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25 Sep 2016

Brother Ah “Move Ever Onward” 1975 US Indo-Prog/Raga Rock ,Space Age,Soul Jazz.









Brother Ah “Move Ever Onward” 1975 US  Indo-Prog/Raga Rock ,Space Age,Soul Jazz.
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North Carolina afro jazz artist, Brother Ah (playing trumpet, flute, jazz French horn.) made a name in the late sixties thanks to a clever and innovative use of non-western music. During this crucial period he started studies of Indian and Japanese music. In 1970 is written “Sound Awareness” (published 5 years later). It’s an impressive medley of free jazz improvisations, hand percussions, eastern buzzing sitar drones and voices. This release features an obvious meditative, enchanting “cosmic” atmosphere. This afropsychedelica manifest is followed “Move Ever Onward” (originally released in 1975 privately) which carries on the same ritualistic, spiritual acclamations but with less emphasis on experimentations. An important material for those who enjoy East meets West musical experiences. ….

This isn’t quite what one would expect from a man in Sun Ra’s orbit. Quite frankly, this is mannered music, composed and arranged in side-long suites, sort of an African-tinged Porgy & Bess. The powerful voice of Aiisha kicks off each side with a sort of lyrical narration – you know the sort: lots of images of cotton fields and hot baked streets, fairly typical for this sort of ‘60s ensemble. What isn’t as typical is the instrumentation. Besides the expected African percussion, koto and other Asian instruments (including a sitar) are heard. One of the most affecting pieces might be “Celestial Strings,” a duet of koto and kora backed with tumbling percussion. Like most of the album, the effect is subtly jarring and just different enough to be unique…by allmusic…..

The renowned French horn player known as Brother Ah (aka Robert Northern) is one of the most prolific and respected musicians in the history of jazz music, with a recorded output spanning more than 30 years.

Born in 1934 and raised in the south Bronx, Brother Ah was playing jazz trumpet as early as fifteen years of age. Following a classical French horn education at Austria’s Vienna State Academy, he emerged in the late ‘50s and established himself as a skilled and consistent session musician, playing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and numerous Broadway theater orchestras.

Brother Ah recorded well into the ‘60s with some of the most illustrious names in the genre, including Donald Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Gil Evans and, perhaps most influentially, Sun Ra. In 1969, Ah formed his own group, the Musical Sound Awareness Ensemble, and released several works under his own name from 1974 onward. In the late ‘60s, his interest in non-western music developed, and his ‘70s recordings, incorporated elements of Eastern and “Third World” music, fusing them with jazz structures.

In 1975, Ah released his second LP, Move Ever Onward on his own label, Divine Records. A more straightforward affair, the record infused Indian, Japanese and African folk music elements into more traditional jazz structures than Ah’s debut LP. Of its eight tracks, four include vocals by the artists Dara, Aiisha, Kwesi Gilbert Northern and Ayida Tengemana. The instrumental tracks provide more colorful moments, such as the cacophonous percussion on “Boundless Rhythm” and the hypnotic kora and koto notes on “Enthusiasm” and “Celestial Strings”. …

Ex Sun Ra band member Brother Ah back with an early 80’s sensual, beautiful melodic and groovy album combining the best of buesy / jazz standards to classical “eastern” music, “exotic” acoustic instrumentations. “Motherless Child” is soul music, including a plaintive bluesy flavour sung by a powerful, melodic and tragic woman voice. The song is accompanied by an harp / flute duet. In “Sekou” , the traditional afro tendance of the band is more evident, featuring ethno percussions, funky bass lines. The title track expresses a the mellow fusion jazz side of the band, writting as a ballad with ravishing female vocals, afro grooves. Among their most accessible effort and not their best despite that is perfectly performed, with lot of passion and a good technical background. It’s an important “world jazz” essay for collectors and could be a nice musical exploration for progressive fans. I’m almost sure that classic jazz fans would give 4 or 5 stars. According to me their best remain the freaked out “Sound Awareness” and the adventurous “Move ever Onward”. …

“The music and images came to me during deep meditation. As I was transcending, I felt as though I was leaving my body. I began to hear celestial ascending soft music…I began to hear loud voices, powerful rhythms, and birds. I felt as though I was being asked profound questions. I began to confess to the ancestors my lack of faith in accepting my musical spiritual journey.”

