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Limited remastered edition of 250 copies only. Nearly everyone on the planet has heard Mtume. Notorious B.I.G.’s sample of his 1983 single Juicy Fruit, is as iconic as they come. What few know, is that prior to entering the world of R&B, the drummer James Mtume was a seminal figure in the 1970’s New York free jazz scene - among the wildest of its fiery voices. Part of a remarkable musical legacy - his father and uncles made up the Heath Brothers, he began his career working with Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and Freddie Hubbard, before releasing his first LP as a band leader on the legendary imprint Strata East - Mtume Umoja Ensemble’s Alkebu-Lan - Land Of The Blacks (Live At The East), in 1972. An astounding work of art, it stands among the greatest capsules of the spirit and anger of Black Nationalist free jazz - a storm set forth in sound. Across the coming decade, he collaborated steadily with Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyne, and a string of others, as well as becoming Miles Davis’s percussionist. Incredibly prolific and in demand, it wasn’t until 1977 that his second release emerged - 1977’s Rebirth Cycle, the album before us today. Featuring a stunning ensemble, it encounters Mtume at the height of his powers - offering an equally tense series of improvisations, imbued with a slower pace and sophistication. Shifting between the depth of spiritual jazz, the raw energy, intellect, and emotion of free jazz, and threaded with soulful vocals, Rebirth Cycle is among the great works of 1970’s black American music. Tinged with the road less traveled - privately issued only months before being signed to Epic as an R&B act, this is the last encounter with one of Jazz’s great talents before he left that world. As seminal and brilliant as they come.