Soul Jazz Records
Soul of a Nation

Soul Jazz Records

Regular price
$58.00 SGD
Regular price
Sale price
$58.00 SGD


A TAV Curator's Pick.

The album shows how the ideals of the civil rights movement, black power and black nationalism influenced the evolvement of radical African-American music in the United States of America in the intensely political and revolutionary period at the end of the 1960s following the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and the rise of the Black Panther party.

Featuring groundbreaking artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Ayers, Don Cherry, Oneness of Juju, Sarah Webster Fabio, Horace Tapscott, Phil Ranelin and many others, Soul of A Nation shows how political themes led to the rise of ‘conscious’ black music as new afro-centric styles combined the musical radicalism and spirituality of John Coltrane and radical avant-garde jazz music alongside the intense funk and soul of James Brown and Aretha Franklin and the urban poetry and proto-rap of the streets.

The Soul of a Nation album comes with extensive sleeve-notes and exclusive photography in a large 36-page outsize booklet and slipcase. Double gatefold vinyl album edition comes with full colour inners + bonus download code and includes full sleeve-notes/photography. – Soul Jazz Records

“These are African rhythms/Passed down to us from the ancient spirits/Feel the spirit!/A unifying force.’ So intones Oneness of Juju, an American group that drew on Afrocentric chants and rhythms, fusing them with Afro-Cuban percussion and pop-friendly R&B song structures. Years on from their polyrhythmic “African Rhythms,” included here, their 1981 disco single “Every Way But Loose” would get spun at the Paradise Garage, showing how the ancients could also boogie. Former Ornette Coleman trumpeter Don Cherry joined forces with the West African group Mandingo Griot Society in the 1970s, presenting a percolating forerunner of world beat and fusion. Jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers’ “Red, Black & Green” harks back to the pan-African flag that Marcus Garvey hoisted back in 1920, its message now set to a glistening vibraphone funk groove. And a heavy tribal drum throbs underneath the poem “Strong Men” by spoken-word artist David McKnight.

The set also shows a shift in African-American jazz in the late 1960s and early ’70s, as artists wrested control from major labels and instead pressed their music up under the model of self-determined black businesses. Chicago’s Phil Cohran, who spent time as a member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and taught Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, released his musical homage to Malcolm X on his own Zulu Records. In Detroit, trombonist Phil Ranelin and fellow musicians established the Tribe label to release their collective output as well as a quarterly magazine. And while Horace Tapscott didn’t found his own imprint, the Nimbus West label was started in order to properly document the music from this unheralded pianist and composer. Tapscott’s “Desert Fairy Princess” is the longest track here and one of the most beguiling: a loose-limbed large-ensemble piece winding from swing to abstraction with ease.

It’s purported that Duke Edwards at one time played percussion in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, but the only album under his own name is a stirring hybrid of spoken word, free jazz, and gospel that asks, Is It Too Late? Across its pensive and mournful 10 minutes, Edwards’ soliloquy looks to the fraught future, and his throat trembles as he wonders what became of the world he once knew. What good is mankind’s progress, Edwards asks, if we lose the little thing called “love our fellow man”? No answer is forthcoming, but as Soul of a Nation reveals, it remains a question vital for a society to ask.” – Pitchfork

Item description:        




Soul of a Nation


Soul Jazz Records


2 × Vinyl, 12", Album



Release Date:



Soul, Funk, Jazz

Catalog No: