Spiritual Jazz 7: Islam
Released: 17th March 2017
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Double LP. Perhaps one of the greatest of the great "Spiritual Jazz" series, Volume 7 concentrates on the fertile period in the early 60s when Islamic music and culture became influential in both the Civil Rights moment and the thriving Jazz world.
This double LP catalogues songs ancient and divine and the influence and impact of Islam on four decades of jazz innovation. Through Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, the civil rights era in America saw African American liberation politics famously associated with Islamic belief. This was not the first time that radical developments in African American cultural life had been widely and famously associated with Islam - that distinction belongs not to political or sporting giants, but to the progressive jazz musicians of the bebop generation. Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Sahib Shihab, Gigi Gryce, Idrees Sulieman, Ahmad Jamal, Yusef Lateef; all these legendary jazz pioneers - and countless more - were early converts to the spiritually charged Ahmadiyya school of Islam.
Their faith profoundly influenced the music that they made, and the presence of prominent and innovative Muslim musicians at the heart of jazz culture in America has been recognised ever since. The tracks on this collection follow the story of Islam and jazz from the 1950s to the 1980s. Recorded by Muslim jazz musicians, they often draw specifically on
Middle Eastern or Islamic music, dream of an esoteric or spiritual Afro-East, or invoke the landscape and sound worlds of Islamic Africa. Spiritual Jazz 7 presents a selection of visionary music - inspired by faith, powered by jazz.