JULIUS HEMPHILL — Dogon A.D.

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JULIUS HEMPHILL - Dogon A.D. cover
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Album · 1972

Tracklist

A1 Dogon A.D. 14:30
A2 Rites 8:07
B The Painter 15:00

Total Time: 37:37

2011 CD (Freedom AL 1028) bonus:
4. The Hard Blues 20:07

Line-up/Musicians

Julius Hemphill - alto sax, flute
Baikida E.J. Carroll - trumpet
Abdul Wadud - cello
Philip Wilson - drums

About this release

Mbari Records MPC 501 (US)

Recorded in St. Louis, Missouri in February 1972

Thanks to snobb for the updates

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snobb
Texas-born New York based sax player Julius Hemphill was a significant figure during the heyday of the NY loft free jazz decade, mostly by his collaborations with Anthony Braxton and Lester Bowie, but he also released a series of albums as a leader as well (his compositions are presented on the loft era swansong - the 5 live album collection "Wildflowers: New York Loft Jazz Sessions"). Best known by his most successful project - World Saxophone Quartet, his early solo albums are excellent in their own right.

"Dogon A.D." is a Hemphill solo debut, released on the tiny Mbara label. For decades it was a collectors dream and a barely known album, even for loft jazz fans (Freedom reissue on vinyl from 1977 was quite a rarity as well). In 2011 it was re-released on CD, so it became much easier to acquire. Reissuing this album was a great decision - this best kept secret is almost a masterpiece!

"Dogon A.D." was recorded in the very early 70s, participating future loft jazz stars cellist Abdul Wadud, drummer Philip Wilson (ex-Art Ensemble of Chicago) and trumpeter Baikida Carroll contribute along with Hemphill himself.

Similar to many early 70s loft jazz recordings, this album's music sounds very inspired, but what is even more important - it is very innovative compared to what was happening at that time. Hemphill's strong side has always been composition, and on his debut, he combines the scratchy energy of loft jazz (reducing its loudness) with bluesy melodic roots and classic composition elements. As a result, the albums' three long compositions don't sound like a free jazz chaotic fiesta, but more like a bluesy free form suite spiced with free soloing. The album's opener, "Dogon A.D.", is in fact a free blues rock song (drummer Phillip Wilson, framing it with blues-rock rhythm constructions, played earlier not only with Art Ensemble of Chicago, but with highest class blues team Paul Butterfield Blues Band before joining Hemphill).

Free, but well structured, complex but melodic music some decades later will influence such "new NY avant-garde jazz" stars as Tim Berne. The 2011 CD reissue of Dogon A.D. contains an extra track from the same 1972 session (adding baritone sax player Hamiet Bluiett and future Hemphill colleague in the World Saxophone Quartet).

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