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clifford_thornton

James Mtume (1946-2022)

36 posts in this topic

The great percussionist, composer, and activist James Mtume has died at 76 -- he'd been ill for a while but it is very sad news. 

Had the fortune of interviewing him for a project that is thankfully still in the works. I learned a ton in speaking with him and speaking with others about him. He was and is a wonderful man.

The 2LP release on Strata-East is a tremendous document and really lights a fire. May he rest in power.

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Bummer. A diverse career, to put it mildly.

RIP.

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A loss.  The Strata-East release really needs CD issue.  It will go 2 CD's anyways, so they could add on his obscure album on Jerry Gordon's. Third Street Records.

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Sorry to hear that. What Jim said. Where and from whom did he learn percussion?

 

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Memories!

 

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58 minutes ago, Dmitry said:

Sorry to hear that. What Jim said. Where and from whom did he learn percussion?

 

in Philly from his uncle Albert "Tootie" Heath.

That's part of the story, anyway.

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7 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

in Philly from his uncle Albert "Tootie" Heath.

That's part of the story, anyway.

Phenomenal! I won't ask any more. Looking forward to reading/listening to your completed project!

 

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Yes, he came up in quite a fascinating environment! Hopefully the story will be able to be told soon enough but feel free to ask questions!

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Heard him with Miles in 1974. Was amazed (as a sixteen year old) at the telepathy going on, how he had his eyes closed when Miles was flashing his hand signals like a catcher to pitcher. He came out a few times to gigs I played with Jimmy. In 1994 we recorded soundtrack to an episode of the cop show NY Undercover, Mtume was producing. A good experience to have. Of course we did Gingerbread Boy.

What Jim said...

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25 minutes ago, Michael Weiss said:

Heard him with Miles in 1974. Was amazed (as a sixteen year old) at the telepathy going on, how he had his eyes closed when Miles was flashing his hand signals like a catcher to pitcher. He came out a few times to gigs I played with Jimmy. In 1994 we recorded soundtrack to an episode of the cop show NY Undercover, Mtume was producing. A good experience to have. Of course we did Gingerbread Boy.

What Jim said...

Yes, the great band with Dave Liebman. Vienna late in 1973, it was on TV also and since  I was still underage and couldn´t go to the concert  at least I saw  it on TV. Those were our heroes, "Lieb", Al Foster, Mtume, Michael Henderson......

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Sorry to hear that. Very diverse artist indeed. Still love the Strata East Release.

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7 minutes ago, Pim said:

Sorry to hear that. Very diverse artist indeed. Still love the Strata East Release.

Did I heard that was getting a rerelease sometime?

It's on YouTube, but I'd like to know what it actually sounds like. (Assuming that the tapes are better quality.)

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9 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

Did I heard that was getting a rerelease sometime?

It's on YouTube, but I'd like to know what it actually sounds like. (Assuming that the tapes are better quality.)

Yeah that is what Clifford Allen told me here on the Organissimo board. I now have a vinyl bootleg which I mostly use for it's cover art in my room as the sound is not so great.

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5 minutes ago, Pim said:

Yeah that is what Clifford Allen told me here on the Organissimo board. I now have a vinyl bootleg which I mostly use for it's cover art in my room as the sound is not so great.

If it's anything like the YT stream, I know what you mean.

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6 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

Yes, the great band with Dave Liebman. Vienna late in 1973, it was on TV also and since  I was still underage and couldn´t go to the concert  at least I saw  it on TV. Those were our heroes, "Lieb", Al Foster, Mtume, Michael Henderson......

Saw Miles around that time at the Tower Theater  Can't tell you for sure who the musicians were, as I was new to jazz and there were no stage announcements and it's been almost 50 years, but I believe Liebman was in the band, and maybe Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas.

Update:  The concert date was March 2, 1973.  Who would have likely been with Miles then?   Stevie Wonder played there 3 weeks later.  Tickets were $4-$6.  The good old days...

Edited by felser

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15 minutes ago, felser said:

Saw Miles around that time at the Tower Theater  Can't tell you for sure who the musicians were, as I was new to jazz and there were no stage announcements and it's been almost 50 years, but I believe Liebman was in the band, and maybe Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas.

Update:  The concert date was March 2, 1973.  Who would have likely been with Miles then?   Stevie Wonder played there 3 weeks later.  Tickets were $4-$6.  The good old days...

Likely:  

Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Lonnie Liston Smith (keyb); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

 

This is personnel listed by Pete Losin of January and April 1973 shows.

 

 

Edited by jazzbo

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18 minutes ago, felser said:

Update:  The concert date was March 2, 1973.  Who would have likely been with Miles then?   

I think you'd have remembered Pete Cosey if he was there, a very distinctive presentence.

per http://www.plosin.com/MilesAhead/Sessions.aspx?s=730113

January 13, 1973 (7 items; TT = 57:10)
Village East, New York NY
Audience recording (B-)

Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Reggie Lucas (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Cedric Lawson (keyb); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

The Davis group and the Paul Winter Consort were booked for two nights at the Village East. These were the first live performances since Davis broke both legs in an automobile accident on October 19, 1972 (NYT report), although there were several studio sessions in November-December.

Despite Davis's immobility, the group continued its live bookings: Toronto (January 24); Michigan State University Auditorium, East Lansing (January 26); Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis (January 28); Tower Theatre, Philadelphia (March 2); Alexander Hall, Princeton University (two shows, March 3). There were also apparently a number of Columbia studio sessions during February, but none of the music from these sessions has surfaced.

