Founded 40 years ago in 1972 The Pyramids released three albums before splitting up in 1977: Lalibela (1973), King Of Kings (1974) followed by the seminal Birth/Speed/Merging LP (1976). Three albums that made them one of the most mysterious and legendary of all the spiritual cosmic jazz collectives of the early 70s, like the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Sun Ra. Lalibela (1973) was the first album recorded by The Pyramids following their landmark journey throughout Africa as students from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The album is one of the first cutting-edge “concept” albums as each side of the LP seamlessly flows from one composition to the next in the vein of a suite painting a musical portrait of the African adventure experienced by founding members Idris Ackamoor, Margaux Simmons, and Kimathi Asante. Lalibela, Ethiopia was the inspiration for the album. A journey to experience the 12th century rock churches of Lalibela by Margaux and Idris closed out their nine-month African odyssey. The personnel for the recording was augmented by new members percussionist Bradie Speller (Hekaptah), drummer Marcel Lytle, and soprano saxophonist Tony Owens (Masai). The album has plenty percussion driven rhythms, beautiful alto sax and flute melodies, soaring and “out” improvisations, ritualistic chants, meditative tone pieces, high energy modal jams, and exotic African instruments collected during the African trip.
We climb to the Highest Temple in Lalibela. We partake of the Holy Water, eat bread and drink Tej in the Temple with our brothers. We look out over the immense, mountainous land of twelve sacred churches, and bathe our spirits in their warm majesty. We drink heartily form the Holy Well of Lalibela the Sacred Place.
Recorded and mixed July 1973 at Schumacher's Studios. Remastered 2012.