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Finally remastered, this is one of Smith's most obscure and satisfying early recordings with Kahil El'Zabar, Louis Myers, Joe Fonda, John Powell, Mchaka Uba, & Bobby Naughton.

Smith, Wadada Leo
Procession Of The Great Ancestry

Smith, Wadada Leo: Procession Of The Great Ancestry (NESSA)
Label: NESSA    
Released in: USA    

"An important and long-overdue reissue, this one features the trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith at the peak of his 1980s work. At the time of this 1983 recording, he was crafting his theories later captured by the term Ankhrasmation, but was still very much a product of the ethos (or should we say ethoi) of the AACM, whose motto "Great Black Music - Ancient to the Future" facilitated precisely the kind of syncretic playing heard throughout this Chicago date. With longtime companions Bobby Naughton (whose vibraphone is central to so much of Smith's work from this period), bassist Joe Fonda, and percussionist Kahil El'Zabar, Smith takes in everything from wafting polytonal essays in texture (the title track, dedicated to Miles Davis) to amalgams of reggae and blues (the opening "Jah Jah is the Perfect Love," one of several places where Smith sings as well).

Over the course of these pieces - many of which make up a series of dedications to trumpeters who have inspired Smith - the leader displays his incredible instrumental range. He takes in most of the trumpet's idiomatic associations - a tightly polished mute phrase, a lower register strawberry, a quick clarion post-bop lick - and blends them in a very distinct fashion, tracing a bold line amidst the billowing vibe chords, cymbals and solemn bass heard throughout. His distinctly colorful style is abetted by a truly sympathetic group of improvisers. El'Zabar adds a fantastic bestiary of percussive sound to these pieces; his range and imagination are absolutely crucial to the blend of the ominous and the puckish heard here. A young Fonda is riveting in his bass playing on this track, punctuating certain statements and throwing wrenches into others (he switches to electric on the opener and on "Who Killed David Walker," both of which add second bassist Mchaka Uba and guitarist Louis Myers).[...] "-Jason Bivins, Dusted

"Joe Fonda is a composer, bassist, recording artist, interdisciplinary performer, producer and educator.

An accomplished international Jazz artist, Fonda has performed with his own ensembles throughout the United States ,Canada , Europe and Asia. He has collaborated and performed with such artists as Anthony Braxton ,Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Leo Smith, Perry Robinson, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, , Bill Dixon, Han Bennink, Bobby Naughton, Xu Fengia, Randy Weston, Gebhard Ullmann, Carla Bley, Carlo Zingaro, Barry Altschul, Billy Bang.

Fonda was the bassist with the renowned Anthony Braxton sextet, octet, tentet, from 1984 through 1999. Fonda also sat on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999, and was the President from 1997 to 1999 of the newly formed Tri-Centric Foundation. He has also performed with the 38-piece Tri-Centric orchestra under the direction of Anthony Braxton, and was the bassist for the premiere performance of Anthony Braxton's opera, Shalla Fears for the Poor, performed at the John Jay Theater in New York, New York, October 1996.

As a composer, Fonda has been the recipient of numerous grants and commissions From Meet the Composer New York and the New England Foundation on the Arts . He has released twelve recordings under his own name. (Reviews and recordings available). Fonda was also a member of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Forum directed by Leo Smith, and was the bassist with the American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York City, directed by world renowned tap dancer, Brenda Bufalino.

In 1989, Fonda performed with Fred Ho's Jazz and Peking opera in its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1982 to 1986 Fonda was the bassist and dancer with the Sonomama Dance Company. An independent producer since 1978, Fonda is the founding director of Kaleidoscope Arts an interdisciplinary performance ensemble and is the producer and musicial director for the Connecticut Composers and improvisors Festival from 2001 to 2011.

Currently Fonda has been recording and touring extensively with the Fonda-Stevens Group, Conference Call , The Fab Trio, The Nu Band and Bottoms Out , with performances at the Bim huis in Amsterdam, Holland, Prague Jazz Festival, Czech Republic, Jazz Halo Festival, Belgium, Jazz Festival Thurinsen, Weimer, Germany, Berlin Jazz Festival Berlin Germany , Jazz Im Agusto Festival Lisbon Portugal, Natt Jazz Festival Bergen Norway, The Vision Festival New York, New York, Jazz and More Festival Sibiu Romania, Bakau Jazz Festival ,Azerbijan, Tondela Jazz Festival Tondala portugal , Vancouver Jazz Festival ,Vancouver Canada, Guelph Jazz Festival ,Guelph Canada .

Two of Fonda's most recent projects are From the Source, The Off Road Quartet.

From the Source is a group that incorporates the tap dancing and poetry of Brenda Bufalino and the healing arts of Vicki Dodd, and four jazz musicians. The group has released their first CD entitled, Joe Fonda and From the Source, on Konnex Records.

The Off Road Quartet is comprised of four musicians from four different countries. Ux Fengia from Beijing China , Carlos Zingaro from Lisbon Portugal , Lucas Niggle from Zurich Switzerland and Joe Fonda New York USA. The Off Road Quartet blends the musics from all four of these musicians cultures into a unique musicial and visual experence."

-Joe Fona Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Smith, Leo
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Septet recordings

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Price: $15.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 827020002629

Label: NESSA
Catalog ID: 26
Squidco Product Code: 11344

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded February 28, 1983 Acme Recording, Chicago, Mike Rasfeld-Engineer. Remastered in 2009.


Leo Smith-trumpet, fluglehorn, kalimba, vocal

Bobby Naughton-vibraharp

Joe Fonda-bass

Kahil El Zabar-drums, balafon, kalimba, percussion

Louis Myers-electric guitar

Mchaka Uba-bass

John Powell-tenor saxophone

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Track Listing:

1. Jah Jah Is the Perfect Love 2:53

2. Procession of the Great Ancestry 15:17

3. The Flower That Seeds the Earth 6:13

4. The Third World, Grainery of Pure Earth 8:29

5. Who Killed David Walker? 3:14

6. Celestial Sparks in the Sanctuary of Redemption 8:05

7. Nuru Light: The Prince of Peace 3:12