Saturday, October 15th – 7:30-10 pm
Idris Ackamoor ☥ the Pyramids
We Be All Africans – the new album!
bon voyage show! hosted by Rhodessa Jones
last chance to hear The Pyramids before their European tour
jazz club! when lights are low…
Featuring Idris Ackamoor on saxophones; Sandy Poindexter, violins and vocals; Skyler Stover, acoustic and electric bass; Sandor Moss, drums; Raul Ramirez, congas & drums; Bobby Cobb, guitar. Hosted by Rhodessa Jones.
Idris Ackamoor continues his intergalactic musical odyssey with the release of “WE BE ALL AFRICANS” by Idris Ackamoor ☥ the Pyramids, incorporating Fela-like African rhythms, George Clinton urban funk, and soaring improvisations into a unique world music blend.
The Pyramids’ Bird & Beckett appearance on October 15th celebrates the album’s release and its vision, and doubles as a bon voyage party for the band as it embarks on it 12th European tour. The tour will make stops at Theatre des Bouffes in Paris, Uber Jazz Festival in Hamburg, Café Oto in London, and the J.A.W. Family Reunion in Berlin before returning to the U.S.
Idris is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor, tap dancer, producer, administrator, and director — Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the multi-disciplinary San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey — twice the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards for his extraordinary musical and theatrical contributions. The most recent of these awards was presented in January 2012 by the renowned BBC radio personality Gilles Peterson at the Worldwide Awards Show in London.
As a youth, Idris left his hometown of Chicago to study music at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his teachers included the legendary pianist Cecil Taylor. Via the Antioch Abroad Program, he landed a year’s study overseas in 1972/73, which allowed him with two other Antioch students to travel to Europe and Africa. On this sojourn, he co-founded The Pyramids, and The Pyramids embarked on a musical and spiritual journey up into Northern Ghana, the land of the Fra Fra of Bolgatanga and the Islam-influenced Dagomba in Tamale, where he made field recordings. “We played with the King’s musicians in Tamale. I also undertook a healing ceremony in the bush of Bolgatanga with a Fra Fra traditional healer (a Juju Man).”
Back in Yellow Springs, The Pyramids brought together all of the knowledge from their journey and released two independently produced albums including “Lalibela” (1973), and “King of Kings” (1974). After graduating, Idris and the band headed to Oakland, California and quickly met other musicians in the thriving San Francisco Bay Area music scene where they recorded their third album, “Birth / Speed / Merging.” The Pyramids played their last concert at the 1977 UC Berkeley Jazz Festival alongside Al Jarreau. Due to their different paths, it was time for the individual members to move on.
But out of the blue, The Pyramids announced their return in 2012. “Around 2006 there was an increased interest in the 1970s music the band recorded with many requests from record labels to re-issue the early albums,” Idris explains. “The Pyramids’ three LPs were showing up on eBay for high prices.” Chicago label Ikef reissued the three 1970s albums on vinyl. At the same time ‘EM’ Records in Japan released ‘The Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971-2004’. The Berlin agent, Planet Rock, began organizing European dates for the band and The Pyramids were fully back in business. The momentum has continued for the group. Idris landed a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gilles Peterson at his Worldwide Awards in London and German label Disko B released a box set of the band’s archive recordings alongside the first new studio album by the band in over 35 years, titled “Otherworldly.”
Now, with the release of their new album, “We Be All Africans,” the Pryamids’ hometown audience has a chance, Saturday, October 15th, 7:30-10 pm at Bird & Beckett, to catch a rare performance of Idris Ackamoor☥ The Pyramids before their departure for a whirlwind European tour.
Idris says of the new album, “‘We Be All Africans’ is a message of survival. A message of renewal. A message that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one family, the human family and we need one another in order to survive on this planet that we all share.”
Describing the tune “Rhapsody in Berlin,” recorded on a recent Pyramids tour of Europe and included in their new record, Patric Jarenwatananon of NPR notes the atmosphere evoked is less like Berlin than “like a Central African nightclub, with layered instrumental funk interjected by yelps and whistles similar to Hindewhu Pygmy music. Or downtown Manhattan or Chicago’s South Side in the late ’60s and early ’70s, where free-improvising saxophones met electronics and rock music and Sly Stone amid the urgency of the civil rights struggle.” Hear the cut here.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
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