July 5, 2010

Unearthing a lost classic: KINGS IN EXILE - MUSIC FROM ANCIENT TEXTS

This is really why I love digging through the endless, dusty dollar bins for hours in thrift shops and junk dives across Texas. The chance to bring back to the masses a lost gem is really what it's all about, but it doesn't happen very often, so when it does it's especially rewarding. I searched google after being thoroughly impressed by what I heard playing, and found next to nothing. One mention by the incredible radio station WCBN Michigan, they played a track from the record at some point, another mention of a play from a radio show on last.fm and that was it. It's not that surprising that it hasn't gotten more attention though, First off it's from 1981, and the cover art is very unexceptional and not indicative of the music at all, it's from Dallas, not a major jazz city, and it's not exactly funky or groove heavy stuff, nor does it have any widely known players. But, all that being said, it is a brilliant excursion into a medium size group of ethno-tinged free jazz with parallels to Sun Ra and Salah Ragab, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and some of the ESP catalogue. The players are quite skilled, the compositions are all original, and the mood is quite fierce, though sometimes it does linger on a bit. But comparisons aside, these cats definitely deserve to be lauded once more before their beautiful creation falls back into the inevitable abyss of obscurity. I've tried to give most of the info on the band through the photos above. Other than what's seen there, I've had trouble gathering any more info on them. I wouldn't be surprised if they have another album on the daagnim label though, or if that label has a few other jazz gems to be uncovered still, so keep your eye out and until then enjoy this lovely piece.