Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The second of the two records released by the Human Arts Ensemble on their own 'Universal Justice' label, and later re-issued on Arista/Freedom.
The first, 'Whispers of Dharma' is more trippy and 'eastern meditative' sounding, whilst 'Under The Sun' - while not forgoing these elements - is more of a 'groove' record.
Most importantly, it has free-jazz harmonica on it (a disturbing new theme in my posts - free-jazz harmonica...)
It also has Marty Ehrlich's first appearance on record (rarely mentioned).
Carol Marshall, James Marshall's then-wife, contributes wordless ululating 'cosmic' scat singing that may bring to mind for some the "space whisper" of Gilli Smyth in early Gong.
'Star guests' (see back cover) are Lester Bowie and Oliver Lake.
But really, it's an ensemble piece: - 2 big side-long groove-based compositions with simple themes to launch and recapitulate the action
I always wondered about the "Featuring C Bobo Shaw" that has plastered the cover of not only this, but many a Human Arts Ensemble release. Was Shaw such an egoist that he insisted on a "marquee listing" - or was it expected by the record company that "Featuring C Bobo Shaw!" was a serious drawing-card for the kids of America? ("Say Mom - THIS is the one I wanna spend my pocket money on - it's got C Bobo Shaw on it!!"..)
The "Featuring C. Bobo Shaw" on the front of this record is actually a sticker - the thought of drafting up an order to the sticker-manufacturers and then having someone on the pressing plant actually stick them on (thousands and thousands of them) - sort of blows my mind. I think it's fair to say, nothing like it would happen nowdays.
Of course, no major record company would put out a record like this nowdays either.
The much more austere (NON stickered, but pleasingly purple) 'Univeral Justice' issue can be seen here - http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=918460 The one pictured is from the Second Pressing run of 1000 copies. The first run (of 500) on Universal Justice presumably having sold out.
I've never seen a copy of either in the flesh, although the later Arista/Freedom version was cut-out and sold cheap by the truckload.
So this is not a rare record, although it is an enjoyable one.
MP3s have been posted at various places in the past (Nothing Is, Inconstant Sol...) - but this is FLACs - from clean vinyl. If anyone really wants an MP3 upgrade, then yell out - otherwise I'll leave it just FLAC.
Founding member James Marshall continues to lead an ensemble under the Human Arts Ensemble name based out of Tucson Arizona.
A last side-note: - From the LP jacket -
"A Lover's Desire: - A free music symphony based on an Afganistan folk melody 'Lover's Desire' (Folkways FE4361) transcribed from Radio Kabul. "
This same release is STILL available on Folkways (now Smithsonian Folkways), and can be seen here http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=794
I like that...