Formed in 1961 with the goal of preserving, developing and performing African-American music, pianist Horace Tapscott is heard in this well-recorded concert from 1998, his last public performance, at LACMA in Los Angeles with a 20 piece orchestra including sax, trombone, a 12 member chorus, three bassists, and 3 percussionists; a significant addition to Tapscott's catalog.
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Label: Dark Tree Records
Catalog ID: DTRS11LP
Squidco Product Code: 29608
Recorded live at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles, California, on July 24th, 1998, by Wayne Peet.
Horace Tapscott-conductor, pianist
Michael Session-soprano saxophone
Ndugu “Jingles” Chandler-vocals
Dwight Trible-director Carolyn Whitaker-vocals
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• Show Bio for Horace Tapscott
"Horace Elva Tapscott (April 6, 1934 – February 27, 1999) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He formed the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (also known as P.A.P.A., or The Ark) in 1961 and led the ensemble through the 1990s.
Tapscott was born in Houston, Texas, and moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of nine. By this time he had begun to study piano and trombone. He played with Frank Morgan, Don Cherry, and Billy Higgins as a teenager.
After service in the Air Force in Wyoming, he returned to Los Angeles and played trombone with various bands, notably Lionel Hampton (1959–61). Soon after, though, he quit playing trombone and focused on piano.
In 1961 Tapscott formed the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, with the aim of preserving, developing and performing African-American music. As his vision grew, this became just one part of a larger organization in 1963, the Underground Musicians Association (UGMA), which later changed name to the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA). Arthur Blythe, Stanley Crouch, Butch Morris, Wilber Morris, David Murray, Jimmy Woods, Nate Morgan and Guido Sinclair all performed in Tapscott's Arkestra at one time or another. Tapscott and his work are the subjects of the UCLA Horace Tapscott Jazz Collection.
Enthusiasts of his music formed two labels in the 1970s and 1980s, Interplay and Nimbus, for which he recorded."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Tapscott)
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1. Fela Fela 14:08
1. Why Don't You Listen? 14:23
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"In every decade since the 1960s, dedicated listeners have called for the world to get hip to the music of Horace Tapscott. In 1963 he formed the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in Los Angeles. Like Chicago's Association For The Advancement Of Creative Musicians (AACM) and St. Louis' Black Artists Group (BAG), Tapscott's collective was formed to serve his local scene. Also, and this is probably more significant, his efforts were focused on community organizing and the empowerment of his people. His music could be heard through the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement, the deaths of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the economic crisis of the 1970s, the L.A. riots of the 1980s, and the continual wars of the 1990s.
There have been sporadic attempts by the music mainstream to draw attention to his music. HatOLOGY released the five star 1989 sessions The Dark Tree 1 & 2 (1999) and there were two Arabesque discs Aiee! The Phantom (1996) and Thoughts Of Dar Es Salaam (1997). Nonetheless, his music (and Tapscott himself) remained a Southern Californian phenomenon and only the small label Nimbus West Records championed his music.
Twenty years after his passing, Bertrand Gastaut's Dark Tree label issued the last date Tapscott performed on before succumbing to cancer. This live recording from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in July 1998 expands his Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra with a twelve-person choir, The Great Voice Of UGMAA (Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension) under the direction of Dwight Trible.
To call this recording monumental is to do it a disservice of understatement. Tapscott's Arkestra with Michael Session (saxophones) and Phil Renelin (trombone) is reinforced by three double bassists and three percussionists. Opening with the instrumental "aiee! The Phantom," the pianist lays a soulful foundation of Gospel and blues-related swing, followed by Tapscott's reinterpretation of Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Cloaked inside a percussive barrage and Trible's vocalese, the familiar tune reveals itself at its own leisurely pace, before detonating with Session's solo.
The true marrow of the evening's performance are the three vocal tracks with The Great Voice of UGMAA choir. "Little Africa" ends with a snippet of "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing"; "Fela Fela" was written for the Nigerian musician and human right activist Fela Kuti, and the title track asks us why didn't you listen (with a capitol 'L') to "Bird and Trane" (Charlie Parker and John Coltrane), "Lady Day" (Billie Holiday), Max Roach, "Moody's Mood and Dizzy Groove" (James Moody and Dizzy Gillespie)-and on and on the roll call continues, reminding us "it's the sound of freedom." "-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
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