Previously unreleased recordings from every decade of the Arkestra’s history, kicking off with a session in Horace Tapscott’s garage in 1961 (involving Linda Hill and Arthur Blythe, amongst others), and running right through to the new generation of young musicians, in a rambunctious closer recorded live in Los Angeles during 2019, featuring Angel Bat Dawid on bass clarinet. Highlights in-between include the surging, militant Nation Rising in 1971 — check Juan ‘Jujigwa’ Gray’s electrifying vocals — and the hard-swinging Ballad For Deadwood Dick, drawn from a gig at the Moers Jazz Festival in Germany 1995, the one and only time the Arkestra played outside southern California.
This release is the culmination of 60 years of Black history through sound. Since its conception in 1961, the Ark has had a mission echoed by every director since Horace Tapscott himself, "To preserve the music of Black composers, dead or alive. To perform this music in our neighborhoods, for our people." The institution of the Arkestra fostered a culture of community, spirituality, Black empowerment, and most importantly, love. I am forever indebted to my ancestors and grateful to you, reading this message, for your part in the music as a listener. Peace. - Mekala Session
‘Horace Tapscott’s music was so powerful. The sound felt like it healed spirits instead of people, especially when performed live. And The Ark, you saw so many incredible people playing this music. It’s important that this music is preserved and shared, that the Ark lives on and keeps that tradition’ (Kamasi Washington).
‘This release is the culmination of 60 years of Black history through sound’ (Mekala Session).
In a luxurious, spot-gloss, black-on-black sleeve, with an insert containing archival photographs and notes, including track-by-track commentary.