Some Old Stuff: Ohio Penitentiary 511 Ensemble, Juma Sultan, & Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett

Some Old Stuff:  A series that features notable re-issues and archival finds of Jazz from the last century.



Ohio Penitentiary 511 Ensemble – Hard Luck Soul

Ohio Penitentiary 511 "Hard Luck SoulRecorded and performed in 1971 by prisoners of the Ohio Penitentiary System (511 signifying the PO Box address).  A private pressing and impossible to find, Jazzman Records dug it up and added it to their impressive list of rarities re-introduced to the public.  Apparently the prison band was already a regular thing, led by prisoners Reynard Birtha and Logan Rollins (and, yes, a nephew of jazz giant Sonny Rollins).  One day, the Ohio State University Band visited, and the deal was made to collaborate for a recording.

A magical set of hard bop grooves and spiritual jazz euphoria, with soloists given the freedom to stretch out and an ensemble playing with remarkable cohesion.  Everyone should own this album.  Everyone.

Your album personnel:  Reynard Birtha (trumpet), Logan Rollins (alto sax), the Ohio State University Band, and (perhaps) other unattributed musicians.

Originally issued privately in 1971, and reissued in 2012 on the Jazzman Records label.  A little more history on the release on their site, here.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3 | Vinyl


Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society – Whispers from the Archive

Juma Sultan - "Whispers from the Archives"Porter Records has compiled some nice tracks from the vast history of Juma Sultan‘s recordings, specifically from his Aboriginal Music Society.  From the sixties and seventies, a cauldron of jazz, African music, funk, soul, spiritual & free jazz.  Some similarities can be drawn to the work of musicians like Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp… the former for his spiritual jazz on the Impulse label and the latter for his soul-influenced work post-New Thing.  Perhaps, also, some of Lonnie Liston Smith’s cosmic funk from the same period.  However, this music has a rawness to it that gives it its own character, and, really, a different kind of music, comparisons aside.  But that should be enough to give a sense of the lay of the land.  Music with a strange appeal, a visceral presence.

Because it’s a compilation of tracks, the personnel vary from track to track, but here’s a list of attributed musicians on this particular recording…

Your album personnel:  Juma Sultan (percussion, bass, flute), Kasa Allah (piano), Ali Abuwi (oboe, drums, percussion, flute), Art Lewis (drums), Art Bennett (sax), Harold E. Smith (percussion), James “Blood” Ulmer (guitar), Ora Borman (vocals), Charlotte Richardson (vocals), Joe Church (bass), Paul “Dino” Williams (guitar), Daniel Ben Zebulon (vocal, percussion), Earl Cross (piano), Claude Lateef Jones (percussion), Obara Wali Rahman Ndiaye (percussion), Talib Kibwe (oboe, flute), Saint Strickland (piano), and several listed as ‘uknown’ on organ and vocals.

The exact arrangements of the personnel can be found on the label site, here.

Originally released and/or recorded in the late 60s through the 70s, and now issued in 2012 on the Porter Records label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3 | Vinyl


Legends Live:  Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett – Audimax Freiburg June 22, 1964

Albert Mangelsdorff - "Legends Live"Part of a new series put out by the JazzHaus label, which was created to begin releasing live recordings culled from the Sudwestrunfunk broadcast show vaults… broadcasts which began in the Summer of 1947.

This one, featuring Albert Mangelsdorff, a trombonist who started out in the straight-ahead realm with some solid Hard Bop sessions, and then got gradually more and more experimental in his approach.

For this session, he’s still in straight-ahead mode, leading a quintet that shines with plenty of that boisterous enthusiasm and groove that typified that era.  It gives some glimpses of what’s to come, especially during tracks like “Es Sungen Drei Engel,” which ends the album by coming out swinging for the big finale.  Voices standing up and shouting out notes.  Layers of sound streaking out in staggered intervals and intensities.

Other tracks, like album openers “New Jazz Ramwong” and “Set ’em Up” featuring driving tempos and strong solos over the top.  Some tunes move like stop-and-go traffic, others offer up an amicable bounce, and some just swing.  On almost all tracks, the quintet brings the heat… the temperature may vary, but each could singe the ear if one strayed too close.

Your album personnel:  Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Heinz Sauer (tenor & soprano sax), Gunter Kronberg (alto sax), Gunter Lenz (bass), and Ralf Hubner (drums).

Originally recorded in 1964, released in 2012 on the JazzHaus label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3