Idris MUHAMMAD – Black Rhythm Revolution, Peace & Rhythm Music 1970-1971

Idris MUHAMMAD – Black Rhythm Revolution, Peace & Rhythm Music 1970-1971
1992 Issue.


An excellent drummer who has appeared in many types of settings, Idris Muhammad became a professional when he was 16. He played primarily soul and R&B during 1962-1964 and then spent 1965-1967 as a member of Lou Donaldson’s band. He was the house drummer at Prestige Records (1970-1972), appearing on many albums as a sideman. Of his later jazz associations, Muhammad played with Johnny Griffin (1978-1979), Pharoah Sanders in the 1980s, George Coleman, and the Paris Reunion Band (1986-1988). He has recorded everything from post-bop to dance music as a leader for such labels as Prestige, Kudu, Fantasy, Theresa, and Lipstick.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
Two classics from the legendary Idris Muhammad! Black Rhythm Revolution is one of the first records ever as a leader from funky drummer Idris Muhammad — a set that was cut right at the same time Idris was burning up the kit on his classic jazz funk sessions with other Prestige label players! The groove here is tight, funky, and very much in the mode that Muhammad laid down for other bigger soloists — a solid, socking sound that was the early 70s inheritance of the “Popcorn” funk groove of the late 60s. Players here are all great — and include Melvin Sparks on guitar, Harold Mabern on electric piano, and Virgil Jones on trumpet — and tracks include great covers of “Express Yourself” and “Super Bad”, plus “Wander” and “Soulful Drums”. Peace & Rhythms is a wonderful departure from Muhammad — and proof that he could do a lot more than just provide heavy breaks for Lou Donaldson and Melvin Sparks! This set is surprisingly spiritual and righteous at points — with a groove that’s almost more like Strata East than some of Muhammad’s previous work as a sideman on Blue Note and Prestige. Side one features the extended “Peace and Rhythm Suite” — a beautiful cut that’s filled with searching, soaring energy — and side two includes two vocal cuts “Brother You Know You’re Doing Wrong” and “I’m a Believer”, both sung by Sakinah Muhammad — plus “Don’t Knock My Love”. Players are all great — and a nicely different lineup than the usual Prestige jazz funk gang.
From Dusty Groove.
The album’s title has more to do with the politics of its day (1972) than with the music; there’s not much that’s revolutionary going on here. In fact, the first track, the nine-minute By the Red Sea, is a downright placid piece of soul samba, and the follow-up, a cover of James Brown’s Super Bad, reduces the original’s intensity into a coolly percolating groove. And frankly, for a session led by the drummer, this is not a particularly rhythm-heavy set. Even the cover of Jack McDuff’s Soulful Drums is curiously restrained, with some odd arrhythmic playing by Muhammad in counterpoint with Virgil Jones’ trumpet and Clarence Thomas’ soprano sax. Black Rhythm Revolution is not a bad album at all; in fact, most of the tracks are good to great, with the lengthy bookends By the Red Sea and Wander both featuring memorable grooves and tight, compact solos. It’s just considerably less intense than the title might lead one to believe. Parts of the second solo album by Prestige Records’ house drummer, Idris Muhammad, are an even poppier affair than Black Rhythm Revolution, with a mellow soul-jazz feel replacing the slight Latin tinge of the earlier album. Side one is downright crossover, with its two pieces of positive-thinking pop (the lyrics, by Muhammad, are sung by his wife, Sakinah Muhammad) separated by a loose but faithful take on Wilson Pickett’s Don’t Knock My Love. That’s just side one, though. Side two is something much weirder and far more interesting. The Peace and Rhythm Suite is a side-long suite consisting of two long, spacy compositions that predate the ambient house scene by nearly two decades yet sound entirely of a piece with that style. Long, droning, sustained chords on a variety of wind and reed instruments float above Muhammad’s percussion, which ebbs and flows in a free, almost arrhythmic way through most of the piece. Fans of the Orb or Brian Eno will find it an old hat, but for early-’70s jazz, this was downright revolutionary. ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide.
Idris Muhammad- (Drums, Auto Horn, Cabassa and Gong)
Virgil Jones- (Trumpet)
Clarence Thomas- (Tenor and Soprano Sax, Flute and Bells)
Harold Mabern- (Electric Piano) – 1-5
Kenny Barron- (Electric Piano) – 6-10
Melvin Sparks- (Guitar) – 1-5,8-10
Jimmy Lewis- (Bass Guitar) – 1-5,8-10
Ron Carter- (Bass) – 6-10
Buddy Caldwell- (Conga)
Willie Bivins- (Vibes) – 6,7
Angel Allende- (Percussion and Timbales) – 6,7
Alan Fontaine- (Guitar) – 8-10
Sakinah Muhammad- (Vocals) – 8-10
Black Rhythm Revolution:
01. Express Yourself (Charles Wright) 5:28
02. Soulful Drums (Jack McDuff) 4:42
03. Super Bad (James Brown) 5:31
04. Wander (Idris Muhammad) 11:11
05. By the Red Sea (Idris Muhammad) 8:56
Peace & Rhythm:
06. Peace (Idris Muhammad) 11:57
07. Rhythm (Clarence Thomas) 6:00
08. Brother You Know You’re Doing Wrong (Sakinah Muhammad) 5:42
09. Don’t Knock My Love – Part 1 (Wilson PickettBrad Shapiro) 4:55
10. I’m A Believer (Sakinah Muhammad) 5:19

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