So writes Robert Northern, under the name “Brother Ah,” in the liner notes to the new reissue of Sound Awareness, his debut solo recording. Originally released on the Strata East label in 1972, the record is reissued this week by Manufactured Recordings alongside his 1975 LP Move Ever Onward and 1983’s Key to Nowhere. Containing searching spiritual jazz, long atmospheric passages, and African, Indian, and Asian influences, the trio of records serve as in introduction to Brother Ah’s work, prefacing a forthcoming 3LP collection of unreleased material to be released by Manufactured.

Classically trained in his youth, Brother Ah played with the top players of the jazz vanguard — among them Donald Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Gil Evans — and joined up with the Sun Ra Arkestra. In 1969 he formed his own group, inspired by his time with Ra and “sound awareness” visions, issuing a series of remarkable albums. Sound Awareness, begins with proto-New Age swells of sound, punctuated by Brother Ah’s French horn, and concludes with the rousing “Beyond Yourself,” a seven-part epic featuring Max Roach rapping about the power of love as the M’Boom percussion ensemble rattles behind him and Brother Ah leads a 90-voice choir. With Move Ever Onward, Brother Ah and his ensemble shifted into more conventional, but no less deep, spiritual jazz waters, featuring poetry, sitar, and “space beam” (whatever it is, it sounds wonderful). Key to Nowhere continues with the cosmic poetry, vocalist Nataska Hasan Yousssef reciting the words of Brother Ah’s wife and collaborator Kwesi Northern.

Brother Ah went on to a long career of teaching and to host the influential radio show The Jazz Collectors on WPFW. His music, from this especially fertile time in the ’70s and ’80s, still resonates, his goal of enlightening listeners “to the potential of sound and its capability to enhance healing” echoing some three or four decades later. words ….

Cosmic righteousness from Brother Ahh – an enigmatic musician who worked briefly with Sun Ra, and continued an exploration of the sonic heavens on his own! This rare 1975 album features Ahh’s Sound Awareness ensemble – a 25 piece group that features a host of voices set to percussion, flutes, and other intimate and evocative instrumentation. The feel’s quite hard to describe – kind of a cross between Sun Ra and Moondog, with the righteous style of vocalization that you might find on some of the Max Roach experiments with voices, recorded in the relaxed and expressive style of the early AACM – all of which means it’s a great little record, with a very striking approach. In 1975, Ah released his second LP, Move Ever Onward on his own label, Divine Records. A more straightforward affair, the record infused Indian, Japanese and African folk music elements into more traditional jazz structures than Ah’s debut LP. Of its eight tracks, four include vocals by the artists Dara, Aiisha, Kwesi Gilbert Northern and Ayida Tengemana. The instrumental tracks provide more colorful moments, such as the cacophonous percussion on 'Boundless Rhythm’ and the hypnotic kora and koto notes on 'Enthusiasm’ and 'Celestial Strings’ ….

Line-up / Musicians

- Brother Ah / Conductor, drums, flute, french horn, sitar, nature sounds
- Eugene Cooper / Bass (2)
- Pat Patrick / Clarinet, saxophone [Tenor], woodwind [Shawn]
- John Belcher / Congas, drums
- Mbutu* / Congas, drums, tabla
- Omowale / Drums, african drum
- Steve Solder / Drums, oboe
- Ras Karby / Drums, kiti kup
- Olu / Electric piano, piano (3)
- Lance Dozier / Flute, pan flute
- Kufu Ptah / Gong, percussion, shakuhachi, space beam
- Ayida Tengemana / Guitar, vocals (5)
- Obowale / Guitar, percussion
- Dara / Kora, percussion (4), vocals (1)
- Barbara Mc Cloud / Koto
- Branice Inemugo Williams / Koto
- Carolyn Davis / Koto
- Elssi Atiba / Koto
- Harold Lucious / Koto
- Kamau / Performer (soloist) (3)
- Kassin / Performer (2)
- Khadijah / Performer
- Kwesi Gilbert Northern/ Performer (3), vocals (4)
- Alfred Wade, Jr. / Tambourine
- Aiisha / Vocals (2, 8)

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nature’s Children (6:04)
2. Transfiguration (9:37)
3. Enthusiasm (4:48)
4. Spirits In The Night (6:38)
5. Transcendental March (Creation Song) (3:31)
6. Boundless Rhythm (5:05)
7. Celestial Strings (8:28)
8. Sweet Illumination/Chile Woman (9:25)

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