The Music of Cal Massey: The Black Liberation Movement Suite
Calvin Massey (1928-1972) was a trumpeter, but was most noted as a composer of magisterial works, of which his epic opus was The Black Liberation Movement Suite, an extended work of nine movements. Until now, the work had never been recorded in its entirety. Cal Massey ranked among the greatest "jazz" composers of the 20th century, included with Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Sun Ra.
The Black Liberation Movement Suite is one of the undiscovered gems of an epic "jazz" extended work. It perhaps may be regarded through the exposure of this recording release as one of the greatest "jazz" suites of the 20th century, joining Mingus' Epitaph, Let My Children Music and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, the major Ellington suites and extended form works (the Sacred Concerts, The Liberian Suite, The Drum is a Woman, etc.), Oliver Nelson's The Afro-American Suite, and the varying cosmo-dramas of Sun Ra. While of considerable musical and artistic grandeur as these other great extended works,The BLM Suite is also a work of considerable socio-political significance, commissioned by the Black Panther Party and musically and ideologically expressing the revolutionary upsurge of the Black Liberation struggle in the U.S. during the late-1960s.
Three other Massey compositions are featured herein. Quiet Dawn was composed for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Goodbye Sweet Pops is an homage to Louis Armstrong. Finally,The Cry of My People epitomizes Cal's compositional energy for combining the soulfulness of Spiritual-like melody with bold and complex harmonic structures.
Fred Ho & Quincy Saul present
The Music of Cal Massey, A Tribute: The Black Liberation Movement Suite
Conducted by Whitney George
Bobby Zankel (alto sax); Bhinda Keidel, Salim Washington (tenor sax & other woodwinds); Ben Barson (baritone sax); Jackie Coleman, Nabate Isles, Jameson Chandler (trumpets); Frank Kuumba Lacy, Aaron Johnson (trombones); Art Hirahara (piano); Wes Brown (bass); royal hartigan (drums, African percussion); Melanie Dyer (viola); Dorothy Lawson (cello); Whitney George (conductor).