THE PRESS RELEASE: “Influential jazz collective Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids return with an epic new opus, Shaman!, featuring a fresh line-up including original 1970s Pyramids member Dr. Margaux Simmons on flute, Bobby Cobb on guitar, long-term associate Sandra Poindexter on violin, Ruben Ramos on bass, Gioele Pagliaccia on drums and Jack Yglesias on percussion. The band transitions from the political and social commentaries of 2018’s acclaimed An Angel Fell into more introspective themes. “I wanted to use this album to touch on some of the issues that we all face as individuals in the inner space of our souls and our conscience,” explains Ackamoor. “The album unfolds over four acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mortality, the afterlife, family and salvation.” Evolving around Ackamoor’s intricate compositions, the album takes us effortlessly across moods and emotions through a series of expansive, extended pieces. Starting with ritual, soul-searching, and masculine vulnerability on the title track, the band explores timeless existence on Eternity and mourns the sudden loss of loved ones in the prescient When Will I See You Again?, a track which gains new relevance amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. Ackamoor pays tribute to his mentor Cecil Taylor on the angular Theme For Cecil and renders homage to the ancestors on Salvation and The Last Slave Ship, recalling the last ship to bring slaves to the US from Africa, the Clotilda. The superb Virgin is an anthem of forgiveness, new beginnings and self-healing. Shaman! marks another significant landmark in The Pyramids’ discography with the band at the peak of their powers. It is produced by Malcolm Catto at his analogue HQ, Quatermass Studio, in London. Cover artwork features an exclusive new painting by Japanese artist Tokio Aoyama.”
MY TWO CENTS: Due to some really shitty circumstances that were totally beyond my control — and trust me, you truly don’t want to know — I had neither the time nor the brainpower to review albums this week. So consider this a recommendation, or a referral, or a heads-up, or whatever. That’s the best I can do right now. Regular programming will resume next week (assuming nothing even shittier happens). Thanks for your patience.