25 Great Black Freedom Albums


Jan 22 2008, 19h57

Over at MAC, we put together a listener's list of 25 great albums from a sub-genre of jazz that we felt evinced sounds of the struggle for freedom in Great Black Music. By design, but not explicitly, there's only one lp per artist or the list cold have been complete with Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Herewith, 25 lps/cds that are free in the Great Black Music sense rather than in the Globe Unity Orchestra sense.

Abdullah Ibrahim - African Space Program (1974)
Albert Ayler - Spirits Rejoice (1964)
Archie Shepp - Magic of Juju (1967)
Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Bap-Tizum (1972)
Billy Harper - Capra Black (1973)
Carlos Garnett - Black Love (1974)
Clifford Thornton - Ketchaoua (1969)
Don Cherry - Complete Communion (1965)
Eddie Gale - Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music (1968)
Frank Lowe - The Flam (1975)
Frank Wright Quartet - Church Number Nine (1973)
George Russell - Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature (1968)
Grachan Moncur III - New Africa (1969)
Human Arts Ensemble - Under The Sun (1973)
Jackie McLean - Let Freedom Ring (1962)
James "Blood" Ulmer - Odyssey (1983)
Joe McPhee - Nation Time (1970)
Julius Hemphill - Dogon A.D.(1972)
McCoy Tyner - Extensions (1970)
Mtume & The Umoja Ensemble - Alkebu-lan (Land of the Blacks)(1972)
Noah Howard - The Black Ark (1969)
Norman Connors - Dance of Magic
Pharoah Sanders - Black Unity (1971)
Sonny Simmons - Music from the Spheres (1966)
Sunny Murray - Sunny Murray (1966)

If we've left off one of your favorites, wander over to the Music Advice Center Jazz Desk and add a few hundred more.

as far as any of the selections I made for this list, I am always willing to discuss why I made such a choice (Art Ensemble's Baptizum as opposed to Phase One or Certain Blacks for example, or McCoy Tyner's inclusion on this list although his music was not overtly political). Ask here, or through pm.


  • beelzbubba

    Those two are fine choices. Where were you when we were putting the list together? I chose Odyssey over Are You Glad because I think the work as a whole stands together. Are You Glad has undeniable moments of brilliance, but some (to me) weak spots. Bill Dixon I always seem to associate more with free as in 100% improv. That's one reason that I didn't put any of the NY Contemporary 5 or Dixon or McIntyre (Ken or Kalaparusha) on there. But they could be.

    Jan 23 2008, 13h35
  • djjazzpants

    great list

    Jan 23 2008, 15h52
  • Cylob

    Totally! If you search the net for Great Black Freedom Albums you won't come close to the above. :)

    Jan 24 2008, 15h25
  • JazzyRandy

    Nice list. Gives me some stuff to go look for.

    Jan 24 2008, 21h23
  • astro1_rohit

    Randy Weston - The Spirits of Our Ancestors should fit the bill..if we were to make another list.

    Jun 27 2008, 15h11
  • Afuera

    Great list.

    Mar 10 2009, 10h37
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