Sunday, September 11, 2011

StLJN Audio Archive:
Human Arts Ensemble - Whisper of Dharma

This week's Audio Archive post comes to us once again from the fine avant-jazz music sharing blog Nothing Is v2.0, and features Whisper of Dharma, a rare album by the Human Arts Ensemble that originally was issued in 1972 on the Committee for Universal Justice label (pictured, above left), and later reissued in 1977 on Arista Freedom (pictured, below left).

The Human Arts Ensemble was an offshoot of St. Louis' Black Artists Group, created as a vehicle for musicians of all races to perform together, while including a core of musicians from BAG. HAE first recorded under the nominal co-leadership of drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw and saxophonist James Marshall, who conceived the idea, and then just Shaw, but from all accounts the group essentially functioned as a musical collective.

Whisper of Dharma was recorded on October 6, 1972 in St. Louis, and features of lineup of players that includes Shaw (drums, small instruments) and Marshall (alto sax, radong, wooden flutes) as well as Joseph Bowie (trombone, congas, small instruments), Oliver Lake (tenor sax, radong, flute, small instruments), J.D. Parran (tenor and sopranos saxes, bass clarinet, small instruments), Floyd Leflore (trumpet, small instruments) and Baikida E.J. Carroll (gong, small instruments). The album also marks the recording debut of Oliver Lake's son Gene Lake, now a respected professional drummer, then just 6 years old and credited on the session with drums and small instruments. Whisper of Dharma includes what in the original LP format were two side-long pieces, the title track and "A World New," and has never been reissued on CD.

To download a copy of the Human Arts Ensemble's Whisper of Dharma, go here, scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on the link that says "Download Whisper of Dharma." That takes you to a Rapidshare page with the download; look for the green button that says "download" and follow the instructions there.

The StLJN Audio Archive links only to recordings that are out-of-print or that never have been commercially available. The purpose of the Audio Archive is encourage discussion, appreciation and knowledge of St. Louis jazz artists, and we encourage you to support them (or their estates) by purchasing authorized recordings and merchandise or, whenever possible, attending live performances.

(Edited after posting to fix a typo.)

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