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Uhuru Na Umoja (Instrumental)

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Album Review

Uhuru Na Umoja is a fiery 1970 date with Frank Wright leading a bassless quartet with Noah Howard on alto, Bobby Few on piano, and Art Taylor on drums. The tunes (or at least the heads) were composed by Howard: Ayler-esque, simple introductory melodies that quickly blast off to the stratosphere. Wright's gruff tenor contrasts nicely with Howard's sweeter tone, which is not really less intense, just less ferocious. Taylor is really impressive on his first foray into free music from his storied hard bop background, and Few's playing is nothing short of elegant even when the rest of the band is whipping up a storm. There are a number of really pretty moments alongside all the hard blowing (like the intro to "Oriental Mood"), and "Aurora Borealis" achieves that rare combination of freedom and intensity with lyrical, spiritual beauty that's found on so many great Impulse! titles. Fans of '60s-style "energy music" should really check this out.


Born: 09 July 1935 in Grenada, MS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Wright never made much of a name for himself outside the innermost circle of free jazz musicians and fans, yet he was influential in his own subversive way. Unlike Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, or Cecil Taylor -- peers and contemporaries who were the same age or only slightly older -- Wright never recorded even a single record under his own name for a major label; he was "underground" his entire career. Ayler's scalding abstract expressionism was the prime influence on Wright, who transformed it...
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Uhuru Na Umoja (Instrumental), Frank Wright
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