Springing out of Philly’s progressively-minded Germantown neighborhood, the jazz six-piece Sounds of Liberation moved in parallel with the Black Arts Movement of the 60s and 70s, using their meditative and otherworldly compositions as a means of social activism. With sounds reminiscent of Ornette Coleman and Pharaoh Sanders, fueled with the urgency of The Last Poets, they played on behalf of students, prison inmates, and their community at large.
The band — comprised of Byard Lancaster, Khan Jamal, Monnette Sudler, Omar Hill, Dwight James, Rashid Salim, and Billy Mills — released a single studio record, New Horizons, in 1972. Before Sounds of Liberation disbanded, with various members traveling their own musical paths in the time since, they recorded a live session at Columbia University in 1973 that was previously thought to be lost.
Now, that session is getting a vinyl reissue, thanks to Dogtown Records in collaboration with Philadelphia retailer Brewerytown Beats (who has been doing a lot of work lately resurfacing rare recordings from the 60s and 70s, like the recent Nat Turner Rebellion LP reissue). The album will contain liner notes from the surviving members of the group; an audio teaser can be found below, along with the track listing and cover art.
Check it all out below. Though Sounds of Liberation saxophonist and flautist Byard Lancaster passed away in 2012, surviving members of the band will regroup on Thursday, June 13th for an Ars Nova Workshop show celebrating the 95th birthday of Sun Ra Arkestra’s Marshall Allen at Union Transfer. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
3. Sweet Evil Mist (Rib Crib)
5. New Horizon (Back Streets Of Heaven)
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