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** Issued on vinyl for the first time, Outernational Sounds proudly presents a monumental spirit music document from the Los Angeles underground** The saxophonist Jesse Sharps took over from Arthur Blythe as leader of Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra. ‘He became the Ark leader…he was hardcore,’ the pianist recalls. ‘They’d all be quiet and listen to him when he talked.’ This was the period of such classic PAPA recordings as Flight 17, Live At IUCC and The Call; lit up by the funky, deep spirituality of Sharps compositions like Desert Fairy Princess, Macramé and Peyote Song II.
His own Sharps And Flats album was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, adding a stunning sixteen-minute bonus cut by the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, featuring Horace Tapscott, recorded in 1979.
Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Jesse Sharps spent his childhood in Watts. He first encountered the visionary pianist Horace Tapscott when he was still at high school – the Arkestra were performing on 103rd Street, and when Sharps heard them he knew what his future would be. Tapscott soon invited the young Sharps to rehearsals, where he played baritone. At college, Sharps studied under Cecil Taylor. When he came back to LA he rejoined the Arkestra on flute and reeds, and eventually took over band-leading duties from the great altoist Arthur Blythe. Trusted completely by Tapscott, as bandleader Sharps turned the Arkestra into a well-drilled unit. This was the time of the classic P.A.P.A. recordings Flight 17, Live at I.U.C.C, and The Call, and Sharps also wrote for the band. The funky, deep spirituality of compositions like ‘Desert Fairy Princess’, ‘Macramé’ and ‘Peyote Song III’ has made his tunes among most celebrated in the whole P.A.P.A. catalogue.
Sharps And Flats was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, a label Albach had founded specifically to document the work of Horace Tapscott and his circle. Featuring a quintet of P.A.P.A. regulars at the height of their game, Sharps And Flats is one of the great lost Nimbus sessions – it lay unissued until 2004, and never saw a vinyl press.