Boomkat Product Review:
Transfixing, Rastafarian roots reggae mysticism from Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks & Count Ossie’s force of nature unit, returning to orbit on its 50th anniversary edition - 100% essential for fans of Nyabinghi drumming, Dadawah, The Congos, Sun Ra, John Coltrane
Out of sight for too long, save for its 2016 Japanese pressing, ‘Grounation’ rightfully takes its mantle as a foundational expression of Afro-rooted, soul-jazz spiritual consciousness heard thru the prism of Jamaican music. Led by master Nyabinghi drummer Count Ossie (and his African Drums ensemble of crack Rasta players), coloured with the joyful, quietly lamenting, and powerful sax of Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks, and voiced by the poetic declarations of Brother Samuel Cayton; the sprawling body of work is a landmark of Jamaican music that Soul-Jazz respectfully compare with Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ in terms of its historic impact and a cultural statement of that time, when a rising African diasporic consciousness was emerging and disseminated in the early ‘70s via its most vitally transcendent medium; music. Just jaw-dropping, hauntingly life-affirming stuff from any angle. Deserves a place on every self-respecting music lover’s shelf.
“The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari group came into existence at the start of 1970s, the union of two artists of equal repute – Count Ossie and his African Drums and saxophonist Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks’ and his group, The Mystics. Both Ossie and Brooks were alumni from the great Studio One Records.
Master drummer Count Ossie and his collective of Rastafarian drummers performed for Haile Selassie on his momentous visit to Jamaica in 1966. Cedric Brooks came out of the Alpha Boys School – the fertile breeding ground of musicians who dominated the Jamaican music scene from the 1960s onwards; Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Johnny Moore, Headley Bennett, Johnny Osbourne, Yellowman, Leroy Smart, Bobby Ellis, Joe Harriott, Eddie Thornton, Vin Gordon, Rico Rodriguez, Owen Gray, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace and more.
The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari’s ‘Grounation’ is a massive opus, a work of profound musical genius that tells the story of Jamaica through music and words. The album is a cornerstone in the history of reggae, a unique and other-worldly album the like of which has never been made since.”