Shamek Farrah

Shamek Farrah is an American alto saxophonist from NYC who released the album First Impressions on Strata-East in 1974, followed by a collaborative disc with pianist Sonelius Smith on said label in 1977. A further album with backup combo Folks appeared on Ra Records in 1980. Discography: First Impressions (1974) The World of the Children […]

Al Williams Quintet Plus One

Al Williams Quintet Plus One were an American avant-garde jazz sextet from Belmont Shore, Calif., led by drummer Al Williams. Select numbers recorded on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of June 1976 comprise the album Sandance, issued that year by small-press Renaissance Records. Members: Nolan Smith (trumpet), Al Williams (drums), Charles Owens (tenor saxophone), Victor […]

The Visitors

The Visitors were an American spiritual jazz combo from Philadelphia that released the album Neptune on Cobblestone in 1972, followed by three further titles on Muse between 1973 and 1976. The band primarily consisted of saxophonist brothers Carl and Earl Grubbs with assorted sideplayers. Members: Warren Carter (trumpet), Edward Crockett (bass), Sid Simmons (piano), John […]

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra

The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra were an American spiritual/free-jazz big band led by pianist/conductor Horace Tapscott. The project yielded two albums on UGMAA in 1978 and a live double-LP on Nimbus West Records in 1979. Members: Adele Sebastian, Archie Johnson, David Bryant, Everett Brown Jr., Herbert Callies, Horace Tapscott, James Andrews, Jesse Sharps, Kafi Larry […]

The Ensemble Al-Salaam

The Ensemble Al-Salaam were an American spiritual-jazz big band from NYC that released the album The Sojourner on Strata-East in 1974. Two sessions during the subsequent five-year period produced the 1979 Nilva Records release Elephant Trot Dance, co-billed to multi-reedist Khaliq Abdul Al Rouf. Members: Khaliq Abdul Al Rouf (flute, piccolo flute, saxophone), Mashujaa Aliye […]

Ndikho Xaba & the Natives

Ndikho Xaba & the Natives were an American spiritual jazz ensemble from San Francisco that released an eponymous album on self-press Trilyte Records in 1971. The band was led by South African-born musician Ndikho Xaba and also included future Ju Ju/Oneness of Juju members Lon Moshe and Plunky. Members: Ndikho Xaba (piano, percussion, horn), Plunky […]


Birthright were an American jazz tentet from Buffalo, N.Y., that released two albums between 1974 and 1976. Members: Joe Ford (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, electric piano), Paul Gresham (tenor saxophone), Nasar Abadey (drums, percussion), Jim Kurzdorfer (acoustic bass, electric bass), Onaje Allan Gumbs (electric piano, piano), Jimmy Manuel (piano), Beverly Simms (percussion, vocals), Greg Millar […]


Oregon are an American ethno-jazz band from Eugene, Ore., formed in 1970. Members: Collin Walcott (percussion, tabla, sitar, dulcimer, 1970-84), Glen Moore (bass, clarinet, viola, piano), Paul McCandless (bass clarinet, oboe, horn, soprano saxophone, synthesizer, wind synthesizer), Ralph Towner (flugelhorn, classical guitar, piano, percussion, 12-string guitar, guitar, Hammond organ), Trilok Gurtu (percussion, tabla, 1987-93), Mark […]

Alice Coltrane

Alice Coltrane (Aug. 27, 1937 — Jan. 12, 2007) was an American spiritual-jazz pianist and harpist from Detroit who released seven albums on Impulse! between 1968 and 1972. Discography: A Monastic Trio (1968) Cosmic Music (1968 • John Coltrane / Alice Coltrane) Huntington Ashram Monastery (1969) Ptah, the El Daoud (1970) Journey in Satchidananda (1971 […]

Ju Ju

Ju Ju were an American spiritual-jazz ensemble from San Francisco that released two albums on Strata-East in 1973 and 1974. The band morphed into Oneness of Juju and released five further albums over the following nine-year period. Members: J. Plunky Branch, Michael “Babatunde Olatunji” Lea (percussion), Al-Hammel Rasul [aka Tony Grayson] (piano), Jalongo Ngoma [aka […]

The Awakening

The Awakening were an American spiritual-jazz ensemble from Chicago that released two albums on the Black Jazz label in 1972 and 1973. Members: Ken Chaney (electric piano, piano, whistle, bells), Frank Gordon (trumpet, flugelhorn), Richard Ari Brown (tenor saxophone, flute), Arlington Davis, Jr. (drums, whistle, bells), Steve Galloway (trombone, whistle, bells), Reggie Willis (bass) Discography: […]

The Heath Brothers

The Heath Brothers were an American avant-garde jazz duo from Philadelphia comprised of drummer Albert Heath (born May 31, 1935) and saxist/flutist Jimmy Heath (born Oct. 25, 1926). Members: Albert Heath (drums), Jimmy Heath (saxophone, flute), Percy Heath (bass), Stanley Cowell (keyboards), Tony Purrone (guitar), Mtume (percussion), Keith Copeland (drums), Akira Tana (drums), Jeb Patton […]

Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson

Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson (born Nov. 11, 1948) is an American trumpeter and composer from Smithville, Tex. Discography: Children of the Fire (1974 • Hannibal Marvin Peterson / The Sunrise Orchestra) Hannibal (1975 • Hannibal) Hannibal in Antibes (1977) Hannibal in Berlin (1977) Live in Lausanne (1978 • Hannibal and the Sunrise Orchestra) Naima (1978) The […]

Byron Morris & Unity

Byron Morris & Unity were an American avant-garde jazz ensemble from N.Y.C. that released two albums on self-press EPI Records between 1974 and 1978. The project developed from a namesake 1972 album by saxist/bandleader Morris and trumpeter Gerald Wise. Members: Byron Morris (saxophone), Vincent McEwan (trumpet), Gerald Wise (trumpet), Jay Clayton (vocals), Mike Kull (piano), […]

Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders (born Ferrell Sanders, October 13, 1940 — September 24, 2022) was an American jazz saxophonist from Little Rock, Arkansas, who cut eleven albums on Impulse! between 1967 and 1974, including the popular 1969 release Karma, recorded with singer–percussionist Leon Thomas and pianist Lonnie Liston Smith. In 1980, Sanders reemerged with Journey to the […]

Sun Ra

Sun Ra — aka Herman Poole Blount (May 22, 1914 — May 30, 1993) — was an American jazz keyboardist, composer, and bandleader from Birmingham, Ala., who released more than 70 albums over a 35-year period, mostly with iterations of his Solar/Science Arkestra. Discography: Jazz by Sun Ra, Vol. 1 (1957) Super-Sonic Jazz (1957 • […]

The Pyramids

The Pyramids are an American spiritual-jazz ensemble from Yellow Springs, Ohio, that released three albums on namesake self-press Pyramid Records between 1973 and 1976. The nameplate was reactivated in the 2010s for a further round of titles on Cultural Odyssey, Strut, and Philophon. Members: Idris Ackamoor [Bruce Baker] (saxophone), Margo Simmons (flute), Kimathi Asante (bass, […]