Various - If You’re Not Part Of The Solution... Soul, Politics and Spirituality in Jazz 1967 - 1975
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It was a period of radicalisation for Black America: a disproportionate number of young African American men were being shipped to Vietnam, the inner cities of Detroit, Washington, Los Angeles, Newark and more were ablaze and, in 1968, Dr Martin Luther King was gunned down in Memphis. There was a sense that something had to be done and with this in mind, many outlets both political and spiritual sprung up. As a central part of the community, jazz musicians took their cues and their music reflected this.
“If You’re Not Part Of The Solution” draws upon the melting pot of ideas that can be picked up in veteran Hammond player Johnny Smith’s call for ‘Black Feelings’, or the cosmic wanderings of the obscure Philadelphia group Catalyst. Funk in all its forms can be found; be it the relentless bass rhythm of the title track, or the Miles Davis-influenced shifting groove of Johnny Lytle’s ‘Tawhid’. It was an exciting period and the music is caught up in that, but above all there is reverence for the greats such as Davis and John Coltrane who are the pillars of a newly confident African American culture.