BIG BLACK — Elements Of Now!

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BIG BLACK - Elements Of Now! cover
3.50 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 1968

Filed under African Fusion
By BIG BLACK

Tracklist

A1 Elements Of Now 5:56
A2 Low Gravy 2:12
A3 Lady Mack 2:29
A4 La De Da 2:53
B1 Come On And Get It, Baby (If You Want It) 9:28
B2 Burundi Pose 10:22

Line-up/Musicians

Alto Saxophone – Curtis Peagler
Baritone Saxophone – Howard Johnson
Bass – Stan Gilbert
Congas – Big Black
Drums – Billy Moore
Electric Bass – Ron Marshall
Guitar – Charles Mallory, Lesley Hargrove
Piano – Caiphus Semenya
Tenor Saxophone – Herman Riley
Trombone – Maurice Spears
Tuba – Howard Johnson, Ray Draper

About this release

UNI Records – 73018 (US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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js
Big Black is the name for the renowned percussionist who was born under the name Danny Ray. At an early age, Black left his home in Georgia and headed for Florida and the Bahamas so he could learn the conga drum while playing with top musicians in calypso and salsa bands. Returning to the US northeast, Black became a top percussionist in the world of jazz as he performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra, Pharoh Sanders, Eric Dolphy and many others. In the late 60s, when the jazz world was at a sort of experimental peak, he put out a couple albums as a leader. “Elements of Now” is one of those albums and it displays Black’s knowledge and expertise in a variety of African derived rhythms that became popular in Cuba, the Bahamas, the US and elsewhere. Black is joined on here by a small horn section, a couple guitarists, a drummer and a bass player, but the star of the show is Big Black and his African Kongo drum.

This album is all bout the rhythm and features several tracks in that RnB flavored Cuban groove known as boogaloo, a style made popular by Mongo Santamaria. In fact, side one closer, “La De Da”, has enough dance potential that it could have been a hit, but that apparently didn’t happen. Other songs on “Elements of Now” venture into calypso, swing boogie and more pronounced African flavors with closing track, “Burundi Pose”, getting into fairly abstract almost avant-garde territory. If there is a missing link between Sun Ra and Mongo, then this album might be it. There are some horn solos, particularly from the two saxophonists, but also occasional rides from the guitarists and the tuba meisters too. The main feature of this album though is the many percussion breakdowns that feature Black and his drum while the others hold steady patterns, including the guitarists who are masters of the Jimmy Nolan style repeating guitar riff. Fans of Pharoh Sanders, Sun Ra and the more experimental side of Afro-Cuban jazz will find a lot to like here.

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