Saturday, January 1, 2022

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Jim O’Rourke, All Kinds of People Love Burt Bacharach
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Late String Quartets (LaSalle Quartet) (disc 1)
  • Black Unity Trio, Al-Fatihah
  • Joe Henderson, Inner Urge
  • Jim O’Rourke, Muni / Michel Piccoli
  • Jim O’Rourke, All Kinds of People Love Burt Bacharach
  • Eiko Ishibashi, The Dream My Bones Dream
  • Trust Obey, Hands of Ash
  • Los Alamos Grind! (Numero Group)

Black Unity Trio, Al-Fatihah

Al-Fatihah was originally issued in 1969 in Cleveland by the musicians themselves. It was recently remastered from the original tapes and is available on Bandcamp.

Initially I wanted to hear it because I want to hear every early free-jazz obscurity. (Or die trying, and what a way to go!) But also, one member of the trio was cellist Abdul Wadud, a truly exceptional musician who made an amazing, much-cherished solo LP, long out-of-print and never reissued. Wadud threatens — in his fundamentally gentle and unassuming way — to steal the show on almost record he plays on. He is alive today, but he hasn't played on any records at all since the 1990s; see this 2014 interview.

But to get back to Al-Fatihah, it turns out to be a very fine record all around, not just a curiosity or a showcase for Wadud. It’s too bad it wasn’t issued on ESP-Disk, as the musicians initially hoped, or we’d have known about it all these years.

The Wire has published a fascinating interview with the trio’s drummer, Hasan Shahid. It’s full of vivid detail about what it was like trying to play free jazz in Cleveland in the 1960s. It was, as you might expect, an uphill battle, to say the least. (And yes, there are Albert Ayler anecdotes.)

The reissue is recommended for ESP-Disk heads, early-Joe-McPhee fans, and anybody who’s caught the Abdul Wadud bug (from the solo record, or a Julius Hemphill or Arthur Blythe album, or anywhere else).


  1. Don't know if you are taking comments, and to be honest the blog looks better without them :) , but wanted to let you know that indexofmetals has been both a fascination (as a list-lover) and a great source of suggested listening ... it's had a direct impact on my purchasing and listening (too much to go into, but off the top of my head, two examples: I'd never bothered with Autechre before, now I'm been exploring their discography in depth with great pleasure –– I'd already been smitten with the Roland Kayn reissues/issues and Olivia Block's always-surprising work, and it's stimulating to compare my own paths through their recordings with the ones that you've been listening to. Always a great enjoyment watching your in-depth explorations of certain mainstream and not-mainstream rock/pop records that I've spent my life with (and some that, like Autechre, I'd not yet spent any time with at all.) Like many, I first saw your name at your Jandek site, which was a great early internet resource for the information about the pre-live Corwood releases that I'd started sporadically consuming in the late 80s. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy the lists and format –– I am leaving a comment on this post specifically because of your uncharacteristic inclusion of a capsule review of the Black Unity Trio reissue ... I know some of Abdul Wadud's recordings, but was unaware of this historic recording until today; based on what I know of your taste, I'm heading over to bandcamp now to pick this up as a digital DL (which I am happy to pay the premium price for, plus a little extra, for the reasons that Gotta Groove gives.) Happy new year and take care in 2022!

  2. I’m taking comments! Thanks for letting me know you’re reading. My new year’s resolution this year is to include some writing with every post, even if it’s just a sentence or two.