Boomkat Product Review:
Outernational Sounds presents a cornerstone document from the Los Angeles jazz underground, Flight 17 -- the first appearance on record of the legendary Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, led by their founder and mastermind, Horace Tapscott. Available on vinyl for the first time in 40 years.
"The Arkestra would allow the creativity in the community to come together, would allow people to recognize each other as one people. Horace Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) was one of the most transformative, forward-thinking and straight-up heavy big bands to have played jazz in the 1960s and 1970s. If P.A.P.A. doesn't have the interstellar rep of that other famous Arkestra, and if the name Tapscott doesn't ring bells like Monk or Tyner, there's a reason why: in an industry dominated by record labels, a band that doesn't record doesn't count. And the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra didn't record for nearly twenty years. But recording success was never their concern -- they weren't about that. First formed as the Underground Musicians Association in the early 1960s, Tapscott always wanted his group to be a community project.
From their base in Watts, UGMA got down at the grassroots. The group was renamed the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in 1971, and soon after they established a monthly residency at the Immanuel United Church of Christ which ran for over a decade, while still playing all over LA and beyond. But they never released a note of music. It was the intervention of fan Tom Albach that finally got them on wax. Determined that their work should be documented, Albach founded Nimbus Records specifically to release the music of Tapscott, the Arkestra, and the individuals that comprised it. The first recording sessions in early 1978 yielded enough material for two albums, and the first release was Flight 17.
From the surging avant-gardism of Herbie Baker's title track to the laidback summertime groove of Kamonta Lawrence Polk's "Maui", or Roberto Miranda's up-tempo Latin jam "Horacio", Flight 17 showcased the radical voices of the Arkestra's members. Led out by Tapscott's hard-swinging piano, this is the first flight on wax of the West Coasts' foundational community big band -- energized, hip, and together. Contains two tracks previously only available on the 1997 CD edition: "Coltrane Medley" and "Village Dance", recorded live at the Immanuel United Church of Christ.”