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Shamek Farrah


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#1 White Lightning

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:33 PM

I've been enjoying his 2 VERY obscure LPs on Strata East for a while now. Nice alto sound, Nice inside-outside playing, nice spiritual Jazz Strata East style.

But who is this guy? where did he come from? Is he still around? Why was he SO underrated and underrecorgnized?

Edited by White Lightning, 08 February 2007 - 04:13 AM.


#2 ep1str0phy

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:47 PM

Can't offer any information, but I'm also a fan of his work. He's got that acidic, piquant tone that I favor among altoists--but there's intellect in that expressivity, and a sure knowledge of groove. It's not groundbreaking music, but it is stirring (in its own way).

#3 Rooster_Ties

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:54 AM

If I might ask, what are the line-ups on his two Strata East dates?? Not at all familiar with him, that I can think of.

#4 White Lightning

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 03:50 AM

If I might ask, what are the line-ups on his two Strata East dates?? Not at all familiar with him, that I can think of.


Shamek Farrah - First Impressions (1974)

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Alto Sax: - Shamek Farrah
Bass: - Milton Suggs
Conga: - Calvert "Bo" Satter-White
Drums: - Ron Warwell
Percussion: - Kenny Harper
Piano: - Sonelius Smith
Trumpet: - Norman Person

Shamek Farrah & Sonelius Smith - The World of the Children (1977)

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Alto Sax - Shamek Farrah
Trumpet - Joseph Gardner
Piano - Sonelius Smith
Bass - Kiyoto Fujiwara, Milton Suggs
Drums - Freddie Wrenn
Percussion - Tony Waters

#5 king ubu

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 03:58 AM

I assume you're talking of Shamek Farrah?

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I heard the first in the blogosphere... would have to listen again to tell you more, it didn't really impress me that much as I remember, but I mgiht have been in the wrong mood when I tried it.

Here's an AAJ review of the first of the three:

La Dee La La
Shamek Farrah and Folks | Quadraphonic Sound Module (2005)
By Rex Butters


Reed player Shamek Farrah ranks with the great unrecorded. Two releases on Strata East in the ‘70s, some for RA, a release in ‘95. The reissue of this 1978 recording for RA by Quadraphonic Sound Module reintroduces a roomful of rarely heard musicians, along with a young Malachi Thompson. Roger Howell’s congas and Lenny King’s percussion give the music a tropical feel, while Saeed Amik’s quick luscious piano harmonies blossom all over the music.

The disc opens with the title track. Preceding the '80s African jazz boom, “La Dee La La” features a lush, easygoing composition and arrangement, not unlike Abdullah Ibrahim’s gentle Cape Town swing. After a bracing acapella chorus intro, pianist Saeed Amir introduces the chords, Lenny King and Roger Howell hit the hand drums, and Ghanniya Green sings the theme. Guitarist Harry Jenson plays silky rhythm, while Farrah’s playful soprano sax composes festive variations. Playing a vocalesque plunger mute, trumpeter Abdullah Khalid makes a soulful statement, followed by Amir’s elegant variations.

Moving into a warmer hemisphere, “Waiting for Marvin” sees Amik’s effervescent piano dance over the joyously grooving rhythm section. Farrah serves ripe alto, twisting through the changes. Thompson romps his full-toned trumpet around the festive sounds, followed by Amik’s cool, refreshing inspirations. The orchestra returns to take it out. Some shuffling on “White Lady” brings Sonelius Smith to the piano chair. Sans percussionists, the band just swings with Farrah taking the first solo. Smith plays chords blocks, as opposed to Amik’s blending shimmer. Thompson soars again, casually taking chances. Smith solos with deliberation, poking out the right handed notes.

Jenson’s limber electric guitar slyly welcomes the listener to “And Along Came Ron Rahsaan.” With King and Howell back, Farrah blows soprano, making way for Marvin Neal’s meaty trombone solo. With Vivian Chandler singing wordlessly, Amik builds a final graceful musical lattice.

Thanks to the all-inclusive reissue mania of the CD format, Shamek Farrah and Folks return to delight a new and larger audience, timelessly, almost thirty years later.


Track listing: La Dee La La Song; Waiting for Marvin; the White Lady; And Along Came Ron Rahsaan.

Personnel: Shamek Farrah, alto sax, soprano sax; Grant Reed, tenor sax; Abdullah Khalid, trumpet; Malachi Thompson, trumpet; Marvin Neal, trombone; Saeed Amik, piano; Sonelius Smith, piano; Hasan Jenkins, electric bass; Kiyoto Fujiwara, acoustic bass; Ron Rahsaan, drums; Ayon Falu, drums; Roger Howell, conga; Lenny King, bongos and percussion; Harry Jenson, guitar; Ghanniya Green, vocal; Vivian Chandler, voca

Style: Modern Jazz/Free Improvisation



#6 White Lightning

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:15 AM

I assume you're talking of Shamek Farrah?


Oops, sorry.. I edited the title.

#7 king ubu

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:55 AM

Note that Malachi Thompson (and again Sonelius Smith) is on "La Dee La La", too! I think he's got one or two soaring solos! He left far too early.

#8 JohnS

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 06:14 AM

First Impressions was in my collection for a while. Didn't find it to be a keeper. I've never come across any of the other discs mentioned above.

#9 Guest_donald petersen_*

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:24 AM

in my limited listening to all three i thought "first impressions" was the best. not sure i would pay the high price for the import CD (strata east vinyl? no way! that would be like $100 bucks) but it's a good one. the other two didn't make such an impression. i should relisten. one song in particular on "first impressions" could be sampled-had a nice piano groove going to open the song.

