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    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2019

    Peace of Time by Abdullah Sami, released 12 April 2019

    1. Afrikan Samba
    2. Song for my Friends
    3. Aretia
    4. Peace of Time

    In recent years, in the world of jazz and spiritual jazz, the phrase 'holy grail' has been often used. Once in a while though the phrase is truly justified, such as is the case with this reissue: Abdullah Sami - "Peace Of Time"

    Recorded in New York in August 1977 and released in 1978 on Sami's own label imprint, only 300 copies were ever pressed, each cover individually hand-made with different covers photocopied and pasted onto different coloured paper while some copies were adorned with Sami's own hand-drawn art (in much the same way as some of the rarest albums by Sun Ra). Forty years later, such a fabled, rarely seen artefact would garner mythical status amongst spiritual Jazz seekers with original copies selling online for over $2,000. But first, behind every myth and legend, there's a true story, or in this case two stories...

    Abdullah Sami's father, William Frank Slaughter, the composer of ‘Afrikan Samba’ and an accomplished saxophonist in his own right, was a great stimulus in his child's musical development, teaching him music theory and nurturing his creative approach to music since childhood. Called ‘Mudon’ by those closest to him, Abdullah Sami would go on to be part of Chicago's rich, musical tapestry, a city imbued with the urban blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, the soul of Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway, home to influential record labels Chess and Delmark and the legendary Jazz artists co-operative the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). Sami built a steady reputation in Chicago’s underground jazz and art loft scene, often performing with percussionist Yaounde Olu and bassist Imhotep Askia Ba at the former's own artist gallery Osun on Chicago's South Side, as well as other venues such as the Institute of Positive Education and Aziza Artist Space. In this period he would formulate his own multi-directional saxophone approach, his alto horn shifting modal frequencies in free flight, fluid and hypnotic, playing and teasing with harmony and melodics. Recognition in the Windy City remained elusive however and seeking wider exposure and better playing opportunities Sami headed east to New York where the recording "Peace Of Time" would come to fruition. It would remain perhaps the only documentation of Sami's creative talent, New York and the jazz scene ultimately proving to be as unforgiving as Chicago, to where he would return, but at least Chicago was home. The daily reality of life would take over, and Sami retreated from the music scene that nurtured him...

    Fast forward forty years to Japan where two jazz-heads from London - DJs, label bosses, radio show hosts, and vinyl diggers - stumble across a record without a sleeve. Intrigued, they ask to listen to it. Immediately they identify it as 'their' vibe, in 'their' spirit. They ask questions. Who is the artist? Where are they from? Did they release anything else? There's no sleeve, just a label. They are informed that nobody knows of anything else by this artist, or what happened to him/them. People have tried for years, they are told, tried to find the artist, tried to locate the label, tried to bring it to the attention of those who love and care for great music. They return to London enthused with missionary zeal to locate the source of this beauty. Phone calls are made, e-mails are sent, they speak to someone who knows someone who maybe knows someone else who...well, more than a year later, it is the spirit muse that finds the artist. He's still in Chicago, working, residing, living, unaware of his only album's legendary status, but he's flattered and thrilled that the team of two, guided by the spirit muse, had found him. Of course they can re-issue his masterpiece! Delighted by his approval, they tell him it's going to be re-mastered and re-issued on audiophile vinyl. Reciprocating the...