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OUTERNATIONAL SOUNDS

Outernational Sounds treat us to a Nimbus West spirit jazz essential: the Creative Arts Ensemble’s classic debut "One Step Out". Mastered at 45rpm on double vinyl for enhanced sound, this release features all tracks at full length for the first time on wax.
One of the most sought after and highly regarded titles to have appeared on Tom Albach’s celebrated Nimbus West imprint, the Creative Art Ensemble’s "One Step Out" is a timeless work of spiritualised jazz. A true gem from the Los Angeles jazz underground, the album was pianist and composer Kaeef Ruzadun Ali’s first recording as leader of the Creative Arts Ensemble, the only large ensemble group that emerged directly from Horace Tapscott’s legendary Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra community jazz group. 
A Los Angeles native, Kaeef was introduced to the Tapscott circle in the late 1970s. His first experience of the Arkestra’s ethos was through PAPA tenorist Michael Session, who took him to the famous ‘Great House’ at 2412 South Western Ave., LA – a large mansion house which members of the Arkestra had taken over as a space for communal living. Life in the Great House was a continuous stream of music, dance and community events. ‘When I walked in there,’ recalled Kaeef, ‘it was like this whole rush came over me, just from going in the front door…It was like a very, very warm feeling of love. I went and I came out with ‘Flashback of Time’, and that was my first arrangement.’
Kaeef quickly became a significant contributor of compositions to the Arkestra’s songbook – his piece ‘New Horizon’ would be recorded by Horace Tapscott for the latter’s Tapscott Sessions series. But ‘Flashback of Time’ would eventually appear on One Step Out, played by the new group he had put together from stalwart Arkestra members. Inspired by both Tapscott’s example and by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Kaeef had wanted to follow their lead by assembling a larger unit. ‘I would like to form a group that would be an extension of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra,’ he told Tapscott. The group was to be known as the Creative Arts Ensemble, and One Step Out, released in 1981 by Nimbus West, was their debut.
Featuring seasoned Arkestra regulars including reedsman Dadisi Komolafe, drummer Woody ‘Sonship’ Theus and altoist Gary Bias, with veterans Henry ‘The Skipper’ Franklin on bass and George Bohannon on trombone, One Step Out is a key document of the Los Angeles radical jazz underground. Featuring the sanctified vocals of Kaeef’s sister, B. J. Crowley, the album is a tour de force of spiritually energised independent jazz music. Community uplift and sacred vision straight from the Great House, back on vinyl for the first time since 1981!
"One Step Out" is released as a limited, 2LP vinyl-only edition. 180g pressing, mastered at 45rpm for enhanced sound. Fully licensed from Tom Albach.

You could be forgiven for not knowing how important saxophonist, bandleader and composer Jesse Sharps is. After all, the only album to come out under his name, Sharps And Flats, was recorded in 1985, and wasn’t issued on CD until 2004.

But despite this seemingly small recorded footprint, Jesse Sharps is a major figure in the history of jazz music in Los Angeles. As the bandleader for Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) – the Marshall Allen to Tapscott’s Sun Ra – he led Tapscott’s seminal music community through its most cohesive phase. And, after a hiatus living in Europe, his return to Los Angeles in the 2000s saw him build a new group, The Gathering, which linked original heads including acclaimed singer Dwight Trible and legendary trombonist Phil Ranelin with a new generation of LA jazz voices, including none other than Kamasi Washington. Sharps has been around, and he’s made an indelible mark.

Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Jesse Sharps spent his childhood in Watts. He first encountered the visionary pianist Horace Tapscott when he was still at high school – the Arkestra were performing on 103rd Street, and when Sharps heard them he knew what his future would be. Tapscott soon invited the young Sharps to rehearsals, where he played baritone. At college, Sharps studied under Cecil Taylor. When he came back to LA he rejoined the Arkestra on flute and reeds, and eventually took over band-leading duties from the great altoist Arthur Blythe. Trusted completely by Tapscott, as bandleader Sharps turned the Arkestra into a well-drilled unit. This was the time of the classic P.A.P.A. recordings Flight 17, Live at I.U.C.C, and The Call, and Sharps also wrote for the band. The funky, deep spirituality of compositions like ‘Desert Fairy Princess’, ‘Macramé’ and ‘Peyote Song III’ has made his tunes among most celebrated in the whole P.A.P.A. catalogue.

Sharps And Flats was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, a label Albach had founded specifically to document the work of Horace Tapscott and his circle. Featuring a quintet of P.A.P.A. regulars at the height of their game, Sharps And Flats is one of the great lost Nimbus sessions – it lay unissued until 2004, and never saw a vinyl press.

In line with the original Nimbus CD release, this edition of Sharps And Flats includes ‘McKowsky’s First Fifth’, a stunning 16 minute bonus cut by the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra featuring Horace Tapscott, recorded in 1979. A lost classic of the LA underground, on wax at last!

Organically funky, laced with avant-garde synth textures, and studded with breakbeats, the second Outernational release is Jeff Resnick’s unique, ultra-rare, 1978 promotional recording for the School for American Craftsmen, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Five tracks of soul jazz and modal fusion — re-modelling Trane, and opening with a variation of Norwegian Wood — by a local group including trumpeter Jeff Tyzik and pianist Sonny Kompanek; then Resnick mostly solo for the second side, when the money ran out, multi-tracking synthesizers on his home set-up, in an engrossing blend of reflective abstraction, grooving electro and spiritualised fourth-world tropicalism.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Everyone loves a record conceived for alternative purposes, and this vinyl advert for the School for American Craftsmen has made an instant impression on the Piccadilly player. Vibrant jazz flows from modal to fusion on the A-side, while the flip sees Resnick go on a solo synth mission into dreamscape jazz and fourth world exotica.


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