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. Continue reading →