banner.jpg (5045 bytes)

Home   |  Articles   |   More Deep Thoughts   |   Deep Groove Encyclopedia   |   Reviews
Mixes and Tunes   |   Links   |   Store   |   Contact

Harry Whitaker - Black Renaissance
One of the rarest of rare grooves, Black Renaissance, the cult classic by composer/arranger Harry Whitaker, has a fascinating history.  Recorded on Martin Luther King Day in 1976, with money Whitaker had saved from his successful partnership with Roberta Flack, Renaissance was basically bootlegged by a Japanese label (Baystate), who never bothered to inform Whitaker as to its release. When Baystate folded, copies virtually vanished, leaving Whitaker with no distribution, no money, and no way to hear the actual LP. To make matters worse, the master tapes of the recording were destroyed in a fire.

Luckily, the vital reissue label Ubiquity Records has saved the day, keeping this record from being lost to history.  Somehow acquiring the rights to the album, they received Whitaker's permission to give Renaissance a proper release, 25 years after its birth.

And it's a good thing too, because this album was decades ahead of its time.  A sprawling release consisting of only two lengthy, largely improvised tracks, Renaissance has the righteousness of a Pharoah Sanders or Sun Ra project, but with a decidedly funkier groove. The players on this session include Mtume, Woody Shaw, Buster Williams and Billy Hart.  Most fans will want to check the title cut, perhaps the first recorded collision of jazz and rap.  An astonishingly innovative project, we should be grateful this is finally available.

 

Copyright 2003 AllThingsDeep.com.  All rights reserved.

cover

Released 2002 on Ubiquity

(click cover to purchase)

Selected Tracks:

Black Renaissance
Magic Ritual

Home   |  Articles   |   More Deep Thoughts   |   Deep Groove Encyclopedia   |   Reviews
Mixes and Tunes   |   Links   |   Store   |   Contact