to 2014: “Peace Chant – raw deep and spiritual jazz” exhibits 51 years of music. A well matched anthology with sounds to dive into, hard rhythms to dance to and vocals to meditate on.
The Tramp Records crew has compiled 16 tracks in nice order and dramaturgy. Some tunes you might have never heard before unless you own one of the rare original vintage vinyl records. Peace Chant is released on two separate LPs with own catalogue numbers and on one CD. Some songs I can’t get out of my mind:
The previously unreleased “Don’t Give Up Your Smile Today” is opening the compilation. It’s from Das Goldene Zeitalter, a band that didn’t survive – but whose members had a huge influence on German jazz, soul, afrobeat and funk within the last years merging into groups like The Poets of Rhythm, The Whitefiled Bros., and The Malcouns. Boris Geiger aka. Bo Baral sings a Pharoah Sanders like tune, his voice deeply resonating, the rhythm section heavily grooving.
After the first three woolly recorded tracks Walt Bolen’s “Peace Chant” with its dry and funky sounds with flute, two guitars and percussion is quite a pleasure to listen to. Organ and voice are Bolen’s who used to play the keys in San Fernando Valley church when he was a child. “Peace Chant” was recorded for his own Ar-Que label in 1972 and is one of the few cuts with him as a leader. He has played sessions and clubs for years and today he is sitting at the church organ again.
This publication’s oldest recording dates back to 1963: “Mozambique” by Luna Brothers Trio, a Caribbean and hypnotic instrumental. For my jazz trained ears it is rather unusual that the güiro (the gherkin played with a stick) is being played throughout the entire song. Heavily laid back cowbell, concas and timbales and the slightly detuned piano are wonderful! “Mozambique” sounds like from another star but its origin is Los Angeles, where the brothers Fred and Ricardo Luna had their night club band. You could imagine a bast skirt strip and at the same time the great Raumpatrouille (Space Patrol) landing on German B&W TV screens in 1966.
Hōzan Yamamoto recorded crime jazz with the Japanese bamboo flute shakuhachi. He belonged to Tony Scotts “Music for Zen Meditation” in 1964, played with Ravi Shankar, avant-garde jazz bassist Gary Peacock and appeared at Donaueschingen Festival for contemporary music. Tokio university’s open minded lecturer recorded the funky and modal “Spotlight on Sapporo” in 1972.
These days Mabon Dawud Quintet from Ethiopia is on the trail of Mulatu Astatke. Tramp Records provides the first release of “Abeba” – a funky and stoic track in Amharic mother tongue sung by a high male lamenting voice.
Even more haunting is “Ain’t Gonna Wait Too Long” by Thomas Meloncon. The self-taught guitar player recorded this protest song at the age of 20. Voice, guitar, congas and double bass are plenty enough for a heavily pushing song complaining that black man’s slavery isn’t gone after 400 years. Artist, poet and civil right activist Meloncon (alias Muntu Mwaminifu) wrote and directed theatre and radio plays. His works are collected at Texas Southern University in Houston. “Ain’t gonna wait too long” probably is his earliest artistic outing, he just had left school in 1968.
The compilation concludes with a song by Now, a band no one outside Munich might know. “Easy Tune for Dancing” can be found on a record of cultural and concert location Feierwerk form 1990. It really was a surprise to hear the quintet of trumpeter Konstantin Kern and Klaus Pfister on sax playing Afro-Cuban jazz that easily and nonchalant. If Dizzy Gillespie turned up with his bent trumpet and Lalo Schifrin sat in like he did on “Gillespiana Suite” I wouldn’t be astonished!