Thursday, July 29, 2010

Idris Muhammad - Black Rhythm Revolution & Peace and Rhythm

The album's title has more to do with the politics of its day (1972) than with the music; there's not much that's revolutionary going on here. In fact, the first track, the nine-minute "By the Red Sea," is a downright placid piece of soul samba, and the follow-up, a cover of James Brown's "Super Bad," reduces the original's intensity into a coolly percolating groove. And frankly, for a session led by the drummer, this is not a particularly rhythm-heavy set. Even the cover of Jack McDuff's "Soulful Drums" is curiously restrained, with some odd arrhythmic playing by Muhammad in counterpoint with Virgil Jones' trumpet and Clarence Thomas' soprano sax. Black Rhythm Revolution is not a bad album at all; in fact, most of the tracks are good to great, with the lengthy bookends "By the Red Sea" and "Wander" both featuring memorable grooves and tight, compact solos. It's just considerably less intense than the title might lead one to believe. - by Stewart Mason, AMG
Arts of the second solo album by Prestige Records' house drummer, Idris Muhammad, are an even poppier affair than Black Rhythm Revolution, with a mellow soul-jazz feel replacing the slight Latin tinge of the earlier album. Side one is downright crossover, with its two pieces of positive-thinking pop (the lyrics, by Muhammad, are sung by his wife, Sakinah Muhammad) separated by a loose but faithful take on Wilson Pickett's "Don't Knock My Love." That's just side one, though. Side two is something much weirder and far more interesting. "The Peace and Rhythm Suite" is a side-long suite consisting of two long, spacy compositions that predate the ambient house scene by nearly two decades yet sound entirely of a piece with that style. Long, droning, sustained chords on a variety of wind and reed instruments float above Muhammad's percussion, which ebbs and flows in a free, almost arrhythmic way through most of the piece. Fans of the Orb or Brian Eno will find it an old hat, but for early-'70s jazz, this was downright revolutionary. - by Stewart Mason, AMG

Artist: Idris Muhammad
Album: Black Rhythm Revolution/Peace & Rhythm
Year: 1971
Label: Beat Goes Public (1992)
Total time: 69:46

1.  Express Yourself (Charles Wright) 5:28
2.  Soulful Drums (Jack McDuff) 4:42
3.  Super Bad (James Brown) 5:31
4.  Wander (Idris Muhammad) 11:11
5.  By the Red Sea (Idris Muhammad) 8:56
6.  Peace (Idris Muhammad) 11:57
7.  Rhythm (Clarence Thomas) 6:00
8.  Brother You Know You're Doing Wrong (Sakinah Muhammad) 5:42
9.  Don't Knock My Love - Part 1 (Wilson Pickett/Brad Shapiro) 4:55
10.  I'm A Believer (Sakinah Muhammad) 5:19

Idris Muhammad (Drums, Auto Horn, Cabassa and Gong)
Virgil Jones (Trumpet)
Clarence Thomas (Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Flute and Bells)
Harold Mabern (Electric Piano) - 1-5
Kenny Barron (Electric Piano) - 6-10
Melvin Sparks (Guitar) - 1-5,8-10
Jimmy Lewis (Bass Guitar) - 1-5,8-10
Ron Carter (Bass) - 6-10
Buddy Caldwell (Conga)
Willie Bivins (Vibes) - 6,7
Angel Allende (Percussion and Timbales) - 6,7
Alan Fontaine (Guitar) - 8-10
Sakinah Muhammad (Vocals) - 8-10


  1. Thanks for posting this! The track 'I'm a believer' is pure bliss! Been looking for a good quality copy! Pass is no prob either! Cheers



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