Davis was arrested on February 23 on weapons charges.

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R.I.P.

He played some things around 1970 that seemed incredibly fast, with a lighter sound and technique than traditional Cuban conga players. I was a little disappointed that he went so much for disco music, as he had a great potential for jazz with black consciousness. The Strata East double album was very impressive for its vision and the great band he assembled. I recommend McCoy Tyner's Asante album to hear what he could do in a modern jazz context.

R-2385756-1328468547.jpeg.jpg

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10 hours ago, mikeweil said:

 I was a little disappointed that he went so much for disco music, as he had a great potential for jazz with black consciousness.

Understood, but maybe he didn't like starving!  "Alkebu-lan" and "Juicy Fruit" are indeed universes apart.  His reach on the black consciousness music was staggering, though the results always felt less than the sum of the parts to me on the two albums he did as a leader in that style.  The "Alkebu-lan" album clearly could have used rehearsal time, but was likely a one-time event, and glad to have it.  It is expansive, if flawed.  "Rebirth Cycle" is sort of all over the place.  

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"Juicy Fruit" is s classic.

Intetestingly, I have seen just as many online tributes quoting that and his dance oriented music as I have his Jazz contributions, possibly more. He was very highly regarded in that field.

Edited by mjazzg

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17 hours ago, jazzbo said:

Likely:  

Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Lonnie Liston Smith (keyb); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

 

This is personnel listed by Pete Losin of January and April 1973 shows.

 

 

There was a change in Miles´ music in 1973: It started with a band still similar to the "Miles in Concert 1972" and early in 1973 Miles after having broken his legs in a car accident still was unconfortable on stage and had a cast, and keeping Balakrishna, Badal Roy and Lonnie Listen Smith from the "1972 Style" with slight indian touch. Then later he created the style that would last until his retirement in late 1975, where he had the group formed by Lieb, Cosey and Lucas, Mike Henderson, Al Foster and M´tume. So the Vienna Concert late in 1973 was another music than the group in early 1973. After Lieb left, it was Sonny Fortune on alto sax. But the repertory of the group from late 73-75 was quite similar, about the stuff you hear on "Dark Magus", "Agartha" and "Pangaea". That was "our" music when we were 14-16 years old and during school intermission we would do percussion patterns on the tables and seats and one would imitate the wah wah trumpet sound with his voice and bend down, and the others jumped around until after intermission the next lesson would start and the teacher would yell at us to stop. And we bought those huge sun glasses and tried to "act cool". 
It must have been like the kids in the 40´s imitating Diz and so on.....
I remember how all came by when I told at school  that I had got "Pangaea" while the others "only" had "Agartha"...... 
My mother was a bit desparate , she would say "why can´t you bring neatly dressed boys who play nice instruments like let´s say a violin. So, sometimes it was a shambles after they left, and she was unhappy when she saw the signs of beer bottles on the good old Bosendorfer Piano. But...... despite of my livestyle I was blessed to be very good at school  so things like that.....loud music, long haired older guys, beer bottles and cigarettes were tolerated. 

I told you that to give an idea of how it was to be a fan of the so called "New Miles" as older people called it. 

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3 hours ago, mjazzg said:

"Juicy Fruit" is s classic.

Intetestingly, I have seen just as many online tributes quoting that and his dance oriented music as I have his Jazz contributions, possibly more. He was very highly regarded in that field.

Highly regarded / heavily sampled.

I've always seen Kawaida as effectively Mtume's record. He wrote all the tunes.

The Alkebu-Lan record seems to have accrued a cult appeal over the years that is a bit out of synch with what I actually hear on the record. It's all over social media at the moment.

Between that record and Kawaida, he is basically the face of the 'spiritual jazz' explosion.

Edited by Rabshakeh

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3 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

There was a change in Miles´ music in 1973: It started with a band still similar to the "Miles in Concert 1972" and early in 1973 Miles after having broken his legs in a car accident still was unconfortable on stage and had a cast, and keeping Balakrishna, Badal Roy and Lonnie Listen Smith from the "1972 Style" with slight indian touch. Then later he created the style that would last until his retirement in late 1975, where he had the group formed by Lieb, Cosey and Lucas, Mike Henderson, Al Foster and M´tume. So the Vienna Concert late in 1973 was another music than the group in early 1973. After Lieb left, it was Sonny Fortune on alto sax. But the repertory of the group from late 73-75 was quite similar, about the stuff you hear on "Dark Magus", "Agartha" and "Pangaea". That was "our" music when we were 14-16 years old and during school intermission we would do percussion patterns on the tables and seats and one would imitate the wah wah trumpet sound with his voice and bend down, and the others jumped around until after intermission the next lesson would start and the teacher would yell at us to stop. And we bought those huge sun glasses and tried to "act cool". 
It must have been like the kids in the 40´s imitating Diz and so on.....
I remember how all came by when I told at school  that I had got "Pangaea" while the others "only" had "Agartha"...... 
My mother was a bit desparate , she would say "why can´t you bring neatly dressed boys who play nice instruments like let´s say a violin. So, sometimes it was a shambles after they left, and she was unhappy when she saw the signs of beer bottles on the good old Bosendorfer Piano. But...... despite of my livestyle I was blessed to be very good at school  so things like that.....loud music, long haired older guys, beer bottles and cigarettes were tolerated. 

I told you that to give an idea of how it was to be a fan of the so called "New Miles" as older people called it. 

I know there were changes later in the year, but this is the personnel listed for recorded shows during the  time John saw him.

I wish I could have seen him that year! I did on TV.

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