Black Unity Trio - Al - Fatihah (1971)

Artist: Black Unity Trio

Album: Al-Fatihah

Label: Salaam 777A

Year: 1971

Genre: Jazz

Sub-Genres: Free Jazz, Spiritual Jazz

A very rare, limited, and often times only available to buy at auction for $1,000 or more kind of album.  Desperately in need of a reissue, this is one of the holy grail albums of jazz collectors.  The music therein justifies all of this.  A one off pressing on the Oberlin, OH based Salaam Records, a "label" created by the band themselves.  The recording itself is relatively brief, clocking in around 35 minutes, with many unrelenting moments of this (sounding larger than a) trio blasting through dense pieces of pure free jazz.  This record is also based around the group members conversion to Islam, and the burgeoning of the afro-centric cultural movement, as the name and images suggest.  There are many classic "spiritual jazz" moments as well, with more atmospheric playing and light chanting based around the tenets of Islam.  A very profound, heavy, and often ecstatically noisy record that remains an all-time obscure classic.  Only cellist Abdul Wadud would go on to have a career in music, but he and altoist Yusuf Mumin and percussionist Haasan-Al-hut certainly hit a homerun on their first swing.  Next time you see it on eBay, skip that rent payment and put it towards this.

-Mehitabel Grimalkin


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