Sunday, September 23, 2007

Build An Ark

My favorite record of 2004 was an album called "Peace With Every Step" by the collective Build An Ark. With a spiritual, rootsy sensibility, the group created an album of covers and originals hearkening back to the Impulse! sound of the 1970s. Covering Pharoah Sanders and Michael White as well as Detroit's Tribe Records collective, the group achieves a sublime vibe. Standout tracks included the peace anthem Love Is Our Nationality and a cover of the groove standard Always There re-done as a tribute to the departed spirits of jazz musicians who have left this work. The album was first issues in Europe and then Japan, and finally on Plug from the U.S.

Build An Ark is back with their second album, "Dawn" now out on Shaman Work. (Though I picked mine up at Dustygroove, my favorite web CD store.) It's a great record. The highlight is a cover of Big Black's lost treasure Love Is Sweet Like Sugar Cane, featuring the percussionist legend himself. Jason Witherspoon, one of the founders of the Kozmigroov mailing list, turned me on to this song years ago, and I'm ecstatic to hear this new version. Build An Ark captures a lost era: hippy-influenced, spiritual, acoustic, multi-ethnic jazz as graced the Bay Area or New York in the early seventies. They also cover the delicate and beautiful Healing Song from a relatively obscure Pharoah Sanders album. The originals are strong as well.

Build An Ark members include Carlos Nino, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and Dwight Trible, a singer the closest thing we have to a reincarnation of Leon Thomas.

Great work, folks. Good luck with the record.

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