#10 clifford_thornton

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:00 PM

$100? It's coming down in price, then!

:)

I've not heard these, though for whatever reason, Milton Suggs' presence is always a welcome thing.

#11 relyles

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:27 PM

I met Farrah a couple of times in the late eighties. My father and he were friends and arranged a couple of functions in Brooklyn around that time. I still have copies of some of the cassettes made of those performances, which I transferred to CDR. I don't know much about him other than at the time he was living in Staten Island. Maybe I will give my father a call and inquire what whether he has heard from him recently. They sounded a bit dated to me, but I did enjoy those Strata East LPs.

#12 relyles

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:30 PM

Checked my files and found this information about the Farrah live performances I mentioned.

Farrah, Shamek xx/xx/89 Brooklyn, NY
Shamek Farrah (as), Sonelius Smith (p), Matathius (b), J.R. Mitchell (d). On t4 - Brad Jones (b), Yoron Israel (d), Lenny King (perc), Norman Person (tp), Garry Hammond (ts), Marvin Neal (tb)

Farrah, Shamek/Alvarez, Chico Studio 243, Brooklyn, NY
Shamek Farrah (as), Garry Hammon (ts), Marvin Neal (tb), Luis Monge (p), Harry Anderson (b), Lenny King (timbales), Gene Golden (conga), Chico Alvarez (perc, voc). Recorded in early 1990s.

#13 K1969

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:27 PM

I've not heard these, though for whatever reason, Milton Suggs' presence is always a welcome thing.


I agree. I've only heard Suggs on three LPs - two by Shamek Farrah and one by Byron Morris. I was so impressed that this was still enough to make him one of my favourite bassists. He has a brooding, restless style that contrasts well with Farrah's uncluttered, souring alto. Anyone know anymore stuff by him?

Regarding First Impressions, it's one of my all time favourites and in MHO the best of the strata east label. The title track is also the greatest fusion of funk and free jazz that I've ever heard - even better than AEOC's Theme do Yoyo. It's also beautifully produced/recorded. For someone who likes beats and abstraction together this is a real treasure.

Edited by K1969, 20 February 2007 - 05:42 PM.


#14 webbcity

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 02:31 PM

I too am a big fan of Farrah's two Strata East LPs. But I don't really know anything else about him. First Impressions is not really a rarity, you can buy it here on LP: http://www.vinyl.com...t_id/LPSEAS7412

Also Dusty Groove appears to have Japanese import CDs of both Strata East records. They also have La Dee La La, which I haven't heard, but I'm curious about that one.

I also love the Milton Suggs sound. Apart from these and the Byron Morris LP, the only other recording with him that I know of is this one:

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#15 K1969

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:57 PM

They also have La Dee La La, which I haven't heard, but I'm curious about that one.


It's a kind of laid back fusion of afro caribbean and soul jazz in a large band context. Very nice for Farrah's open, angular alto but not as intense as the Strata stuff with no Mr Suggs supplying the edge. Still worth picking up though. Accurate review here:

http://www.allaboutj...le.php?id=16458

Almost evey time I see this guy's name mentioned, it's accompanied by questions like "Who is he?" and "Where can I hear more?"

#16 K1969

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 05:26 PM

Apparently he's now gone full swing, from Islam to Christianity via drug addiction, and goes by the name Rev. Anthony Domacase:

Rev. Anthony Domacase was born in New York City, New York. He has been playing the alto saxophone for over thirty-nine years. He is a former jazz recording artist who’s recordings have been released on five different record labels around the world. Those record releases are under his stage name “Shamek Farrah”, a name he gave himself while practicing the Islamic religion. While performing as a jazz artist, he developed a drug addiction that almost claimed his life. But, through prayer, God came to his rescue. Through his wife and her pastor, he accepted Jesus Christ in his life, repented and turned from a life of iniquity.

That life of iniquity generated one if the best slices of free funk known to man. His new band is called The Anointed Vessels and his latest release is called Give Thanks. To my great surprise, Milton Suggs ain't on bass: sound samples

He's last on the right in the front row:

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From left to right at back:
Minister Ouida Smith, Minister Belinda Haynes, Minister Sharon Gore, Minister Debra Teel, Minister Trudy Dinkins, Minister Vanessa Burel.

From left to right at front:
Minister Ameyer Adams, Pastor Wanda Roberson-Adams, Minister Anthony Domacase


#17 relyles

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 05:36 PM

Thanks for the update. My father had told me that he relocated to Atlanta several years ago, but my father lost touch with him after that.

#18 Horny Blowsitt

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 06:57 PM

PRAISED BE!!!

---HB

#19 Guest_donald petersen_*

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 04:17 PM

K9-which album are you callin a great side of free funk?
do you literally mean "side" as in side B of "first impressions"?


read your earlier posts-guess so...
the title track is tight.
first side of the album is kind of meh.

Edited by donald petersen, 28 February 2007 - 04:18 PM.


#20 K1969

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 07:18 AM

K9-which album are you callin a great side of free funk?
do you literally mean "side" as in side B of "first impressions"?


read your earlier posts-guess so...
the title track is tight.
first side of the album is kind of meh.


Yes I'm referring to all of side B of First Impressions but especially the title track which just just stands out there on it's own. Hard to label it. That said I quite dig side 1 too but it's definately not funky

#21 Niko

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:52 PM

Rev. Anthony Domacase was born in New York City, New York. He has been playing the alto saxophone for over thirty-nine years. He is a former jazz recording artist who’s recordings have been released on five different record labels around the world.


Strata East, Strata East, Strata East, Strata East, Strata East?
anyone know how to count those five?
(plus, a used cd shop here has children of the world on cd for 12 euro... should i pick it up?)



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